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BREAKING NEWS

Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel tells MPs he will resign

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Belgium's prime minister Charles Michel tells MPs he will resign
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Charles Michel, Belgium's prime minister, has this afternoon told parliament that he will resign.

The biggest party in Michel's coalition, the Flemish N-VA, quit a week ago in a dispute over signing the U.N. migration pact, which forced Michel to relaunch his government as a minority administration.

"I have decided to resign and will immediately go to see the king", Michel told parliament.

He acknowledged that his earlier call to form a "willing coalition" to govern until the next election had "not convinced" and had "not been heard", and said he would respect this situation.

The motion of confidence had been put forward by the socialists and greens.

The Belgian Royal palace has confirmed that Charles Michel has been to see the king at the Chateau Laeken to offer his resignation. "The king suspends his decision", the palace has said.

A federal election was due in Belgium in May. Michel could be asked by King Philippe to stay on in a caretaker capacity until then, but with limited power. The Belgian king may also speak to other political leaders in a bid to resolve the issue.

The right-wing N-VA is the biggest party in parliament, with 31 MPs out of 150. It was one of the four that was forming Michel's coalition since 2014.

Michel had secured a large parliamentary majority last week in favour of maintaining Belgium’s support of the United Nations text, which since it was agreed by all U.N. states bar the United States in July has run into criticism from European politicians who say it could increase immigration to Europe.