Belgium's Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy (front row, 4th R) and his
ministers pose for a family picture at the Belgian Parliament in
Brussels yesterday. King Albert II named Flemish Christian Democrat Van
Rompuy as Belgian prime minister yesterday to head a revived five-party
coalition in a country facing recession and a bank
A new Belgian government was sworn in yesterday with Flemish Christian
Democrat Herman van Rompuy as the prime minister.
Members of the new government, including 14 ministers and seven state
secretaries, took their oath before Belgium's King Albert IIon Tuesday
afternoon, Belgian media reported.
The Belgian parliament is scheduled to hold a vote of confidence on the new
government on Friday.
The new government comprises the same five parties of the outgoing
government, namely the Flemish Christian Democrats, the Flemish Liberals, the
Francophone Christian Democrats, the Francophone Liberals, and the Francophone
Van Rompuy, 61, was the speaker of the lower house of parliament before
taking up the new job. He succeeded fellow Flemish Christian Democrat Yves
Leterme, who submitted his government's resignation on Dec. 19 over allegations
of political interference in judicial affairs.
Van Rompuy said on Monday that his government will continue the main policies
of the previous government, including the plans to revive the economy which was
hard hit by the financial crisis and has been forecast to slide into recession
in the fourth quarter.
Van Rompuy served as Belgium's budget minister from 1993 to 1999 and is
generally regarded as a budgetary hardliner.
The cabinet composition remains largely the same as the previous one with a
few exceptions. Patrick Dewael left the post of home affairs minister to replace
van Rompuy as speaker of the lower house of parliament. The void is filled in by
Dewael's fellow Flemish Liberal Guido de Padt, who is a member of the lower
house of parliament.
Flemish Christian Democrat Stephan de Clerck succeeds fellow party member Jo
Vandeurzen as justice minister. De Clerck served as justice minister between
1995 and 1998.
Meanwhile, Flemish Christian Democrat Steven Vanackere replaces fellow party
member Inge Vervotte as minister for civil service and public enterprise.
The previous government was inaugurated in March after nine months of
difficult negotiations to form a coalition. The new government is expected to
stay until the next general election in 2011.