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Belgium gets first woman prime minister

October 28, 2019

Sophie Wilmes has been appointed interim prime minister. Belgium has been without a full federal government since December 2018.

Sophie Wilmes
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/BELGA/N. Maeterlinck

Belgium's King Philippe named Sophie Wilmes interim prime minister on Sunday, making her the first woman to head the government.

The liberal francophone politician replaces caretaker Prime Minister Charles Michel, who will take over as European Council president in December.

Wilmes, 44, takes up the role without a parliamentary majority. She and Michel belong to the French-speaking liberal-centrist MR party.

Belgium has not had a full federal government since a coalition led by Michel collapsed in December 2018.

A new coalition government has not emerged since elections in May.

Talks between the French-speaking socialist PS party and the Flemish nationalist N-VA party have stalled. They need to reach an agreement in order to bring in other parties to form a government.

Belgium politics is notoriously fractured and government formation historically drawn out.

In 2010, it took a record 541 days.

cw/aw (AFP, dpa)

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