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MR is considering the future of its chairman

03 october 2020


The French-speaking liberals hold a crisis meeting at nine o’clock, after the uprising that broke out at the end of last week against party chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez. A dismissal cannot be ruled out completely, although it seems that the wayward chairman comes under guardianship.

I am humiliated, ‘said former federal minister Denis Ducarme Monday morning. According to him, trust with party chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez has been broken.

Ducarme thus takes the lead in the fight against the chairman, who last week pushed him aside as minister. Ducarme was just like Bouchez last year candidate for president as Bouchez and is also from Hainaut. He is the son of former MR Chairman Denis Ducarme.

The colère in the meantime appears to be somewhat subdued, but it is far from gone. The top of the party will meet on Monday at nine o’clock at the headquarters on the Toison d’Or. Not only Bouchez himself, the vice-presidents, all ministers and all group chairmen from the parliaments will be there, but also all ex-ministers of the Wilmès government.

Brother of

The discontent among the Walloon liberals about it the casting of the MR ministers is big. President Georges-Louis Bouchez sought out Mathieu Michel, brother of European Council President Charles Michel, to become minister. As a result, former federal minister for the middle class saw Denis Ducarme his minister post drilled through the nose.

To appease Ducarme, Bouchez promised him ministry in the Walloon government. Bouchez wanted to push Walloon Minister of Civil Service Valerie De Bue aside for this, but overlooked a law on gender balance. Result: De Bue could not be replaced by a man.

Party office

The dissatisfaction about this is expressed at the party office on Monday. According to the French-speaking press, the appetite to ask for Bouchez’s resignation there would have died down. One of the reasons is that a dismissal is not easy. According to the statutes, you cannot just dismiss a chairman and last week the whole party applauded for Bouchez when the green light was given for the coalition agreement. Only the MR ministers were not known at the time.

Another option is that Bouchez would come under the guardianship of a G4: former Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès, former Minister Willy Borsus, the Prime Minister of the French Community Pierre-Yves Jeholet and the group leader in the Brussels Parliament Alexia Bertrand.

According to La Libre Belgique, the chairman has already met these four in a discreet place this weekend to propose that kind of ‘collective leadership’. The question is whether the top of the MR believes that Bouchez means it and believes that the idiosyncratic chairman is restricting his freedom of movement. Ducarme certainly doesn’t think so.

Meanwhile, Bouchez does not lose his good mood. He retweeted a twitter joke from the Christian union on Sunday about counseling after being fired.


The fact that the dissatisfaction with the MR is so great is in the first place because the choice for Mathieu Michel was not discussed with the party.

The only person the chairman spoke to is Charles Michel. He therefore approved the resignation of De Bue, in favor of his brother Mathieu. This will leave traces. ‘

MR head in La Capitale

The only person the chairman spoke to is Charles Michel. He therefore approved the resignation of De Bue, in favor of his brother Mathieu. This will leave traces, ”said an MR leader in La Capitale this weekend.

Michel’s name rips open old wounds. For years, the MR was divided by a clan war between the camp of the current European Commissioner Didier Reynders and the camp Michel. Leaders from the former Reynderskamp “thought that Bouchez did not belong to any camp, but now have the impression that this presidency is a ‘Charles Michel bis'”, says a liberal in La Libre Belgique.

Liège leg

Especially with the Liège arm of the party there is dissatisfaction. In Liège, leaders such as former pension minister Daniel Bacquelaine, Prime Minister of the French Community Pierre-Yves Jeholet and former Minister of Foreign Affairs Philippe Goffin organized a meeting, writes La Libre Belgique. MR representatives also met in other places in Wallonia and Brussels. They all considered the question: can Bouchez’s presidency be sustainable any longer?

The break also seems complete with the Walloon ministers Willy Borsus and Jean-Luc Crucke. The latter posted a photo on Twitter on Friday of all female Walloon MPs and ministers with the caption: ‘you are more than quota’.


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