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Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel Resigns After UN Migration Row

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| December 19 , 2018 , 14:00 IST

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel offered his resignation to the king on Tuesday after the country’s parliament rejected an appeal from the prime minister for its support for an international migration deal. 

He had pressure on his government after the largest coalition party quit due to differences over migration. After offering his resignation Amid applause from parliamentarians, he picked up his briefcase, shook the hands of a number of government ministers, and left.

The right-wing New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) left Michel leading a minority government on December 9 after the prime minister sought parliamentary approval to support a United Nations pact promoting a global approach to refugee and migrant flows against its wishes.

His move follows angry demonstrations in Brussels against the UN pact. Michel has told King Philippe of his decision. The king has yet to announce whether he will accept the resignation or not. 

The country is now braced for a snap election in January. The head of Michel’s party said the opposition had rejected the government’s "fair offer" in order to secure a political scalp.

The lawmakers had been demanding that he submit his new minority government to a confidence vote, but Michel had so far refused and a confrontation seemed likely this week.

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According to media reports, The royal palace said after the two spoke King Philippe would hold off on making a decision on the offer for now. The king is expected to consult with advisers and political leaders on how to proceed.

It leaves Michel's government powerless, but still in place. The government is widely expected to remain in caretaker mode until May 26 elections and the parliament could vote on the first of a series of monthly budgets needed to keep the government running as early as Thursday.

Michel, 42, took office in October 2014 after forming a right-wing coalition, becoming at 38 the country's youngest prime minister since 1841.