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 

Prime Ministers (1831–present)[edit]

Political Parties (1831-1945)

      Independent
      Catholic Party
      Liberal Party

Political Parties (1945-present)

      Socialist Party
      Christian Social Party
      Christian Democratic and Flemish
      Flemish Liberals and Democrats
      Reformist Movement

# Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Took office Left office Political Party Political Coalition Legislature
(Election)
Monarch
(Reign)
Chiefs of Government (1831-1918)
1 EtiennedeGerlache.jpg Etienne Constantin de Gerlache
(1785–1871)
27 February 1831 10 March 1831 Independent (Confessional) Independents I (1830) Erasme Louis
Surletdechokier.jpg
Regent
(1831)
2 JosephLebeau.gif Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1865)
1 10 March 1831 24 July 1831 Independent (Liberal) Independents
3 Felix de muelenaere.jpg Félix de Muelenaere
(1793–1862)
24 July 1831 20 October 1832 Independent (Confessional) Independents II (1831) Leopold I
Leopold I by Franz Winterhalter.jpg
(1831–1865)
4 Albert Goblet.png Albert Joseph Goblet d'Alviella
(1790–1873)
20 October 1832 4 August 1834 Independent (Liberal) Independents III (1833)
5 Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
1 4 August 1834 18 April 1840 Independent (Confessional) Independents IV (1835)
(2) JosephLebeau.gif Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1865)
2 18 April 1840 13 April 1841 Independent (Liberal) Independents V (1837)
to
VII (1839)
6 Jean Baptiste Nothomb (02).jpg Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
(1805–1881)
13 April 1841 30 July 1845 Independent (Liberal) Independents VIII (1841)
IX (1843)
7 Sylvain Van de Weyer.png Sylvain Van de Weyer
(1802–1874)
30 July 1845 31 March 1846 Independent (Liberal) Independents X (1845)
(5) Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
2 31 March 1846 12 August 1847 Independent (Confessional) Independents
8 Charlesrogier.jpg Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
1 12 August 1847 31 October 1852 Liberal Party LP/Pl XI (1847)
XII (1850)
9 Henri de Brouckère.jpg Henri de Brouckère
(1801–1891)
31 October 1852 30 March 1855 Liberal Party LP/Pl XIII (1852)
10 Pierre De Decker.jpg Pierre de Decker
(1812–1891)
30 March 1855 9 November 1857 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl IXX (1854)
XX (1856)
(8) Charlesrogier.jpg Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
2 9 November 1857 3 January 1868 Liberal Party LP/Pl XXI (1857)
to
XXVI (1866)
11 FrèreOrban.jpg Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1896)
1 3 January 1868 2 July 1870 Liberal Party LP/Pl XXV (1868) Leopold II
Leopold ii garter knight.jpg
(1865–1909)
12 Jules d'Anethan.jpg Jules d'Anethan
(1803–1888)
2 July 1870 7 December 1871 Catholic Party KP/Pc XXVI (Jun 1870)
XXVII (Aug 1870)
(5) Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
3 7 December 1871 21 August 1874
(died in office)
Catholic Party KP/Pc XXVIII (1872)
13 Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
1 21 August 1874 19 June 1878 Catholic Party KP/Pc XXIX (1874)
XXX (1876)
(11) FrèreOrban.jpg Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1891)
2 19 June 1878 16 June 1884 Liberal Party LP/Pl XXXI (1878)
to
XXXIII (1882)
(13) Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
2 16 June 1884 26 October 1884 Catholic Party KP/Pc XXXIV (1884)
14 Beernaert.gif Auguste Marie François Beernaert
(1829–1912)
26 October 1884 26 March 1894 Catholic Party KP/Pc XXXV (1886)
to
XXXVIII (1892)
15 Jules de burlet.jpg Jules de Burlet
(1844–1897)
26 March 1894 25 February 1896 Catholic Party KP/Pc XXXIX (1894)
16 Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
1 25 February 1896 24 January 1899 Catholic Party KP/Pc XL (1896)
17 Jules van den Peereboom.jpg Jules Vandenpeereboom
(1843–1917)
24 January 1899 5 August 1899 Catholic Party KP/Pc XLI (1898)
(16) Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
2 5 August 1899 2 May 1907 Catholic Party KP/Pc XLII (1898)
to
XLVI (1906)
18 Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg Jules de Trooz
