Patrick Dewael

Patrick Yvonne Hugo Dewael, (Dutch: [ˈpɑtrɪg dəˈʋaːl];[1] born 13 October 1955) is a liberal Belgian politician. A member of the Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten, VLD), he served as Minister-President of Flanders from 1999 to 2003.

Patrick Dewael
President of the Chamber of Representatives
In office
27 June 2019  13 October 2020
Preceded bySiegfried Bracke
Succeeded byEliane Tillieux
In office
30 June 2014  14 October 2014
Preceded byAndré Flahaut
Succeeded bySiegfried Bracke
In office
31 December 2008  19 July 2010
Preceded byHerman Van Rompuy
Succeeded byAndré Flahaut
Minister of the Interior
In office
12 July 2003  22 December 2008
Prime MinisterGuy Verhofstadt
Yves Leterme
Preceded byAntoine Duquesne
Succeeded byGuido De Padt
Minister-President of Flanders
In office
13 July 1999  5 June 2003
Preceded byLuc Van den Brande
Succeeded byRenaat Landuyt (Acting)
Personal details
Born (1955-10-13) 13 October 1955 (age 65)
Lier, Belgium
Political partyOpen Flemish Liberals and Democrats
Alma materFree University of Brussels, Dutch

He is the nephew of the late Herman Vanderpoorten and the cousin of Marleen Vanderpoorten, who served as Minister of Education in the Flemish Government led by Dewael. He obtained a degree in law and notariat from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Brussels. Dewael served as the President of the Chamber of Representatives from 2019 to 2020 and previously from 2008 to 2010.

Political career

He was first elected to the Belgian Parliament in 1985. From 1985 to 1992 Dewael served for the PVV as Flemish minister of Culture in the governments led by Gaston Geens (II, III and IV). After the defeat of the liberals at the 1992 elections, Dewael served as an opposition MP until the liberals regained power in 1999.

He was Minister-President of the regional government of Flanders from 1999 to 2003. After the Federal elections of 2003, Dewael resigned as Minister-President in order to serve as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior in the Belgian Federal government led by Guy Verhofstadt.

When Kurdish militant Fehriye Erdal was sentenced to 4 years' imprisonment by a Bruges court on 28 February 2006, it turned out that she had shaken off the Belgian secret service, which had had the responsibility of following her since 23 February 2006 (Erdal had been under house arrest since 2000). Both the Minister of Justice, Laurette Onkelinx, and the Minister of the Interior, Patrick Dewael came under fire for this incident.

He was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Interior in the Leterme I Government, which took office on 20 March 2008.[2] On 31 December 2008, he became President of the Chamber of Representatives. He was replaced as Interior Minister by Guido De Padt.

Private life

Patrick Dewael lives in Tongeren, a town of which he is also the mayor.

Patrick Dewael was married to Marleen Van Doren, with whom he has three children. On 24 August 2005 Dewael released a press communiqué in which he announced that he was leaving his wife for VRT journalist Greet Op de Beeck [nl]. On 19 July 2019 he married Op de Beeck.[3]