Thursday, June 13, 2024

Belgian premier announces resignation after his party’s defeat in EU elections

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LONDON

Alexander De Croo announced his resignation as Belgium’s prime minister in a dramatic turn of events following European elections, media reports said Sunday. 

The announcement came after a significant defeat for his party, the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD), which garnered only 5.9% of the vote, with nearly 90% of the votes counted in the federal election, according to the Italian news agency Agenzia Nova.

“Tomorrow I will resign as prime minister,” De Croo declared, acknowledging the setback for his party.

Despite the disappointing results, De Croo remained optimistic about the future of the Liberals, saying they “are strong. We will return.”

While De Croo will step down, he is expected to retain his position on an interim basis until a new government is established.

Belgium will continue to hold the rotating presidency of the European Council, which changes every six months among member states, until June 30, 2024.

On Dec. 8, De Croo, in his statement announcing the priorities of the presidency, emphasized that in addition to the European continent, people in the Middle East are facing a terrible war, and “we know we need to play a role in this matter.”

De Croo is among the European leaders who have raised their voices the most against Israel’s war in Gaza and the resulting civilian casualties.

His visit to Israel and Palestine in November with his Spanish counterpart Pedro Sanchez prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration to lash out at remarks they made about the situation in the Gaza Strip, calling them “false statements” made “in support of terrorism.”

Belgium brought the proposal to ban settlers who resort to violence in the West Bank from entering European territory to the agenda of the year’s final EU leaders’ summit, but no consensus was reached on the matter.



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