Election results left uncertainty for how to form a coalition.
Belgian Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders has been tasked with helping to form the next government, along with fellow official Johan Vande Lanotte | Benoit Doppagne/AFP via Getty Images
Belgian King Philippe appointed two officials Thursday to look into potential options for forming a federal government after Sunday’s uncertain election results.
The king selected current liberal Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders and former Socialist Deputy Prime Minister Johan Vande Lanotte as so-called informateurs, tasking them with identifying the challenges facing Belgium “and the opportunities and conditions needed to form a federal government,” the Belgian Royal Palace tweeted.
Belgium held a “triple election” last Sunday for the federal, regional and European parliaments, in which the northern region of Flanders voted to the right and the southern Wallonia region to the left. Any coalition would likely be dominated by one of the regional majorities and therefore lack a (not required but politically sensitive) majority in the other region.
With the Flemish nationalist party N-VA coming in first nationally, followed by the far-right Vlaams Belang, the two officials have a difficult task in front of them. They will give the king their first update on progress on June 6, L’Echo reported.
“Contacts will start today and continue in the coming days,” especially with parties that came first in the three Belgian regions, Reynders said, according to L’Echo. “It will not be easy; if it were easy, it would already be done.”
N-VA and Vlaams Belang also came in first and second in Flanders.
The Socialist Party came in first in the southern region of Wallonia, followed by outgoing Prime Minister Charles Michel’s Reformist Movement (MR) and the Greens.
Since the N-VA and the Socialist Party have ruled out working with each other in the past, and parties that have previously worked with Michel saw electoral defeats, finding a coalition of parties to secure a majority in the Belgian federal parliament will be difficult.
“I think the job looks complicated given the current situation,” said Vande Lanotte. “We must not underestimate the problems.”