Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo Announces Resignation Amidst Election Defeat

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo

In a surprising turn of events, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander de Croo has announced his plans to resign following the defeat of his party, the liberal Open VLD, in the federal elections held on June 9. The national vote, which coincided with the European parliamentary elections, was for the 150 legislative seats in the Chamber of Representatives.

With 90% of the votes counted, de Croo declared, “Tomorrow I will resign as prime minister.” The conservative party N-VA led the vote, with a projected win of 24 seats in the Chamber of Representatives. The far-right Vlaams Belang party is projected to win 20 seats, while the liberal Mouvement Reformateur (MR) party is expected to secure 19 seats.

Interestingly, the victory of N-VA appears to have prevented a takeover by Vlaams Belang, a Flemish nationalist party that aims to divide Belgium into two separate countries. Over the coming months, the parties will enter talks to form a governing coalition.

Despite the significant defeat handed to De Croo’s party, he expressed optimism for future elections, stating, “But the Liberals are strong, we will return.”

Earlier in March, de Croo had spoken out against Russian propaganda campaigns disseminated through a website called Voice of Europe. He highlighted that two Vlaams Belang MPs, Filip Dewinter and Filip Brusselmans, had given an interview to Voice of Europe in September 2023. De Croo warned, “Russia wants to destroy our democracy,” citing Czech and Belgian intelligence that showed European and Belgian lawmakers were paid to spread pro-Kremlin propaganda.

Starting on June 6, citizens of the European Union will head to the voting booths to elect the bloc’s 720-member European Parliament. The election, held between June 6 and June 9, is often downplayed as irrelevant by voters. However, it will have a major impact on EU domestic and foreign policy, making it a significant event for countries like Ukraine.

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