Monday 14 October 2019

Belgian Prime Minister resigns over backlash to UN migration pact

Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw
Belgium's Prime Minister Charles Michel. REUTERS/Piroschka Van De Wouw

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel has resigned amid pressure on his government, after the biggest party in his coalition quit over his support for a UN-backed migration pact.

Mr Michel told Belgian legislators on Tuesday that he was "taking the decision to offer my resignation", adding he was "now going to see the king" to inform him.

The legislators had been demanding that he submit his new minority government to a confidence vote, but Mr Michel had so far refused and a confrontation seemed likely this week.

Amid calls from some in the assembly for an early election, Mr Michel again refused, saying it would only lead to "stagnation for the whole of 2019." The next election is due in Belgium in May.

As legislators applauded, he picked up his briefcase, shook the hands of a number of government ministers, and left.

The right-wing N-VA party quit the government after Mr Michel sought parliamentary approval to support the global migration deal against its wishes, branding his minority government "the Marrakech coalition," after the city where the agreement was signed just over a week ago.

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