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Europe

Van Rompuy named new prime minister

Video by Susana FERREIRA

Latest update : 2009-01-03

Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy was named new prime minister of Belgium by King Albert II after the former speaker of the lower house of parliament reached agreement on a new coalition government, according to media reports.

AFP - Flemish Christian Democrat Herman Van Rompuy reached agreement Tuesday on a new Belgian coalition government of five parties, opening the way for his nomination as prime minister by King Albert II, Belgian media said.
   
"The partners have reached agreeement on a government," the national Belga news agency reported.
   
A spokesman for Van Rompuy said he could not confirm the reports.
   
The move to form a government came 12 days after Prime Minister Yves Leterme stepped down in the so-called "Fortisgate" scandal, with his aides accused of trying to influence a court case linked to the break-up of the major bank Fortis.
   
According to Belga, the new government was to be officially presented to the Belgian monarch at 5:00 pm (1600 GMT), though the reports said the justice minister had yet to be agreed.
   
A source close to the palace confirmed that the presentation was "very probable".
   
Van Rompuy, until now speaker of the lower house of parliament, was given the job of forming a government by the king on Sunday.
   
A moderate Christian Democrat from Belgium's Dutch-speaking northern region of Flanders, he has long shied away from the job of premier.
   
Van Rompuy had held discussions with the five parties of the outgoing coalition: Flemish Christian Democrats and liberals and francophone Christian Democrats along with liberals and socialists from the southern Wallonia region.

Date created : 2009-01-03

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