Yves Leterme looks set to be the next prime minister of Belgium. His Christian Democrats have damaged Guy Verhofstadt’s Liberal party in Flanders where 60 percent of the population live.
Verhofstadt has been in power for the past eight years, but now the man born of Walloon and Flemish parents is on track to lead the government and act as a force for unity. The Christian Democrat who spent four years working in the European Commission favours a further devolution of powers to Belgium’s regions. This he believes will bring the country closer together rather than tear it further apart.
The country has been at loggerheads over the transfer of funds from wealthy taxpayers in the more economically vibrant Flanders to Wallonia which trails economically. His party advocates tax cuts and at the same time has pledged to increase child benefit. But first he must involve himself in forming a workable coalition.