Prime Minister of Belgium

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Prime Minister of Belgium
Eerste minister van België
Premier ministre de Belgique
Premierminister von Belgien
Premier
State Coat of Arms of Belgium.svg
Government Ensign of Belgium.svg
State Ensign
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 I, 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 is located at 16 Rue de la Loi (Wetstraat in Dutch, or "Law Street" in translation) among many notable Belgian government and European Union buildings in the centre of Brussels and around the Brussels Park. 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 

Kingdom of Belgium (1831–present)[edit]

Chiefs of Government[edit]

Political parties

      Independent
      Catholic Party
      Liberal Party

Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of Office Political Party Election Cabinet Monarch
(Reign)
Took Office Left Office Days Name Composition
EtiennedeGerlache.jpg Etienne Constantin de Gerlache
(1785–1871)
27 February 1831 10 March 1831 11 Independent (Confessional) 1830 De Gerlache Erasme Louis
Surletdechokier.jpg
Regent
(1831)
JosephLebeau.gif Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1865)
10 March 1831 24 July 1831 136 Independent (Liberal) Lebeau I
Felix de muelenaere.jpg Félix de Muelenaere
(1793–1862)
24 July 1831 20 October 1832 454 Independent (Confessional) 1831 De Mûelenaere Leopold I
Leopold I by Franz Winterhalter.jpg
(1831–1865)
Albert Goblet.png Albert Joseph Goblet d'Alviella
(1790–1873)
20 October 1832 4 August 1834 653 Independent (Liberal) 1833 Goblet d'Alviella—
Rogier
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
4 August 1834 18 April 1840 2084 Independent (Confessional) 1835
1837
1839
De Theux de Meylandt I
JosephLebeau.gif Joseph Lebeau
(1794–1865)
18 April 1840 13 April 1841 360 Independent (Liberal) Lebeau II
Jean Baptiste Nothomb (02).jpg Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
(1805–1881)
13 April 1841 30 July 1845 1569 Independent (Liberal) 1841
1843
Nothomb
Sylvain Van de Weyer.png Sylvain Van de Weyer
(1802–1874)
30 July 1845 31 March 1846 244 Independent (Liberal) 1845 Van de Weyer
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
31 March 1846 12 August 1847 499 Independent (Confessional) De Theux de Meylandt II
Charlesrogier.jpg Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
12 August 1847 31 October 1852 1907 Liberal Party 1847
1848
1850
Rogier I Lib.
Henri de Brouckère.jpg Henri de Brouckère
(1801–1891)
31 October 1852 30 March 1855 880 Liberal Party 1852
1854
De Brouckère Lib.
Pierre De Decker.jpg Pierre de Decker
(1812–1891)
30 March 1855 9 November 1857 955 Independent (Confessional) 1855
1856
De Decker Cath.Lib.
Charlesrogier.jpg Charles Rogier
(1800–1885)
9 November 1857 3 January 1868 3707 Liberal Party 1857
1859
1861
1863
1864
1866
1867
Rogier II Lib.
FrèreOrban.jpg Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1896)
3 January 1868 2 July 1870 911 Liberal Party 1868 Frère-Orban I Lib. Leopold II
Leopold ii garter knight.jpg
(1865–1909)
Jules d'Anethan.jpg Jules d'Anethan
(1803–1888)
2 July 1870 7 December 1871 523 Catholic Party Jun.1870
Aug.1870
D'Anethan Cath.
Barthélemy de Theux (03).jpg Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt
(1794–1874)
7 December 1871 21 August 1874
(died in office)
988 Catholic Party 1872
1874
Malou I Cath.
Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
21 August 1874 19 June 1878 1398 Catholic Party 1876
FrèreOrban.jpg Walthère Frère-Orban
(1812–1891)
19 June 1878 16 June 1884 2189 Liberal Party 1878
1880
1882
Frère-Orban II Lib.
Jules Malou ars-moriendi.jpg Jules Malou
(1810–1886)
16 June 1884 26 October 1884 132 Catholic Party 1884 Malou II Cath.
Beernaert.gif Auguste Beernaert
(1829–1912)
26 October 1884 26 March 1894 3438 Catholic Party 1886
1888
1890
1892
Beernaert Cath.
Jules de burlet.jpg Jules de Burlet
(1844–1897)
26 March 1894 25 February 1896 701 Catholic Party 1894 De Burlet Cath.
Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
25 February 1896 24 January 1899 1064 Catholic Party 1896
1898
De Smet de Naeyer I Cath.
Jules van den Peereboom.jpg Jules Vandenpeereboom
(1843–1917)
24 January 1899 5 August 1899 193 Catholic Party Vandenpeereboom Cath.
Paul de Smet de Naeyer.jpg Paul de Smet de Naeyer
(1843–1913)
5 August 1899 2 May 1907 2826 Catholic Party 1900
1902
1904
1906
De Smet de Naeyer II Cath.
Jules de Trooz.jpg Jules de Trooz
(1857–1907)
2 May 1907 31 December 1907
(died in office)
4261 Catholic Party De Trooz Cath.
Frans Schollaert.jpg Frans Schollaert
(1851–1917)
9 January 1908 17 June 1911 1255 Catholic Party 1908
1910
Schollaert Cath.
Albert I
Albert I Koning der Belgen.jpg
(1909–1934)
M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
17 June 1911 18 January 1916 2541 Catholic Party 1912
1914
De Broqueville I
(in exile, 1914–18)
Cath.
18 January 1916 1 June 1918 Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Gérard Cooreman
(1852–1926)
1 June 1918 21 November 1918 173 Catholic Party Cooreman Cath.Lib.BWP/POB

