Belgium swears in new government headed by Elio Di Rupo
Sad to see that Didier Reynders -- once named one of the best finance minister of Europe -- is still in the government. He should have left as far as I'm concerned. He has been looking for a "top job" for about 16 months on the European and International stage but he hasn't found one yet, so my best guess is that he hopes in the time that's left to rule (about 2 years) he'll network and secure a job that way.Belgium has sworn in a new government, ending a record-breaking 541 days of political deadlock.
New Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo was sworn in by King Albert II at the royal palace along with his 12 cabinet ministers and six secretaries of state.
Mr Di Rupo, a French-speaking Socialist, took the oath of office in French, Dutch and German - reflecting language sensitivities in the country.
The Europe crisis is thought to have spurred politicians to find a solution.
Belgium had been run by a caretaker administration since the last government resigned in April 2010.
The delay in forming a new government revolved around arguments over budget and immigration issues, but originally started with a row over the distribution of voting rights between the French-speaking and Flemish communities, the BBC's Matt Cole in Brussels reports.
Amusement and anger
Belgium now holds the modern-day record for the country which has gone the longest without a government - beating previous title holder Cambodia by 182 days.
The situation had been as much a source of amusement as anger among Belgians, our correspondent says.
Demonstrations calling on politicians to resolve the crisis had been held, but there had also been more light-hearted protests including a group who refused to shave their beards until an administration was formed, he adds.
Politicians have been under pressure from financial markets and ratings agencies to create an effective government capable of carrying out structural reforms and reducing debt.
Last month, ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Belgium's credit rating to AA from AA+, which could make it more expensive for Belgium to borrow in future.
This is thought to have been the catalyst for the six parties now in coalition to finally agree a new administration headed by Mr Di Rupo.
Mr Di Rupo, 60, is Belgium's first French-speaking prime minister in three decades and the first Socialist to take the premiership in Belgium since 1974.
Didier Reynders, who held the role of finance minister in the caretaker administration, will swap portfolios with the temporary Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere, said the palace statement.
The Women Wing of the Flemish Christian-Democrats is also very upset, because CD&V's chairman hasn't selected any women as minister... Very strange indeed, since Christian-Democrats were on the forefront to emancipate women -- not to mention 60% of CD&V voters are women...
So, I present the new Belgian government, known as Di Rupo I
From left to right:
(1) Vincent Van Quickenborne (VLD): Minister Of Pensions, Vice-PM
(2) Laurette Onkelinx (PS): Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health, Vice-PM
(3) Didier Reynders (MR): Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade & European Affairs
(4) Elio Di Rupo (PS): Prime Minister
(5) King Albert II: Head of State
(6) Steven Vanackere (CD&V): Minister of Finances & Sustainable Development, Vice-PM
(7) Johan Vande Lanotte (SP.a): Minister Of Economy, Consumer Affairs & North Sea, Vice-PM => Janpor's former professor!
(8 Joelle Milquet (cdH): Minister Of The Interior, and Vice-PM
--- next line
(9) Monica De Coninck (SP.a): Minister Of Work => Janpor's mother's (fomer) boss!
(10) Paul Magnette (PS): Minister Of Public Companies, Science Policy & Development Aid
(11) Annemie Turtelboom (VLD): Minister Of Justice
(12) Sabine Laruelle (MR): Minister Of Middle Class, SMB's, Entrepeneurs & Agriculture
(13) Olivier Chastel (MR): Minister Of Budget & Aministraditive Simplification
--- same line, but now the Secretaries of State
(14) Servais Verherstraeten (CD&V): Secretary of State For State Reform & "Regie Der Gebouwen" (= all buildings in ownership of the Federal state, e.g. museums, opera houses, etc.)
(15) Hendrik Bogaert (CD&V): Secretary of State for Public Employees & Modernization Of Public Services
--- next line
(16) Maggie De Block (VLD): Secretary Of State For Immigration, Asylum & Integration
(17) Melchior Wathelet (cdH): Secretary Of State for Environment, Energy, Mobility & State Reform
(18 Philippe Courard (PS): Secretary Of State for Social Affairs, The Family & Disabled Persons
(19) John Crombez (SP.a): Secretary Of State To Battle Social And Fiscal Fraud
To all, the best of luck!