Prime Minister of Belgium

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Prime Minister of Belgium
Eerste minister van België
Premier ministre de Belgique
Premierminister von Belgien
Premier
Government Ensign of Belgium.svg
State Ensign
State Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg
Charles Michel UNDP 2010.jpg
Incumbent
Charles Michel

since 11 October 2014
Executive branch of the
Belgian Federal Government
Member of Belgian Federal Cabinet
European Council
Residence Number 16, Rue de la Loi / Wetstraat
Appointer Monarch of Belgium
Term length No term limit
Inaugural holder Étienne de Gerlache (as Chief of Government)
Léon Delacroix (as Prime Minister)
Formation 26 February 1831
Website premier.fgov.be
State Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Belgium
Constitution
Foreign relations

The Prime Minister of Belgium (Dutch: Eerste minister van België; French: Premier ministre de la Belgique; German: Premierminister von Belgien) or Premier of Belgium is the head of the federal government in the Kingdom of Belgium.

Although Leaders of Government (French: Chefs de Cabinet) had been appointed since the independence of the country, until 1918 the King often presided over the Council of Ministers, so the modern era of the "Premiership" started after World War I with Léon Delacroix. The political importance of the King of the Belgians has decreased over time, whereas the position of Prime Minister has gradually become more important.

History[edit]

Since the independence of Belgium in 1830, governments have been designated with the name of the minister who formed the government as formateur, but that position did not have a specific status. Originally, from 1831 the King of the Belgians presided over the Council of Ministers, but when he was absent, the presidency was taken by the chef de cabinet (Head of Cabinet), usually the oldest or most influential minister. This position gradually became more prominent, and the minister with this title then soon acquired the competency to present the King with the proposed allocation of the various ministerial departments among the ministers.

The title of 'Prime Minister' or 'Premier' was used for the first time in 1918 in official documents and it is at this time that the position was assigned to its own cabinet. Only in 1970 the title was incorporated in the Belgian Constitution with the first state reform. Gradually, the Head of Cabinet replaced the King more often during the first half of the twentieth century, and as such gained importance within government. Nevertheless, given his newly acquired prominence, as a member of the cabinet the Head of Cabinet continued to lead a ministerial department.

With the expansion of voting rights after World War II, more political parties started to win seats in parliament—especially the Belgian Socialist Party—and this made it impossible to achieve an absolute majority in parliament. Since then, coalition governments have been necessary, which has made the task of forming a government by the appointed formateur more difficult. Consequently, the formateur increasingly gained greater respect, and much prestige. Thus the formateur became prominent as a position of leadership. As the ministers of the government now represented various political parties, there was a need for someone to coordinate the proceedings of the various ministers. The Prime Minister was now asserted as the actual head of government, and this is how the office of Prime Minister came into existence.

Function[edit]

Besides coordinating government policies, the Prime Minister is responsible for the proper execution of the coalition agreement. He also presides at meetings of the Council of Ministers and manages conflicts of competencies between the ministers. In addition, the Prime Minister represents the government coalition in public, both at home and abroad. It is the Prime Minister who maintains contact with the King and presents the government policy statement in the Parliament. He can also ask Parliament for a vote of confidence, which can even lead to the government's resignation in the case of a constructive vote of no confidence. Unless the Prime Minister resigns because of a personal matter, the whole government resigns when he resigns. The Prime Minister also represents Belgium in the various international organisations, alongside the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Due to the state reform, the Prime Minister acquired a number of additional tasks, such as keeping in check the relations between the different regions and communities of the country, and presiding at the deliberative committee that consists of the governmental representatives of all the federal entities.

Appointment[edit]

The day after the federal elections, the incumbent Prime Minister offers the resignation of his government to the King. The King then asks the resigning government to continue as a caretaker government until a new government is formed. The King then consults a number of prominent politicians in order to ascertain the different possibilities of forming a government. He usually consults the presidents of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, the most important political parties, and other people of political and socio-economic importance. After the consultations, the King appoints an informateur who is in charge of collecting information from the different political parties about their demands for formation of a new government. After these consultations, the informateur reports to the King so that the King can find a suitable formateur, who is responsible for forming the government. Usually, it is the formateur of the federal government who then becomes Prime Minister.[1]

The Prime Minister or Premier is appointed by the King, alongside the other ministers and secretaries of state of the federal government. As the head of government, he is the first to be appointed. As the King cannot perform any executive action without the consent and responsibility of a minister, the Act of Appointment of the new Prime Minister is signed by the resigning Prime Minister. Subsequently, the new Prime Minister signs the Act of Resignation of the resigning Prime Minister.

