Prime Minister of Belgium (1999-2008)
Date and Place of Birth:
11 April 1953, Dendermonde (Belgium).
In 1970 Mr. Verhofstadt graduated from the Ateneo Real of Ghent with a License degree in Classical Languages. He obtained a License in Law in 1975 from the University of Ghent.
Professional Experience and Political Career:
From 1972 to 1974, while studying Law in Ghent, Mr. Verhofstadt assumed the Presidency of the Flemish Liberal Student’s Union and in 1982, he became president of the Flemish Liberal Party (PVV).
In 1985, he became Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget under Prime Minister Wilfried Martens.
Four years later, he assumed for second time the Presidency of the Party and since November 1992 he led its transformation.
After being ousted from government, he became leader of the Flemish opposition and changed the PVV into the Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (VLD).
Guy Verhofstadt disappeared from the political scene in 1992 but he returned to the party’s presidency in 1996 and was member of the Committee of Rwanda for the examination of the events surrounding the 1994 Genocide in Rwanda.
Mr. Verhofstadt was appointed Prime Minister on 12 July 1999. In the 2007 elections, the conservatives won and Guy Verhofstadt gave his resignation in June 2007. Yet with the conservatives unable to form a government, Guy Verhofstadt came back at the forefront of Belgian politics in December 2008 when King Albert II asked him to form an interim government – government he led until April 2009.
He was elected member of the European Parliament in June 2009. He now assumes the leadership of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats of Europe group within the European Parliament.