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Belgium finally gets new PM, 16 months after vote

BRUSSELS, Belgium — Flemish liberal leader Alexander De Croo will be Belgium’s new prime minister at the head of a seven-party coalition government, it is announced Wednesday — 16 months after an inconclusive election.

De Croo’s French-speaking socialist rival Paul Magnette confirms that the parties had chosen the 44-year-old finance minister as premier. He is to be sworn in on Thursday by Belgium’s king.

By choosing a Flemish leader, the incoming government hopes to balance the fact that its parliamentary base will be drawn from mainly French-speaking parties, with the main Dutch-speaking groups in opposition.

“We flipped a coin and it came down to Alexander and it’s an excellent choice,” Magnette joked at the end of the press conference to present the outcome of the negotiations.

Belgium has had no governing majority for 21 months since the collapse of former leader Charles Michel’s government, and it has been 493 days since federal elections failed to resolve the crisis.

— AFP

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