Timeline from 1831 till 1919[edit]

Gérard Cooreman Charles de Broqueville Frans Schollaert Jules de Trooz Paul de Smet de Naeyer Jules Vandenpeereboom Paul de Smet de Naeyer Jules de Burlet Auguste Beernaert Jules Malou Walthère Frère-Orban Jules Malou Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt Jules d'Anethan Walthère Frère-Orban Charles Rogier Pierre de Decker Henri de Brouckère Charles Rogier Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt Sylvain Van de Weyer Jean-Baptiste Nothomb Joseph Lebeau Barthélémy de Theux de Meylandt Albert Joseph Goblet d'Alviella Félix de Muelenaere Joseph Lebeau Etienne Constantin de Gerlache

Prime Ministers[edit]

Political parties
Christian Democrat

      Catholic Party
      Christian Social Party
      Christian Democratic and Flemish

Liberal

      Liberal Party
      Flemish Liberals and Democrats
      Reformist Movement

Socialist

      Socialist Party

Portrait Name
(Born–Died)
Term of Office Political Party Election Cabinet Monarch
(Reign)
Took Office Left Office Days Name Composition
DELACROIX LÉON.jpg Léon Delacroix
(1867–1929)
21 November 1918 2 December 1919 730 Catholic Party Delacroix I Cath.Lib.BWP/POB Albert I
Albert I Koning der Belgen.jpg
(1909–1934)
2 December 1919 20 November 1920 1919 Delacroix II
Henri Carton de Wiart.jpg Henri Carton de Wiart
(1869–1951)
20 November 1920 16 December 1921 391 Catholic Party Carton de Wiart Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
Georges Theunis 1921.jpg Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
16 December 1921 13 May 1925 1244 Catholic Party 1921 Theunis I Cath.Lib.
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Aloys Van de Vyvere
(1871–1961)
13 May 1925 17 June 1925 35 Catholic Party 1925 Van de Vyvere Cath.
Prosper poullet.jpg Prosper Poullet
(1868–1937)
17 June 1925 20 May 1926 337 Catholic Party Poullet—
Vandervelde
Cath.BWP/POB
Henri Jaspar.jpg Henri Jaspar
(1870–1939)
20 May 1926 22 November 1927 1843 Catholic Party Jaspar I Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
22 November 1927 6 June 1931 1929 Jaspar II Cath.Lib.
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Jules Renkin
(1862–1934)
6 June 1931 22 October 1932 504 Catholic Party Renkin Cath.Lib.
M 37 4 Charles de Brocqueville.jpg Charles de Broqueville
(1860–1940)
22 October 1932 20 November 1934 759 Catholic Party 1932 De Broqueville II Cath.Lib.
Georges Theunis 1921.jpg Georges Theunis
(1873–1966)
20 November 1934 25 March 1935 125 Catholic Party Theunis II Cath.Lib. Leopold III
Leopold III van België (1934).jpg
(1934–1944)
Paul van Zeeland, 1937.jpg Paul van Zeeland
(1894–1973)
25 March 1935 13 June 1936 975 Catholic Party Van Zeeland I Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
13 June 1936 24 November 1937 1936 Van Zeeland II
Paul-Emile Janson.jpg Paul-Émile Janson
(1873–1944)
24 November 1937 15 May 1938 172 Liberal Party Janson Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
15 May 1938 22 February 1939 283 Belgian Labour Party Spaak I Cath.Lib.BWP/POB
Pierlot sturges (cropped).jpg Hubert Pierlot
(1883–1963)
