Business, Finance & Economics

Elio Di Rupo sworn in as Belgium's PM after 541-day deadlock


Elio Di Rupo, left is sworn as Belgian Prime Minister by King Albert of Belgium at Laeken Castle in Brussels, Belgium. Socialist leader Di Rupo has been sworn in as the new head of the Belgian government today after the country endured 541 days without an official leader.


Mark Renders

Belgium finally has a new government, after a record-breaking 541 days of political deadlock.

Elio Di Rupo, 60, was sworn in today by Belgian King Albert II, BBC News reported, along with his 12 cabinet members and 6 secretaries of state. 

"I swear fidelity to the king, obedience to the constitution and to the laws of the Belgian people," Mr Di Rupo said in French, and then in Dutch and German, the country's three languages.

The move comes on the heels of the euro crisis, which may have pushed politicians to find a solution. The political freeze in Belgium began over disagreements about the distribution of votes between the French and Flemish communities, and escalated over debt and immigration issues, BBC News reported.

A caretaker administration had been running Belgium since April 2010, BBC News reported. Albert II had a hand in guiding feuding politicians back to the negotiating table, RTE News reported

More from GlobalPost: Breakthrough in Belgium's political crisis

The situation had been an equal source of amusement and anger for Belgians, BBC News correspondent Matt Cole said. There had been several demonstrations calling on politicians to resolve the crisis, but also some more light-hearted protests, like a group who refused to shave their beards until an official government was formed, he added. 

Elio Di Rupo is Belgium's first French-speaking prime minister in 30 years, and its first Socialist prime minister since 1974, BBC News reported.

Belgium now holds the record for longest period of time without a government, beating Cambodia by 182 days.