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New Belgian government sworn in

New Belgian government sworn in

A new government took office Tuesday that is nearly a replica of the quarrelsome alliance of Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists that quit 11 days ago in a bank bailout scandal.
The new premier, Herman van Rompuy, 61, succeeds fellow Christian Democrat Yves Leterme whose government quit Dec. 19 amid allegations that Leterme and his justice minister interfered in a court case dealing with the sale of Fortis Bank.
King Albert swore the new government into office at a ceremony at the royal palace. The new government faces a parliamentary vote of confidence Friday. Its program of policies is identical to that of the previous government.
Considered a colorless but reliable leader, Van Rompuy is widely seen as a steady hand after 18 months of squabbling among Leterme's five-party coalition split into Dutch and French-speaking factions. His government is identical to the previous one, except for Leterme and his justice and interior ministers.
After consulting political leaders, Van Rompuy said Christian Democrats, Liberals and Socialists must continue in power for the sake of continuity.
Holding new elections followed by government formation talks can take months. After the June, 2007, elections it took Leterme six months to form a government due to bickering among Dutch and French-speaking parties over how to resolve regional autonomy issues.
Leterme's downfall _ and that of his justice minister _ came when both were implicated in trying to influence an appeals court to approve the sale of Fortis, once Belgium's largest bank, to France's BNP Paribas. Both deny any wrongdoing.
The sale of Fortis has been blocked.


Updated : 2021-08-03 15:19 GMT+08:00