Official residence[edit]

The official residence and office of the Prime Minister of the Belgian federal government is located at Wetstraat 16 (Dutch)/ 16, rue de la Loi (French) (Law Street in English) among many notable Belgian government and European Union buildings in the centre of Brussels. The residence includes the Belgian Federal Cabinet, the Chancellery and the Council of Ministers. It functions as the nerve center of Belgian politics.

The building was originally erected as the so-called "Refuge House" by the Saint Gertrude Abbey of Leuven. It was designed by the Belgian-Austrian architect Louis Joseph Montoyer.[2] At the time of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815-1830), the building was planned to be used as the location for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.[3] In 1830 it was purchased by Prince Eugène of Ligne,[4] and from 1944, the building became state property after which it was furnished to function as a meeting place for the prime minister and his cabinet.

The office of the Belgian Prime Minister 
The entrance 
The building (centre of picture) 
The doorbell 

Leaders of Government (1831–1918)[edit]

Colour key (for political parties)
Name Image Took office Left office Party

Prime Ministers under Érasme-Louis Surlet de Chokier[edit]

(Regent of Belgium 1831)

1 Étienne de Gerlache
(1785–1871)
EtiennedeGerlache.jpg 27 February 1831 10 March 1831 (considered Catholic)
2 Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1965)
JosephLebeau.gif 28 March 1831 21 July 1831 (considered Liberal)

Prime Ministers under Leopold I[edit]

(1831–1865)

3 Félix de Muelenaere
(1793–1862)
Felix de Muelenaere (01).jpg 24 July 1831 20 October 1832 (considered Catholic)
4 Albert Goblet d'Alviella
(1790–1873)
Albert Goblet.png 20 October 1832 4 August 1834 (considered Liberal)
5 Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg 4 August 1834 18 April 1840 (considered Catholic)
(2) Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1865)
JosephLebeau.gif 18 April 1840 13 April 1841 (considered Liberal)
6 Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
(1805–1881)
Jean Baptiste Nothomb (02).jpg 13 April 1841 30 July 1845 (considered Liberal)
7 Sylvain Van de Weyer
(1802–1874)
Sylvain Van de Weyer.png 30 July 1845 31 March 1846 (considered Liberal)
(5) Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg 31 March 1846 12 August 1847 (considered Catholic)
8 Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
Charlesrogier.jpg 12 August 1847 31 October 1852 Liberal
9 Henri de Brouckère
(1801–1891)
Henri de Brouckère.jpg 31 October 1852 30 March 1855 Liberal
10 Pierre de Decker
(1812–1891)
Pierre De Decker.jpg 30 March 1855 9 November 1857 (considered Catholic)
(8) Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
Charlesrogier.jpg 9 November 1857 3 January 1868 Liberal

Prime Ministers under Leopold II[edit]

(1865–1909)

11 Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1896)
FrèreOrban.jpg 3 January 1868 2 July 1870 Liberal
12 Jules d'Anethan
(1803–1888)
Jules d'Anethan.jpg 2 July 1870 7 December 1871 Catholic
(5) Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg 7 December 1871 21 August 1874 Catholic
13 Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg 21 August 1874 19 June 1878 Catholic
(11) Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1891)
FrèreOrban.jpg 19 June 1878 16 June 1884 Liberal
(13) Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg 16 June 1884 26 October 1884 Catholic
14 Auguste Beernaert
(1829–1912)
Beernaert.gif 26 October 1884 26 March 1894 Catholic
15 Jules de Burlet
(1844–1897)
Jules de burlet.jpg 26 March 1894 25 February 1896 Catholic
16 Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg 25 February 1896 24 January 1899 Catholic
17 Jules Vandenpeereboom
(1843–1917)
Jules van den Peereboom.jpg 24 January 1899 5 August 1899 Catholic
(16) Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg 5 August 1899 2 May 1907 Catholic
18 Jules de Trooz
(1857–1907)
Jules de Trooz.jpg 2 May 1907 31 December 1907 Catholic
19 François Schollaert
(1851–1917)
Frans Schollaert.jpg 9 January 1908 17 June 1911 Catholic

Prime Ministers under Albert I[edit]

(1909–1934)

20 Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg 17 June 1911 1 June 1918 Catholic
21 Gérard Cooreman
(1852–1926)
No image.svg 1 June 1918 21 November 1918 Catholic

Prime Ministers (1918–present)[edit]

Colour key (for political parties)
Name Image Took office Left office Party Election Government

Prime Ministers under Albert I[edit]

(1909–1934)