(1857–1907)
2 May 1907 31 December 1907
(died in office)
Catholic Party KP/Pc
19 Frans Schollaert.jpg Frans Schollaert
(1851–1917)
9 January 1908 17 June 1911 Catholic Party KP/Pc XLVII (1908)
20 M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
1 17 June 1911 1 June 1918 Catholic Party KP/Pc XLVIII (1910)
to
L (1914)
21 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Gérard Cooreman
(1852–1926)
1 June 1918 21 November 1918 Catholic Party KP/Pc
Prime Ministers (1918-present)
22 DELACROIX LÉON.jpg Léon Delacroix
(1867–1929)
1 21 November 1918 2 December 1919 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB LI (1919) Albert I
Albert I Koning der Belgen.jpg
(1909–1934)
2 2 December 1919 20 November 1920
23 Henri Carton de Wiart.jpg Henri Carton de Wiart
(1869–1951)
20 November 1920 16 December 1921 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB
24 Georges Theunis 1921.jpg Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
1 16 December 1921 13 May 1925 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl LII (1921)
25 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Aloys Van de Vyvere
(1871–1961)
13 May 1925 17 June 1925 Catholic Party KP/Pc LIII (1925)
26 Prosper poullet.jpg Prosper Poullet
(1868–1937)
17 June 1925 20 May 1926 Catholic Party KP/PcBWP/POB
27 Henri Jaspar.jpg Henri Jaspar
(1870–1939)
1 20 May 1926 22 November 1927 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB
2 22 November 1927 6 June 1931 KP/PcLP/Pl LIV (1929)
28 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Jules Renkin
(1862–1934)
6 June 1931 22 October 1932 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl
(20) M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
2 22 October 1932 20 November 1934 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl LV (1932)
(24) Georges Theunis 1921.jpg Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
2 20 November 1934 25 March 1935 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl Leopold III
Leopold III van België (1934).jpg
(1934–1944)
29 Paul van Zeeland, 1937.jpg Paul van Zeeland
(1894–1973)
1 25 March 1935 13 June 1936 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB
2 13 June 1936 24 November 1937 LVI (1936)
30 Paul-Emile Janson.jpg Paul-Émile Janson
(1873–1944)
24 November 1937 15 May 1938 Liberal Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB
31 Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
1 15 May 1938 22 February 1939 Belgian Labour Party KP/PcLP/PlBWP/POB
32 Pierlot sturges (cropped).jpg Hubert Pierlot
(1883–1963)
1 22 February 1939 16 April 1939 Catholic Party KP/PcLP/Pl
2 16 April 1939 3 September 1939 LVII (1939)
3 3 September 1939 28 May 1940 KP/PcLP/PlBSP/PSB
4 28 May 1940 27 September 1944
5 27 September 1944 12 December 1944 KP/PcLP/PlBSP/PSBKPB-PCB Prince Charles
Karel van België Charles de Belgique Karl von Belgien.jpg
Regent
(1944–1950)
6 12 December 1944 12 February 1945 KP/PcLP/PlBSP/PSB
33 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
1 12 February 1945 2 August 1945 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBKP/PcLP/Pl
2 2 August 1945 13 March 1946 BSP/PSBBDU/UDBLP/PlKPB-PCB LVIII (1946)
(31) Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
2 13 March 1946 31 March 1946 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
(33) Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
3 31 March 1946 3 August 1946 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBLP/PlKPB-PCB
34 Camille Huysmans.gif Camille Huysmans
(1871–1968)
3 August 1946 20 March 1947 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBLP/PlKPB-PCB
(31) Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
3 20 March 1947 27 November 1948 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
4 27 November 1948 11 August 1949
35 Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
1 11 August 1949 8 June 1950 Christian Social Party PSC/CVPLP/Pl LIX (1949)
36 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Jean Duvieusart
(1900–1977)
8 June 1950 16 August 1950 Christian Social Party PSC/CVP LX (1950)
