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belgium politics

King Philippe of Belgium has sworn in a new centre-right government, more than four months after the general election.

The new cabinet is led by French-speaking liberal Charles Michel, 38, who will be Belgium’s youngest prime minister since 1841.

The government is the first to include ministers from the separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) party. It has vowed to cut government spending and balance the national budget.

Belgium is notorious for long political deadlocks following elections.

It took 541 days to form the country’s previous, Socialist-led government.

Charles Michel has become Belgium's youngest prime minister since 1841

Charles Michel has become Belgium’s youngest prime minister since 1841

Belgium is also deeply divided linguistically. Dutch-speaking parties performed well in the elections, but they chose to form a four-party coalition and appoint a French-speaking prime minister.

The N-VA, which campaigns for more autonomy for northern, Dutch-speaking Belgium, came first in the May elections.

Its leader, Bart De Wever, will remain mayor of Antwerp and did not join the government.

As well as a commitment to lower taxes, the new government plans to raise the pension age from 65 to 66 in 2025 and to 67 in 2030.

Outgoing prime minister, French-speaking socialist Elio di Rupo, has vowed to lead the political opposition to the policies.

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