The process of confirming a new prime minister in
Belgium today is fraught with difficulty, not least because the two
main communities - Flemish and French-speaking - struggle to agree
Following federal elections in Belgium, the king
firstly appoints a so-called 'Informateur', who is not necessarily
from one of the winning political parties.
This informateur is invited to the palace
and receives their orders to check through the available
possibilities in terms of the formation of a new government.
Therefore they talk to all the political parties and look for
potential combinations which will be able to form a majority in the
chamber of representatives according to the results of the federal
After a period of time which is defined by the
king, the informateur is invited back to the palace. If
they are able to bring with them some positive news, the king
then decides to appoint one or two 'Preformateur(s)' who will
be invited to the palace and, after some time... the process
continues, repeated again.
Again the preformateur (or preformateurs)
holds discussions with some of the political parties (and perhaps
all of them). Finally, when everything appears to be working well,
the preformateur can bring positive news to the king, who
will appoint a 'Formateur'.
Normally the king will appoint the formateur
as the next prime minister who will then compose a new federal
When either the informateur or
preformateur are unable to formulate a solution, they can return
their appointments to the king who may either refuse or accept. If
the king refuses, he may ask them to extend the initial period of
their search. When even this does not work the king will appoint
another informateur or preformateur (or again possibly
two preformateurs, each from a different party). If he
accepts the return of their appointments, he will appoint another
informateur or preformateur.
After the same sequence of appointments is followed
and assuming the preformateur is successful, the king will
finally appoint the formateur.
Both the Belgian senate and the weightier chamber of
representatives meet in the Neoclassical Palace of the
Nation in Brussels, built by French architect Gilles-Barnabé
Guimard during 1779-1783 towards the end of the existence of
the Belgian Netherlands under Habsburg control