• Short Summary

    Belgium's two-month government crisis ended on Friday (26 January) when a new three-part coalition government was formed.

  • Description

    Belgium's two-month government crisis ended on Friday (26 January) when a new three-part coalition government was formed. It is led by M. Edmond Leburton, co-president of the Belgian Socialist Party.

    Mr. Leburton, 57, is the party's first Prime Minister since 1958. His 36-man government combines the Socialists with the Social-Christians and right-wing Liberals. It succeeds the Socialist-Social Christian coalition of M. Gaston Eyskens, which resigned on November 22.

    But the outgoing government, which had carried on as a caretaker administration until a new government was formed, ended its office in glory - by negotiating an and to a crippling two-week petrol strike on its last night in office.

    The new government includes 17 people new to office, among them Belgium's first two women cabinet minsters. It faces the problem of ending the bitter rivalry between the nation's French and Flemish speaking communities, which brought the downfall of the Eyskens' coalition.

    SYNOPSIS: Belgium has a new Prime Minister and a new Government. The Prime Minister is 57-year-old Edmond Leburton, who's the first Socialist to hold the office since 1958. His Government's a coalition of Socialists and Social-Christians with the right-wing Liberals. It's an unusual alliance, but it ends two months of political crisis in Belgium. The previous Government resigned in November and has carried on since as a caretaker administration. Its last act was to settle Belgium's other crisis, a paralysing petrol strike.

    After being sworn-in on Friday, Monsieur Leburton immediately held a meeting of his 36-strong government. The team includes 17 newcomers to office. Among them are the first two women to hold cabinet rank in Belgium. The new government faces the problem of bitter rivalries between Belgium's French and Flemish-speaking communities. It was this split which caused the collapse of the previous government.

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