- Guy Verhofstadt
Infobox Prime Minister
name = Guy Verhofstadt
order = Prime Minister of Belgium
monarch = Albert II
Didier Reynders Yves Leterme
term_start = 12 July 1999
term_end = 20 March 2008
birth_date = birth date and age|1953|04|11|df=y
spouse = Dominique Verkinderen
party = VLD
Audio|Nl-be guy verhofstadt.ogg|Guy Verhofstadt (IPA2|ɣi: vəɾˈɦɔfstɑt) (b. Guy Maurice Marie Louise Verhofstadt, 11 April 1953, in
Dendermonde, Belgium) is a Belgian politician, municipal councilor in Ghentand former Prime Minister of Belgium.
Born in 1953 in
Dendermonde, he became president of the Flemish Liberal Student's Union (1972-1974) while studying lawin Ghent. He quickly became the secretary of Willy De Clercq, who was at that time the president of the Flemish liberal party (PVV). In 1982, at age 29, he became president of the party. In 1985 he was elected into the Chamber of Deputies, and became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget under Prime Minister Wilfried Martens. Because of his economic views and his young age, he became known as "Baby Thatcher". Another nickname from that era is "da joenk", a Brabantiandialect expression meaning "that kid" (in a pejorative sense, referring to his rather iconoclastic and immature style).
After being ousted from government he became leader of the opposition. After a failed attempt to form a government in November 1991, he changed the PVV into the
Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten(VLD). This new party attracted many politicians from other parties, notably from the Volksunie (VU) and the Christelijke Volkspartij (CVP).
However, despite the fact that many had high expectations, the party did not manage to outstrip the CVP. Verhofstadt resigned and disappeared from the political scene, only to return to the party's presidency in 1997 with a less radical image. He gradually moved away from
neoliberalism(partly under the influence of his brother Dirk, a social liberal political philosopher), and became more of a centrist figure, a change which especially became clear during his first term as Prime Minister.
Partly because of a food scandal that broke out just before the 1999 elections, the VLD became the largest party in the country, obtaining over 22% of the vote in Flanders. He quickly formed a coalition with the socialist and the green party in
Flanders, and with the French speaking counterparts of these parties (a symmetric coalition) in Brussels and Wallonia. He was appointed Prime Minister on 12 July 1999. It was the first Belgian government without the Christian-democrats since 1958, and the first one which included the green parties.
The economic situation gave him leeway in raising the lowest social alimonies and lowering taxation. After 2001, the economic situation worsened. The 'Aging Fund' or 'Silver Fund' was set up, in order to ensure the maintenance of pensions until 2030. But despite his efforts to boost the economy while attempting to maintain the social benefits system, unemployment rose, after previously falling during the second Dehaene cabinet.
Much to the disapproval of his coalition partners, Verhofstadt and his VLD opposed granting the right to vote to non-EU residents. Instead, they proposed and were able to liberalize procedure for obtaining Belgian citizenship.
During the prelude to the Iraq crisis of 2003, Belgium joined France, Germany and Russia in their opposition to the invasion.
Following the 2003 general elections, Verhofstadt formed his second cabinet without the green parties, who were virtually annihilated in the election. For various reasons, the formation of the second government was delayed well beyond normal: the economic situation worsened to 1999 levels, both politically similar parties (liberals and socialists) gained approximately the same seats. Additionally, the various world governments were pressing for the abolition of the law of universal competence (also known as the "genocide law"), which gave Belgian judges the authority to accuse and sentence non-Belgians with
crimes against humanity. Accusations that were made had rarely been followed up, and were often dismissed as being little more than politically motivated international insults. Verhofstadt's second government was sworn in on 12 July 2003, with both coalition partners having agreed to abolish the so-called "genocide law" and replace it with a much weaker one.
In the Flemish regional elections of 13 June 2004, his party lost votes, slipping into third place in
Flanders. Though this has had no direct impact upon his position as Prime Minister, there were rumours that the Christian-Democratic party (CD&V) that won the elections, would participate in federal government. Verhofstadt was suggested as a candidate to replace Romano Prodias the next President of the European Commission, but his candidacy was opposed and rejected by a coalition led by Tony Blairand Silvio Berlusconi.
Since then, Verhofstadt has been faced with internal crisis after crisis. The first crisis coming to a head in the autumn of 2004 was the question whether
DHLwould invest in Brussels Airport, located in the Flemish municipality of Zaventem. The question which nearly caused the collapse of the cabinet was whether to grant DHL extra landing rights during the night, this being a hot topic of public debate and various court cases. In the end the split between employment and night rest was for nought as DHL had only used the Zaventem option in order to get better conditions from Leipzig.
After the DHL crisis, Verhofstadt was faced with a communautary crisis with regard to dividing the administrative arrondissement
Brussels-Halle-Vilvoordecommonly abbreviated to BHV. The dividing was an issue that the parties forming the Flemish regional government had written in their government agreement. This caused a veto to be posed by the Walloon parties. The crisis dragged on until spring 2005 when the matter was shelved until after the federal elections of 2007 as the Flemish parties forming the government, given the for them disastrous opinion polls, didn't have the nerve to collapse the government. The constitutional court of Belgium ruled that all elections held after 10 June 2007 are invalid with the constitution because of the non-separation of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.
