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Belgium to have first female PM as Michel takes EU top job - papers

FILE PHOTO: Belgian Budget Minister Sophie Wilmes arrives at a meeting of EU ministers for Economic and Financial Affairs in Brussels, Belgium, November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Liberal politician Sophie Wilmes is set to become the first female prime minister of Belgium, local newspapers reported on Saturday.

She is expected in November to replace the outgoing prime minister Charles Michel, who has been appointed president of the European Council, one of the top positions in the European Union, according to the reports.

Wilmes is the budget minister in the caretaker government led by Michel.

She would lead a caretaker administration until the country’s political parties agree on a new government. They have so far failed to do so following a general election in May.

After the 2010 elections, Belgium was led by a caretaker administration for more than a year-and-a-half, setting what was then a record for a country not at war.

Belgium, a member of the EU and the euro currency area, is nearly equally split into Dutch and French-speaking regions. It also has a smaller German-speaking district. There are no national parties, as voters elect representatives from their sides of the linguistic divide.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Alex Richardson