Verhofstadt, Guy Maurice Marie-Louise

Verhofstadt, Guy Maurice Marie-Louise, 1953–, Belgian political leader, prime minister of Belgium (1999–2008). A lawyer and member of the Flemish Party for Freedom and Progress (PVV; from 1991 the Liberal and Democratic Flemish party, VLD), he was elected head of its youth wing in 1979 and served as president of the party (1982–85, 1989–95, 1997–99). From 1985 to 1992 Verhofstadt, who was first elected to the Belgian parliament in 1978, was deputy prime minister and budget minister in Wilfried Martens' coalition government. In 1999 the VLD won a plurality, and Verhofstadt became the coalition government's prime minister, the first liberal in the office since 1938. He remained prime minister after the 2003 elections, and headed an interim government (2007–8) after losses in the 2007 elections. In 2009 he was first elected to the European Parliament, where he was the leader (2009–19) of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe. He wrote Europe's Last Chance (2017).

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