In the autumn of 2005, Verhofstadt managed to score a success when he was able to negotiate a "Generation Pact" with regard to employment and social reforms, regardless of the opposition and actions of the unions.
Verhofstadt was sworn in as municipal councilor in Ghent in January 2007, as a result of the 2006 municipal elections. In the council, he is seated next to another cabinet minister,
Freya Van den Bossche, who was elected a municipal councillor as well.He even postponed a visit to the Russian President Vladimir Putinto be able to go to the first session of the newly elected council. Verhofstadt III
Verhofstadt led the VLD into the 2007 general election. Already with the 2006 municipal elections, the VLD showed signs of fatigue with the Flemish voter, who seem to have had enough of eight years of Verhofstadt, and the purple coalition governments. In an evening speech on election day, Verhofstadt conceded defeat and asked for a new generation to lead the VLD; he was to step down as prime minister after a new government has been formed. However, the formation of a new government was complicated, and in the end, CD&V politician
Yves Letermefailed to bring about a new government. Yet, certain policy matters became politically urgent. The King therefore asked Verhofstadt to mediate an "interim government" would be in office for three months and could propose a 2008 budget among others. A deal was struck in December, and the "interim government" was set for inauguration on 21 December 2007. On 23 December 2007 this interim government won a vote of confidence in parliament, with 97 votes in favor, 46 opposed, and one abstention, assuring it legitimacy for three months. [cite news | title = Belgium's Interim Government Wins Parliamentary Confidence Vote | url = http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aixhkPdyS18A&refer=europe| publisher = Bloomberg | date = 2007-12-23| accessdate = 2007-12-23]
A "permanent government" under leadership of
Yves Letermeassumed office 20th of March 2008. [cite news | title = Belgium Finally Gets a Government | url = http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1697607,00.html | publisher = TIME | date = 2007-12-21| accessdate = 2007-12-21]
One of the first decisions of the new government, on 21 December 2007, was to raise the security level after it foiled an attempted jail break of an Al Qaeda operative. [cite news | title = Terrorism fears put Belgium on alert| url = http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jL1hB2vYX7e8nF3NJstBaa0tEWvwD8TM1DR00 | publisher = The Associated Press| date =
2007-12-21| accessdate = 2007-12-21 ]
Dirk Verhofstadt, his brother
United States of Europe
Crown Council of Belgium
* [http://www.premier.fgov.be/ Official web site of the Prime Minister of Belgium] , available in Dutch and French
* [http://www.guyverhofstadt.be/ Guy Verhofstadt] (Personal website, Dutch)
NAME = Verhofstadt, Guy
ALTERNATIVE NAMES =
SHORT DESCRIPTION = Belgian politician
DATE OF BIRTH = 11 April 1953
PLACE OF BIRTH =
DATE OF DEATH =
PLACE OF DEATH =
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Guy Verhofstadt — Mandats Président du groupe ADLE au Parlement européen … Wikipédia en Français
Guy Verhofstadt — (2005) Guy Maurice Marie Louise Verhofstadt anhören … Deutsch Wikipedia
Guy Verhofstadt — Este artículo o sección necesita referencias que aparezcan en una publicación acreditada, como revistas especializadas, monografías, prensa diaria o páginas de Internet fidedignas. Puedes añadirlas así o avisar al aut … Wikipedia Español
Verhofstadt — Guy Verhofstadt Guy Verhofstadt 46e Premier ministre belge … Wikipédia en Français
Verhofstadt — 2005 Guy Verhofstadt anhören?/i (* 11. April 1953 in Dendermonde) ist ein belgischer Politiker und früherer Premierminis … Deutsch Wikipedia
Guy Vanhengel — (* 10. Juni 1958 in Brüssel) ist ein belgischer Politiker der Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Open VLD). Vanhengel bekleidete lange Zeit das Amt des Finanz und Haushaltsministers in der Region Brüssel Hauptstadt (2000 bis 2009). Seit dem… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Guy Vanhengel — (Brussels, june 10th 1958) is a Flemish Brussels politician for the liberal democrats VLD.Vanhengel graduated (1979) as a teacher and taught class until 1981. After his army service (1981 1982) he started working as a spokesperson to the then… … Wikipedia
Guy Vanhengel — Guy A.J. Vanhengel, né le 10 juin 1958 à Bruxelles, est un homme politique belge, membre du parti libéral démocrate flamand Open VLD. Il est diplômé de l École normale Karel Buls (1979). Sommaire 1 Emploi 2 Carrière politique … Wikipédia en Français
Verhofstadt — may refer to: *Dirk Verhofstadt, Belgian liberal thinker *Guy Verhofstadt, Prime Minister of Belgium, brother of Dirk … Wikipedia
Guy — or Guys may refer to: * Man, in slang * Guys , a group of two or more people, originally used to refer to groups of males, now commonly used to refer to any groups, although the singular guy might not be used to refer to an individual female. *… … Wikipedia