22 Léon Delacroix
(1867–1929)
DELACROIX LÉON.jpg 21 November 1918 20 November 1920 Catholic
Delacroix I
CathLibBWP/POB
1919 Delacroix II
CathLibBWP/POB
23 Henri Carton de Wiart
(1869–1951)
Henri Carton de Wiart.jpg 20 November 1920 16 December 1921 Catholic Carton de Wiart
CathLibBWP/POB
24 Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
Georges Theunis 1921.jpg 16 December 1921 13 May 1925 Catholic 1921 Theunis I
CathLib
25 Aloys Van de Vyvere
(1871–1961)
No image.svg 13 May 1925 17 June 1925 Catholic 1925 V.de Vyvere
Cath
26 Prosper Poullet
(1868–1937)
Prosper poullet.jpg 17 June 1925 20 May 1926 Catholic Poullet
CathBWP/POB
27 Henri Jaspar
(1870–1939)
Henri Jaspar.jpg 20 May 1926 6 June 1931 Catholic Jaspar I
CathLibBWP/POB
1929 Jaspar II
CathLib
28 Jules Renkin
(1862–1934)
No image.svg 6 June 1931 22 October 1932 Catholic Renkin
CathLib
(20) Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg 22 October 1932 20 November 1934 Catholic 1932 de Broqueville II
CathLib

Prime Ministers under Leopold III[edit]

(1934–1951, Regency from 1944)

(24) Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
Georges Theunis 1921.jpg 20 November 1934 25 March 1935 Catholic Theunis II
CathLib
29 Paul van Zeeland
(1894–1973)
Paul van Zeeland, 1937.jpg 25 March 1935 24 November 1937 Catholic Van Zeeland I
CathLibBWP/POB
1936 Van Zeeland II
CathLibBWP/POB
30 Paul-Émile Janson
(1873–1944)
24 November 1937 15 May 1938 Liberal Janson
CathLibBWP/POB
31 Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg 15 May 1938 22 February 1939 BWP-POB Spaak I
CathLibBWP/POB
32 Hubert Pierlot
(1883–1963)
Pierlot sturges (cropped).jpg 22 February 1939 12 February 1945 Catholic Pierlot I
CathLib
1939 Pierlot II
CathLib
Pierlot III
CathLibBSP/PSB
Pierlot IV
CathLibBSP/PSB
Pierlot V
CathLibBSP/PSBKPB/PCB
Pierlot VI
CathLibBSP/PSB

Prime Ministers under Prince Charles, Count of Flanders[edit]

(Regent for Leopold III 1944–1950)

33 Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
No image.svg 12 February 1945 13 March 1946 BSP-PSB Van Acker I
BSP/PSBCathLibKPB/PCB
Van Acker II
BSP/PSBUDBLibKPB/PCB
(31) Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg 13 March 1946 31 March 1946 BSP-PSB 1946 Spaak II
BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
(33) Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
No image.svg 31 March 1946 3 August 1946 BSP-PSB Van Acker III
BSP/PSBLibKPB/PCB
34 Camille Huysmans
(1871–1968)
Camille Huysmans.gif 3 August 1946 20 March 1947 BSP-PSB Huysmans
BSP/PSBLibKPB/PCB
(31) Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg 20 March 1947 11 August 1949 BSP-PSB Spaak III
BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
Spaak IV
BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
35 Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg 11 August 1949 8 June 1950 PSC-CVP 1949 G.Eyskens I
PSC/CVPLib
36 Jean Duvieusart
(1900–1977)
No image.svg 8 June 1950 16 August 1950 PSC-CVP 1950 Duvieusart
PSC/CVP

Prime Ministers under Baudouin[edit]

(Regent for Leopold III 1950–1951; King 1951–1993)

