Former Belgian Chairman of the Senate Frank Swaelen dies at 77

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Minister of State and former Chairman of the Senate of Belgium Frank Swaelen died in Antwerp at the age of 77.

Frank Swaelen became a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in 1968 and remained so for 17 years. From 1980 to 1981, he was Minister of Defence in the government of Prime Minister Wilfried Martens. After this, he became the chairman of his party, the Christian People's Party (CVP). In 1985 he left the Chamber of Representatives and joined the Belgian Senate, which he presided over for more than ten years, from 1988 to 1999, before retiring from active politics. He was made a minister of State in 1995.

In a reaction, Etienne Schouppe, the interim chairman of CD&V, the party that succeeded the CVP, praised Mr Swaelen and described him as "faithful, loyal and discreet." Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, on behalf of the government, offered his condolences to the family and friends of the former party chairman, minister of State and Chairman of the Senate. He stated in a reaction that "Frank Swaelen has made an important contribution to Belgian and international politics, as Representative, Minister of Defence, but above all as chairman of the CVP and Chairman of the Senate."

The Chamber of Representatives observed a minute of silence in honour of Mr Swaelen.