22 February 1939 16 April 1939 2465 Catholic Party 1939 Pierlot I Cath.Lib.
16 April 1939 3 September 1939 Pierlot II
3 September 1939 28 May 1940 Pierlot III Cath.Lib.BSP/PSB
28 May 1940 27 September 1944 Pierlot IV
(in exile)
27 September 1944 12 December 1944 Pierlot V Cath.Lib.BSP/PSBKPB-PCB Prince Charles
Karel van België Charles de Belgique Karl von Belgien.jpg
Regent
(1944–1950)
12 December 1944 12 February 1945 Pierlot VI Cath.Lib.BSP/PSB
Achiel Van Acker1.jpg Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
12 February 1945 2 August 1945 394 Belgian Socialist Party Van Acker I BSP/PSBCath.Lib.
2 August 1945 13 March 1946 Van Acker II BSP/PSBBDU/UDBLib.KPB-PCB
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
13 March 1946 31 March 1946 18 Belgian Socialist Party 1946 Spaak II BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
Achiel Van Acker1.jpg Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
31 March 1946 3 August 1946 125 Belgian Socialist Party Van Acker III BSP/PSBLP/PLKPB-PCB
Huysmans-Camille.jpg Camille Huysmans
(1871–1968)
3 August 1946 20 March 1947 229 Belgian Socialist Party Huysmans BSP/PSBLP/PLKPB-PCB
Bundesarchiv Bild 183-39998-0427, Paul-Henri Spaak.jpg Paul-Henri Spaak
(1899–1972)
20 March 1947 27 November 1948 875 Belgian Socialist Party Spaak III BSP/PSBPSC/CVP
27 November 1948 11 August 1949 Spaak IV
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
11 August 1949 8 June 1950 301 Christian Social Party 1949 G.Eyskens I PSC/CVPLP/PL
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Jean Duvieusart
(1900–1977)
8 June 1950 16 August 1950 69 Christian Social Party 1950 Duvieusart PSC/CVP
Joseph Pholien
(1884–1968)
16 August 1950 15 January 1952 517 Christian Social Party Pholien PSC/CVP Baudouin
Baudouin of Belgium 1969.jpg
(1950–1993)
Jean Van Houtte
(1907–1991)
15 January 1952 23 April 1954 829 Christian Social Party Van Houtte PSC/CVP
Achiel Van Acker1.jpg Achille Van Acker
(1898–1975)
23 April 1954 26 June 1958 1525 Belgian Socialist Party 1954 Van Acker IV BSP/PSBLP/PL
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
26 June 1958 6 November 1958 1034 Christian Social Party 1958 G.Eyskens II PSC/CVP
6 November 1958 3 September 1960 G.Eyskens III PSC/CVPLP/PL
3 September 1960 25 April 1961 G.Eyskens IV
Théo Lefèvre 1964b.jpg Théo Lefèvre
(1914–1973)
25 April 1961 28 July 1965 1555 Christian Social Party 1961 Lefèvre PSC/CVPBSP/PSB
Pierre Harmel 1965.jpg Pierre Harmel
(1911–2009)
28 July 1965 19 March 1966 234 Christian Social Party 1965 Harmel PSC/CVPBSP/PSB
Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
19 March 1966 17 July 1968 851 Christian Social Party Vanden Boeynants I PSC/CVPPVV/PLP
Gaston Eyskens cropped.jpg Gaston Eyskens
(1905–1988)
17 July 1968 20 January 1972 1654 Christian People's Party (CVP) 1968 G.Eyskens V CVP/PSCBSP/PSB
20 January 1972 26 January 1973 1971 G.Eyskens VI
Great coat of arms of Belgium.svg Edmond Leburton
(1915–1997)
26 January 1973 23 October 1973 454 Belgian Socialist Party Leburton I BSP/PSBCVP/PSCPVV/PLP
23 October 1973 25 April 1974 Leburton II BSP/PSBCVP/PSC
