Belgium is facing a challenging political situation following the resignation of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo. King Filip has officially dismissed De Croo after the election results on Sunday evening. De Croo will continue to serve as the head of a caretaker government until a new prime minister is appointed.

De Croo’s liberal party, Open Vld, received 8.5 percent of the votes in the Flemish parliament elections, down from 13 percent in the previous election. The party is likely to move into the opposition, as party chairman Tom Ongena announced the resignation of the entire party leadership.

The formation of a new government in Belgium is uncertain, with the center-right N-VA party in Flanders and the liberal-conservative MR party in Wallonia and Brussels vying for power. The French-speaking Christian democrats of Les Engag├ęs have expressed reluctance to form a coalition with N-VA leader Bart de Wever as the prime minister.

The election results have highlighted the stark differences in voting patterns between Flanders and Wallonia. MR is the dominant party in Wallonia, followed by the socialist PS party. In Brussels, the liberal and green parties emerged as the winners. The far-right Vlaams Belang party made gains but did not secure enough seats to become the largest party.

Despite Belgium’s compulsory voting system, 12.5 percent of voters did not turn up at the polls, the highest absentee rate on record. While non-voters theoretically risk a fine, prosecution is rare as the Belgian authorities have other priorities. It is important to note that compulsory voting in Belgium does not equate to mandatory voting; citizens are required to show up at the polling station but can choose not to cast a vote or submit a blank or invalid ballot.