37 Joseph Pholien
(1884–1968)
16 August 1950 15 January 1952 Christian Social Party PSC/CVP Baudouin I
Baudouin of Belgium 1969.jpg
(1950–1993)
38 Jean Van Houtte
(1907–1991)
15 January 1952 23 April 1954 Christian Social Party PSC/CVP
(33) Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
4 23 April 1954 26 June 1958 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBLP/Pl LXI (1954)
(35) Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
2 26 June 1958 6 November 1958 Christian Social Party PSC/CVP LXII (1958)
3 6 November 1958 3 September 1960 PSC/CVPLP/Pl
4 3 September 1960 25 April 1961
39 Theo Lefevre cropped.jpg Théo Lefèvre
(1914–1973)
25 April 1961 28 July 1965 Christian Social Party PSC/CVPBSP/PSB LXIII (1961)
40 Pierre Harmel - 36092X5X22.JPG Pierre Harmel
(1911–2009)
28 July 1965 19 March 1966 Christian Social Party PSC/CVPBSP/PSB LXIV (1965)
41 Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
1 19 March 1966 17 July 1968 Christian Social Party PSC/CVPPVV/PLP
(35) Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
5 17 July 1968 20 January 1972 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCBSP/PSB LXV (1968)
6 20 January 1972 26 January 1973 LXVI (1971)
42 Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Edmond Leburton
(1915–1997)
1 26 January 1973 23 October 1973 Belgian Socialist Party BSP/PSBCVP/PSCPVV/PLP
2 23 October 1973 25 April 1974 BSP/PSBCVP/PSC
43 Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F050938-0028, Bonn, Tagung CDU-Bundesausschuss, Tindemans.jpg Leo Tindemans
(1922-2014)
1 25 April 1974 3 June 1977 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCPVV/PLP LXVII (1974)
2 3 June 1977 20 October 1978 CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF LXVIII (1977)
(41) Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
2 20 October 1978 3 April 1979 Christian Social Party CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF LXIX (1978)
44 Wilfried Martens.jpg Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
1 3 April 1979 23 January 1980 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
2 23 January 1980 18 May 1980 CVP/PSCSP/PS
3 18 May 1980 22 October 1980 CVP/PSCSP/PSPVV/PRL
4 22 October 1980 31 March 1981 CVP/PSCSP/PS
45 Markeyskens675.jpg Mark Eyskens
(born in 1933)
31 March 1981 17 December 1981 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCSP/PS LXX (1981)
(44) Wilfried Martens.jpg Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
5 17 December 1981 28 November 1985 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCSP/PSPVV/PRL
6 28 November 1985 21 October 1987 LXX (1985)
7 21 October 1987 9 May 1988 CVP/PSCPVV/PRL LXXI (1987)
8 9 May 1988 29 September 1991 CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
9 29 September 1991 7 March 1992 CVP/PSCSP/PS LXXII (1991)
46 Deheane cropped..jpg Jean-Luc Dehaene
(1940–2014)
1 7 March 1992 21 May 1995 Christian People's Party CVP/PSCSP/PS
2 21 May 1995 12 July 1999 LXXIII (1995) Albert II
Albert II.jpg
(1993–2013)
47 Guy verhofstadt profiel.png Guy Verhofstadt
(born in 1953)
1 12 July 1999 12 July 2003 Flemish Liberals and Democrats VLD/PRLSP/PSGreen/Ecologist LXXIV (1999)
2 12 July 2003 21 December 2007 VLD/PRLSP/PS LXXV (2003)
3 21 December 2007 20 March 2008 VLD/PRLCD&V/CDHSP/PS LXXVI (2007)
48 Yves Leterme.jpg Yves Leterme
(born in 1960)
1 20 March 2008 30 December 2008 Christian Democratic and Flemish CD&V/CDHSP/PSVLD/PRL
49 Herman Van Rompuy 675.jpg Herman Van Rompuy
(born in 1947)
30 December 2008 25 November 2009 Christian Democratic and Flemish CD&V/CDHVLD/PRLPS
(48) Yves Leterme.jpg Yves Leterme
(born in 1960)
2 25 November 2009 6 December 2011 Christian Democratic and Flemish CD&V/CDHVLD/PRLPS
50 Di Rupo cropped.jpg Elio Di Rupo
(born in 1951)
6 December 2011 11 October 2014 Socialist Party SP/PSCD&V/CDHVLD/PRL LXXVII (2010)
Philippe I
Philippe de Belgique 2010.jpg
(2013–)
51 Charles Michel UNDP 2010.jpg Charles Michel
(born in 1975)
11 October 2014 Incumbent Reformist Movement VLD/PRLN-VACD&V LXXVIII (2014)

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]