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F050938-0028, Bonn, Tagung CDU-Bundesausschuss, Tindemans.jpg Leo Tindemans
(1922–2014)
25 April 1974 3 June 1977 1135 Christian People's Party (CVP) 1974 Tindemans I CVP/PSCPVV/PLP
3 June 1977 20 October 1978 1977 Tindemans II CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
Paul Vanden Boeynants.jpg Paul Vanden Boeynants
(1919–2001)
20 October 1978 3 April 1979 165 Christian Social Party (PSC) Vanden Boeynants II CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
Wilfried Martens.jpg Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
3 April 1979 23 January 1980 728 Christian People's Party (CVP) 1978 Martens I CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
23 January 1980 18 May 1980 Martens II CVP/PSCSP/PS
18 May 1980 22 October 1980 Martens III CVP/PSCSP/PSPVV/PRL
22 October 1980 31 March 1981 Martens IV CVP/PSCSP/PS
Markeyskens675.jpg Mark Eyskens
(1933–)
31 March 1981 17 December 1981 261 Christian People's Party (CVP) M.Eyskens CVP/PSCSP/PS
Wilfried Martens.jpg Wilfried Martens
(1936–2013)
17 December 1981 28 November 1985 3733 Christian People's Party (CVP) 1981 Martens V CVP/PSCSP/PSPVV/PRL
28 November 1985 21 October 1987 1985 Martens VI
21 October 1987 9 May 1988 1987 Martens VII CVP/PSCPVV/PRL
9 May 1988 29 September 1991 Martens VIII CVP/PSCSP/PSVU/FDF
29 September 1991 7 March 1992 1991 Martens IX CVP/PSCSP/PS
Deheane cropped..jpg Jean-Luc Dehaene
(1940–2014)
7 March 1992 21 May 1995 2683 Christian People's Party (CVP) Dehaene I CVP/PSCSP/PS
21 May 1995 12 July 1999 1995 Dehaene II Albert II
Albert II.jpg
(1993–2013)
Guy verhofstadt profiel.png Guy Verhofstadt
(1953–)
12 July 1999 12 July 2003 3174 Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD) 1999 Verhofstadt I VLD/PRLSP.A/PSAgalev/Ecolo
12 July 2003 21 December 2007 2003 Verhofstadt II VLD/MRSP.A/PS
21 December 2007 20 March 2008 2007 Verhofstadt III VLD/MRCD&V/CDHSP.A/PS
Yves Leterme.jpg Yves Leterme
(1960–)
20 March 2008 30 December 2008 285 Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) Leterme I CD&V/CDHSP.A/PSVLD/MR
Herman Van Rompuy 675.jpg Herman Van Rompuy
(1947–)
30 December 2008 25 November 2009 330 Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) Van Rompuy CD&V/CDHVLD/MRPS
Yves Leterme.jpg Yves Leterme
(1960–)
25 November 2009 6 December 2011 741 Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) Leterme II CD&V/CDHVLD/MRPS
Di Rupo cropped.jpg Elio Di Rupo
(1951–)
6 December 2011 11 October 2014 1040 Socialist Party (PS) 2010 Di Rupo SP.A/PSCD&V/CDHVLD/MR
Philippe
Philippe de Belgique 2010.jpg
(2013–)
Charles Michel UNDP 2010.jpg Charles Michel
(1975–)
11 October 2014 Incumbent 651 Reformist Movement (MR) 2014 Michel VLD/MRN-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

Living former Prime Ministers[edit]

Name Term Date of birth Age
Mark Eyskens 1981 29 April 1933 83 years, 2 months
Guy Verhofstadt 1999–2008 11 April 1953 63 years, 3 months
Yves Leterme 2008 & 2009–2011 6 October 1960 55 years, 9 months
Herman Van Rompuy 2008–2009 31 October 1947 68 years, 8 months
Elio Di Rupo 2011–2014 18 July 1951 65 years

See also[edit]

References[edit]