Belgium: PM Michel offers to resign

In the face of a government crisis and the opposition's announced intention of holding a vote of no confidence, Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel has announced that he plans to offer his resignation to the king. The country is slipping back into the times when its parties blocked each other, some Belgian media fear. Others, however, see a positive side to Michel's move.

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La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Sad political drama making country ungovernable

The parties are only interested in their own image and not in the country's interests, La Libre Belgique laments:

“Once again the people must sit back and watch the pathetic spectacle of politicians who have trouble putting the interests of the people above their petty feuds. ... If they would only spare us yet another round of their mutual accusations it could prevent the people's distrust of them from growing further - if that's at all possible, that is. ... One can only hope for a dignified campaign focusing on achievements and programmes. But if the members of parliament start slinging mud at each other again the results of the elections on May 26 are already on the wall: significant gains for the extremists on the right and left and a highly ungovernable country.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Belgium facing dark times ahead

De Morgen blames the far-right party Vlaams Belang for radicalising the Flemish nationalists of the N-VA on the subject of the UN migration pact and thus driving the whole country into dark times:

“The radicalisation of the N-VA may make for an exciting election campaign but for the formation of a government it doesn't bode well. ... It looks like the kingdom of Belgium is once again facing a long, dark period of institutional instability with a crippled government. We've had this before. ... To quote Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel: 'Hello Darkness my old friend / I've come to talk with you again'.”

L'Echo (BE) /

PM thumbs his nose at the N-VA

The resignation offer is a clever gambit on the part of the Belgian leader, L'Echo finds:

“In choosing to offer his resignation to the king, Charles Michel has avoided a resounding slap in the face from the MPs in the form of a vote of no confidence. With this move he's not going to make fresh elections any easier: on the contrary, he's making them more complicated. Because only Parliament can decide on that. For the king to be consulted on whether to dissolve parliament you need the approval of an absolute majority in the Chamber of Representatives. However, among the democratic parties no one - apart from the N-VA - wants these early elections. By offering his resignation to the king, Charles Michel is thumbing his nose one last time at the N-VA - the party that drove him crazy for four years and two months.”