Belgium’s government formation talks infected by COVID-19

Open Vld leader Egbert Lachaert, who is currently tasked with exploring options for a potential governing coalitions for a new federal government, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will go into a 14 day quarantine. This gives the country’s protracted government formation talks yet another headache.

Lachaert “will continue to follow up the federal government negotiations with his fellow preformer Conner Rousseau via video link”, a statement by Open VLD said on Tuesday (8 September).

Everyone who has negotiated – and their assistants – will have to test for CIVID-19, including King Philippe.

Belgium is without a proper government since December 2018, when Charles Michel’s coalition broke over migration policy.

Following federal elections on 26 May 2019, the deadlock was never resolved, but nevertheless, a new temporary government under Sophie Wilmes was formed in March 2020, with the only purpose to fight the COVID-19 pandemic with special powers.

While those powers expired on 27 June 2020, efforts to form a coalition have continued and the government team remains in office, but will have to seek a new vote of confidence on 17 September 2020 if a new coalition is not formed before then.

(Alexandra Brzozowski, EURACTIV.com)

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