- Aug 1, 2014
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
Brussels (AFP) - Nationalist anger over migration brought down the Belgian government on Tuesday, forcing Prime Minister Charles Michel to offer the king his resignation.
With only five months to go until planned legislative elections in May, in was not immediately clear whether King Philippe would accept Michel's sudden departure.
The palace said a decision is pending but a senior source told AFP the "most likely" outcome would be the crown asking Michel's government to handle the day-to-day business of government until the scheduled vote.
Having lost the backing of the Flemish nationalist N-VA on December 9, Michel had attempted to lead a minority government.
But on Tuesday, during a parliamentary debate, the liberal premier admitted defeat rather than face and probably lose a no confidence vote called by the left-wing and green opposition parties.
Michel, who took office in 2014, lost the backing of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) over his support for the UN migration pact, a cause celebre for European anti-immigration parties.
The resignation comes two days after demonstrations against the pact in central Brussels descended into scuffles, with police forced to use tear gas and water cannon to restore order.
The non-binding UN accord, which would promote a common global approach to migrant flows, was initially supported by all four parties in Belgium's coalition.
Belgium has a history of division between wealthier Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and the run-down French-speaking former industrial heartland of Wallonia in the south.
Protests in Brussels against the UN Migration Pact sent a definite message that even liberally tolerant Belgians have had enough of the global plan to bring the 3rd world to Europe. Thousands of protestors marched over the weekend, and the large police force had to use force in order to contain them.