The Wall Street Journal reports that King Albert has named a successor to Prime Minister Yves Leterme, who has resigned amid a financial scandal. (Are we surprised? Not unbearably.)
After more than a week of negotiation with the country's fragmented political parties, King Albert asked Herman Van Rompuy, president of the lower house of Belgium's parliament, to form a government. While the person chosen for this role doesn't always get the top job, "in this case, it's absolutely clear Mr. Van Rompuy will become prime minister in a few days," said Olivier Alsteens, a government spokesman.All but one of the ministers will be those of the existing (since March) coalition government.
Mr. Van Rompuy, 61 years old, is a member of the Christian Democrats, the same party that Mr. Leterme belongs to. He earned plaudits as a finance and budget minister in the 1990s when he gradually reduced Belgium's national debt so that the country would meet the criteria to adopt the euro in 1999.