Charles Michel

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Charles Michel
Vladimir Putin and Charles Michel (2018-01-31) 01 (cropped).jpg
51st Prime Minister of Belgium
Assumed office
11 October 2014
Preceded byElio Di Rupo
Leader of the Reformist Movement
In office
14 February 2011 – 10 October 2014
Preceded byDidier Reynders
Succeeded byOlivier Chastel
Minister of Development Cooperation
In office
21 December 2007 – 14 February 2011
Prime MinisterGuy Verhofstadt
Yves Leterme
Herman Van Rompuy
Preceded byArmand De Decker
Succeeded byOlivier Chastel
Personal details
BornCharles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel
(1975-12-21) 21 December 1975 (age 42)
Namur, Belgium
Political partyReformist Movement
Domestic partnerAmélie Derbaudrenghien [fr]
Alma materUniversité Libre de Bruxelles
University of Amsterdam

Charles Yves Jean Ghislaine Michel (French pronunciation: ​[ʃaʁl miʃɛl]; Dutch: [ˈcɑrl(s) miˈʃɛl]; born 21 December 1975) is a Belgian politician who is the current Prime Minister of Belgium. He is the son of Louis Michel, also a prominent politician. Charles Michel was the leader of the francophone liberal party Mouvement Réformateur (MR) since February 2011 until becoming Prime Minister. Michel is the youngest Belgian Prime Minister since 1845.

Early career[edit]

Michel was born in Namur, Wallonia, the son of Martine Simone Yolande Ghislaine Pierre and Louis Michel. Michel started his political career aged 16 when he joined the Young Liberals of Jodoigne (Jeunes Réformateurs Libéraux de Jodoigne); his father Louis Michel was mayor of Jodoigne since 1983. In 1994, at the age of 18, Charles Michel was elected provincial councillor in Walloon Brabant.

He graduated in law at the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the University of Amsterdam in 1998, after which he became lawyer at the Brussels Bar.

He is fluent in Dutch and English in addition to his native French.

Political career[edit]

Michel has been elected to the federal Chamber of Representatives since 1999, representing Walloon Brabant, a stronghold of the liberal MR.

In 2000, he became Minister of Home Affairs in the Walloon Government. Aged 25, he became the youngest minister in Belgium's history.[1] At the local level, he was elected city councillor in Wavre in 2000. In 2006, he became mayor of the city.

In December 2007, Michel became the Belgian Minister of Development Cooperation in the Verhofstadt III Government and subsequently in the Leterme I, Van Rompuy I and Leterme II governments.[2]

In 2009, he declared himself to be shocked by statements of Pope Benedict XVI claiming that condoms promoted AIDS, calling the statements "astounding, scandalous and even irresponsible."[3]

After the June 2009 regional elections, Michel was part of a group demanding the MR leader Didier Reynders to step down. After the party suffered further losses in the June 2010 federal elections, Reynders eventually stepped down. Charles Michel then announced his candidacy for leader of MR. In January 2011 he was elected leader of the Mouvement Réformateur, for which he resigned as Minister for Development Cooperation. Charles Michel and Didier Reynders are longtime rivals within their party.[4]

Prime Minister of Belgium[edit]

Michel and Russian President Vladimir Putin, 31 January 2018

After the 2014 federal elections, Michel became co-formateur in the 2014 Belgian government formation. Initially, CD&V Kris Peeters was expected to be Prime Minister. However, CD&V also insisted on Marianne Thyssen becoming European Commissioner. The other parties would not accept CD&V holding the two most important political posts.

Ultimately, the parties agreed to propose Thyssen for European Commission, with the Prime Minister to come from one of the liberal parties (MR or Open VLD. As Michel was serving as co-formateur, it became clear that he would lead the next government. When on 7 October 2014 an overall agreement was reached between four parties to form a new government, Michel was formally proposed to lead the Michel Government, with Peeters as one of four Deputy Prime Ministers. Michel is the youngest Belgian cabinet leader since 1841 and the youngest ever with the title of Prime Minister of Belgium. He is only the second Francophone liberal to become Prime Minister.[5][6]

When Michel formally succeeded Elio Di Rupo, he became the first francophone Prime Minister to succeed another francophone in almost 50 years, when Pierre Harmel was succeeded by Paul Vanden Boeynants.




  1. ^ "Charles Michel officiellement candidat à la présidence du MR". Le Vif. 13 December 2010.
  2. ^ "20 March 2008 – Royal Orders. Government – Dismissals – Appointments" (PDF) (in Dutch and French). The Belgian Official Journal. 21 March 2008. pp. 3–4. Retrieved 30 March 2008.
  3. ^ "Les déclarations du pape sur le préservatif sous le feu du parlement". 25 March 2009.
  4. ^ "Michel vs. Reynders: waarom de MR elke keer wat anders zegt". De Morgen. 27 June 2014.
  5. ^ "Dit waren de jongste en de oudste eerste ministers van ons land". Het Belang van Limburg. 8 October 2014
  6. ^ "BIOGRAFIE. Charles Michel wordt jongste premier uit Belgische geschiedenis". De Standaard. 7 October 2014
  7. ^ arrêtés royaux du 21 mai 2014
  8. ^ Michiels, Alix; Van Hecke, Robert (2016). "Un enfant trouvé dans la généalogie de notre premier ministre à Anvers en 1834". GéniWal (69): 8–17. Retrieved 11 February 2017.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Armand De Decker
Minister of Development Cooperation
Succeeded by
Olivier Chastel
Preceded by
Elio Di Rupo
Prime Minister of Belgium
Party political offices
Preceded by
Didier Reynders
Leader of the Reformist Movement
Succeeded by
Olivier Chastel