Van Rompuy I

So they made it before New Year....a new federal government has been sworn in by the king this afternoon. This is the 3rd government in 13 months, this time reluctantly lead by the former president of our Chamber of Representatives Herman Van Rompuy. This experienced technocrate and former minister had refused to become Prime Minister a few times in the past, once again last Christmas when the crisis erupted but was convinced to take the job after all this week. After the ex-prime minister Martens had spent a week in preparing meetings, he only needed 2 days to get all involved parties to sign a new government agreement. That seems at least a smoother start than Leterme's start.

This government is mainly made up by the same ministers as the former with some shifts. Yves Leterme and Jo Vandeurzen who will both be subject to a parlementary commission investigating the "Fortis" deal do not come back and some more ministers have been replaced, but most faces are familiar.

They have the intention to continu until the next federal elections in 2011 rather than being a temporary government that would stop in June 2009 when there's already regional elections planned. Hmmm, we'll see. Who's placing a bet that by mid 2009 new quarrels and (regional) election stress make them give/break up anyway?

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