Guy Spitaels

Guy Spitaels
Minister-President of Wallonia
In office
7 January 1992 – 25 January 1994
Preceded byBernard Anselme
Succeeded byRobert Collignon
President of the Party of European Socialists
In office
February 1989 – May 1992
Preceded byVítor Constâncio
Succeeded byWilly Claes
Leader of the Socialist Party
In office
Preceded byAndré Cools
Succeeded byPhilippe Busquin
Personal details
Born(1931-09-03)3 September 1931
Ath, Belgium
Died21 August 2012(2012-08-21) (aged 80)[1]
Uccle, Belgium
Political partySocialist Party
Alma materCatholic University of Leuven

Guy Gustave Arthur Ghislain Spitaels (3 September 1931 – 21 August 2012) was a Belgian politician of the Socialist Party. He was the 7th Minister-President of Wallonia from 1992 to 1994 and president of his party for thirteen years, until he was succeeded by Philippe Busquin.


Spitaels graduated in 1957 in political and social sciences at the Universite Catholique de Louvain (UCL), and attended the College of Europe in Bruges 1957–1958. He quit the Roman Catholic faith and became a Freemason. He became a professor in labour law at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

In the early 1970s Spitaels was chief of staff to various Belgian socialist ministers. After the elections of 1974 Spitaels became a senator. He became mayor of Ath in 1977, an office he held for twenty years. The same year he became minister of Labour under Prime Minister Paul Vanden Boeynants. From 1979 to 1981 Spitaels was deputy prime minister under the governments of Wilfried Martens. He concurrently served as minister of the budget (1979–1980) and minister of transport (1980–1981). After the electoral defeat at the elections of 1981, the PS was relegated to the opposition and Guy Spitaels became party chairman of the PS (1981–1992). In the general elections of 1987 he led his party to electoral victory and back to power.

With him and André Cools, the PS played a leading role in transformation the unitary structures of the Belgian state into a federalist system. The transformation was largely accomplished by 1989 and completely formalized in 1993.[2]

In 1992 Spitaels arranged that he would become Minister-President of the Walloon Government. Along with other politicians from his party, he was involved in the Agusta scandal, which caused his resignation in 1994. In 1995 he was elected President of the Walloon Parliament but he had to resign from this office due to the scandal in 1997. Spitaels was convicted for passive bribery by the Court of Cassation in 1998. His political career would never recover from this scandal.

Before the Agusta scandal he was nicknamed Dieu (French for God), a reference to his great influence within the Parti Socialiste, which was the most powerful party of French-speaking Belgium in those days.

Spitaels died of a brain tumor at age 80 on 21 August 2012.[3]

See also


  1. ^ "Guy Spitaels, Belgian Socialist Leader, Has Died - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 21 August 2012.
  2. ^ David Wilsford,Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary, Greenwood Press, Westport, 1995, p. 75. ISBN 0-313-28623-X [It is important to say this transformation continue after 1993]
  3. ^ "Guy Spitaels, Belgian Socialist Leader, Dead at 80". AP. Retrieved 21 August 2012.[permanent dead link]


Party political offices
Preceded by
André Cools
Leader of the Socialist Party
Succeeded by
Philippe Busquin
Preceded by
Vítor Constâncio
Leader of the Party of European Socialists
Succeeded by
Willy Claes
Political offices
Preceded by
Bernard Anselme
Minister-President of Walloonia
Succeeded by
Robert Collignon

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