Former journalist Hadja Lahbib is Belgium’s new overseas minister, changing Sophie Wilmès, the Francophone liberal get together Mouvement réformiste (MR) introduced Friday.
Lahbib’s appointment by MR President Georges-Louis Bouchez got here as a shock provided that she has nearly no political expertise. She labored for 20 years because the information anchor of the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF. Over the previous yr, she was engaged on Brussels’ bid to change into the European capital of tradition in 2030.
“As of immediately, I’ve the honour of being the face of Belgium overseas,” Lahbib mentioned. “Not solely is there struggle on the gates of the European Union, the struggle additionally has repercussions all around the world.”
Whereas she admitted she was stunned to be requested, Lahbib mentioned: “I’ve no political expertise, however I do know the realm. I used to be within the discipline [as a journalist]. Possibly now could be the time to vary one thing in politics.” Lahbib is Belgium’s first overseas minister of North African descent. She was born in Hainaut to an Algerian household.
Lahbib took the oath on the royal palace on Friday morning.
After taking a brief break in April, Wilmès introduced on Thursday that she was formally resigning to care of her husband, who’s preventing mind most cancers. In a press release, the previous minister mentioned that “her present duties within the authorities” wouldn’t enable her to combat her “husband’s sickness” alongside him.
Bouchez mentioned that Wilmès will keep on as an MP within the subsequent parliamentary session, and that she might be main the listing for the MR get together on the 2024 parliamentary election.
Lahbib shouldn’t be taking up Wilmès’ deputy prime minister function, which fits to David Clarinval, the minister presently accountable for SMEs and agriculture.