37 Joseph Pholien
(1884–1968)
No image.svg 16 August 1950 15 January 1952 PSC-CVP Pholien
PSC/CVP
38 Jean Van Houtte
(1907–1991)
No image.svg 15 January 1952 23 April 1954 PSC-CVP Van Houtte
PSC/CVP
(33) Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
No image.svg 23 April 1954 26 June 1958 BSP-PSB 1954 Van Acker IV
BSP/PSBLib
(35) Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg 26 June 1958 25 April 1961 PSC-CVP 1958 G.Eyskens II
PSC/CVP
G.Eyskens III
PSC/CVPLib
G.Eyskens IV
PSC/CVPLib
39 Théo Lefèvre
(1914–1973)
Theo Lefevre cropped.jpg 25 April 1961 28 July 1965 PSC-CVP 1961 Lefèvre I
PSC/CVPBSP/PSB
40 Pierre Harmel
(1911–2009)
Pierre Harmel - 36092X5X22.JPG 28 July 1965 19 March 1966 PSC-CVP 1965 Harmel I
PSC/CVPBSP/PSB
41 Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg 19 March 1966 17 July 1968 PSC-CVP Vd. Boeynants I
PSC/CVPPVV/PLP
(35) Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg 17 July 1968 26 January 1973 CVP 1968 G.Eyskens V
CVP/PSCBSP/PSB
1971 G.Eyskens VI
CVP/PSCBSP/PSB
42 Edmond Leburton
(1915–1997)
No image.svg 26 January 1973 25 April 1974 BSP-PSB Leburton I
BSP/PSBCVP/PSCPVV/PLP
Leburton II
BSP/PSBCVP/PSCPVV/PLP
43 Leo Tindemans
(1922–)
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F050938-0028, Bonn, Tagung CDU-Bundesausschuss, Tindemans.jpg 25 April 1974 20 October 1978 CVP 1974 Tindemans I
CVP/PSCPVV/PLP
1977 Tindemans II
CVP/PSCBSP/PSBVU/FDF
(41) Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg 20 October 1978 3 April 1979 PSC Vd. Boeynants II
CVP/PSCBSP/PSBVU/FDF
44 Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
Wilfried Martens.jpg 3 April 1979 31 March 1981 CVP 1978 Martens I
CVP/PSCSP/PSFDF
Martens II
CVP/PSCSP/PS
Martens III
CVP/PSCSP/PSPVV/PRL
Martens IV
CVP/PSCSP/PS
45 Mark Eyskens
(1933–)
Markeyskens675.jpg 31 March 1981 17 December 1981 CVP M.Eyskens
CVP/PSCSP/PS
(44) Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
Wilfried Martens.jpg 17 December 1981 7 March 1992 CVP 1981 Martens V
CVP/PSCPVV/PRL
1985 Martens VI
CVP/PSCPVV/PRL
Martens VII
CVP/PSCPVV/PRL
1987 Martens VIII
CVP/PSCSP/PSVU
1991 Martens IX
CVP/PSCSP/PS
46 Jean-Luc Dehaene
(1940–2014)
Jean-Luc Dehaene (speech) cropped.jpg 7 March 1992 12 July 1999 CVP Dehaene I
CVP/PSCSP/PS
1995 Dehaene II
CVP/PSCSP/PS

Prime Ministers under Albert II[edit]

(1993–2013)

47 Guy Verhofstadt
(1953–)
Guy Verhofstadt EP press conference 3.jpg 12 July 1999 20 March 2008 VLD 1999 Verhofstadt I
VLD/PRLSP/PSAgalev/Ecolo
2003 Verhofstadt II
VLD/PRLSP/PS
2007 Verhofstadt III
VLD/MRCD&V/CDHPS
48 Yves Leterme
(1960–)
Yves Leterme.jpg 20 March 2008 30 December 2008 CD&V Leterme I
CD&V/CDHVLD/MRPS
49 Herman Van Rompuy
(1947–)
Herman Van Rompuy - World Economic Forum on Europe 2010 2.jpg 30 December 2008 25 November 2009 CD&V Van Rompuy
CD&V/CDHVLD/MRPS
(48) Yves Leterme
(1960–)
Yves Leterme.jpg 25 November 2009 6 December 2011 CD&V Leterme II
CD&V/CDHVLD/MRPS
50 Elio Di Rupo
(1951–)
Elio Di Rupo PES-Kongress 2014.jpg 6 December 2011 11 October 2014 PS 2010 Di Rupo
PS/SP.ACD&V/CDHVLD/MR

Prime Ministers under Philippe[edit]

(2013–present)

51 Charles Michel
(1975–)
Charles Michel UNDP 2010.jpg 11 October 2014 Incumbent MR 2014 Michel
MR/VLDN-VACD&V

Timeline since 1918[edit]

Michel I Government Di Rupo I Government Leterme II Government Van Rompuy I Government Leterme I Government Guy Verhofstadt Jean-Luc Dehaene Wilfried Martens Mark Eyskens Wilfried Martens Paul Vanden Boeynants Leo Tindemans Edmond Leburton Gaston Eyskens Paul Vanden Boeynants Pierre Harmel Théo Lefèvre Gaston Eyskens Achille Van Acker Jean Van Houtte Joseph Pholien Jean Duvieusart Gaston Eyskens Paul-Henri Spaak Camille Huysmans Achille Van Acker Paul-Henri Spaak Achille Van Acker Hubert Pierlot Paul-Henri Spaak Paul-Émile Janson Paul Van Zeeland George Theunis Charles de Broqueville Jules Renkin Henri Jaspar Prosper Poullet Aloys Van de Vyvere Georges Theunis Henri Carton de Wiart Léon Delacroix

See also[edit]

References[edit]