"Olive tree coalition" installed in French-speaking Belgium

17th July 2009, Comments 0 comments

An accord has been reached on the new governments for Brussels, Wallonia and the French-speaking Community.

The different government parties reached a deal last night and also announced the new ministers, who took their oath of allegiance yesterday.

For the next five years, French-speaking Belgium will be governed by a so-called "olive tree coalition" made up of Francophone socialists (PS), Christian Democrats (CDH) and Greens (Ecolo).

The new government parties reached an agreement last weekend. Last night, the different party congresses approved both the government programme and the names of the new ministers.

The Greens were the big winners of the regional elections in June and entered the new governments. The Francophone liberals (MR) moved to the opposition, as Ecolo joined forces with the CDH and chose the PS as their partner to form a left-leaning government in Wallonia.

Rudy Demotte (PS) continues as the Walloon PM, the French-speaking counterpart of the Flemish PM Kris Peeters. Demotte's socialist party colleague Charles Picqué remains the head of the Brussels regional government as Brussels PM.

Michel Daerden to enter the federal government
One of the "big names" involved in the reshuffle is Michael Daerden (PS) who is leaving the Walloon government for the federal government.

Daerden has been criticised for giving the PS a negative image and is not polular with the Greens. The Green veto offered the Francophone Socialist party head Elio Di Rupo the chance to oust Michel Daerden.

However, as Mr Daerden attracted a lot of votes during the past election, he was offered a place in the federal government, where he is to take up the Pensions portfolio.

Key role for Jean-Claude Marcourt
Jean-Claude Marcourt (PS) is to become deputy PM in the Walloon government. He will be responsible for the so-called "Marshall Plan II" for Wallonia, which should rebuild the economy, with a "green accent".

The Francophone socialists of the PS are sending two new  faces to the Walloon government. Paul Furlan is to be responsible for Internal Affairs and Eliane Thillieux is to take up Public Health.

Ecolo picked Jean-Marc Nollet and Philippe Henry as its new ministers. Mr Nollet becomes a deputy PM and will be responsible for a number of things, including Energy, Housing and the Coordination between Work and Environment. Henry accepted the Environment, Mobility and Town and Country Planning portfolios.

The Christian democrats of CDH retain André Antoine (Budget and Employment) and Benoît Lutgen (Infrastructure and Agriculture) as ministers.

Brussels: a mix of Flemish and French-speaking ministers
In Brussels, Flemish liberal Jean-Luc Vanraes (Open VLD) faces the difficult task of trying to reduce the budget deficit. His party colleague Guy Vanhengel will probably move to the federal level.

Flemish Christian democrat Brigitte Grouwels (CD&V) is to become responsible for Public Works, with Bruno De Lille receiving the Mobility portfolio.

The Brussels regional government also has five French-speaking ministers: Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo, Enviroment and Energy), Benoît Cerexhe (CDH, Economy and Employment), Emir Kir (PS, National Heritage) and newcomer Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo, Housing).

As mentioned earlier, Charles Picqué (PS) stays on as the Brussels PM.


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