Belgian Government Falls Over Migration Pact as Michel Resigns

(Bloomberg) -- Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel tendered the resignation of his government after his liberal-led coalition lost its parliamentary majority and an appeal to lawmakers in Parliament failed to garner backing for a minority administration.

Belgium’s royal palace said in a tweet that the country’s king holds his decision on whether to accept the resignation “in abeyance.” The king could still keep Michel as premier in a caretaker government until a deal on a new coalition is brokered or elections are held.

The fall of the Belgian government is the latest in a series of crises triggered over a non-binding United Nations-brokered accord on migration. Governments from Slovakia, to Estonia and Chile, have faced backlashes over a document that the UN says doesn’t encourage illegal immigration, nor does it force countries to change their admission policies.

Tuesday’s announcement in Brussels followed the submission of a no-confidence motion against Michel’s government by opposition parties, including Socialists and the Greens. Earlier in the day, Michel had vowed to press on with his minority government, calling for a “coalition of the willing” in Parliament.

Michel’s administration earlier this month lost the support of right-wing New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA), its biggest Flemish partner, after the N-VA opposed the government’s backing of the UN’s so-called Global Compact on migration. The departure stripped Michel of his majority six months before a general election which was expected to be held at the end of May.

Belgium is no stranger to political crises, amid persistent divisions between its Flemish and French-speaking communities. After an inconclusive election in 2010, the country muddled through for 589 days without an elected government.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.