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Power failure: government talks in Belgium collapse

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Power failure: government talks in Belgium collapse


Two months after elections, Belgium is still without a government, as the king suspended inter-party talks. Would-be Prime Minister Yves Leterme met King Albert II to report the failure of negotiations between mainly-Flemish northern parties and their French-speaking southern collegues. Francophone Christian Democrat president Joelle Milquet said her supporters would never surrender their beliefs. Weeks of negotiations over distribution of powers in linguistically-split Belgium have ultimately proved fruitless. At the heart of the talks is the Flemish parties’ demand for more financial control in their relatively-rich northern region, while pro-French Wallonia, in the south, fears less money for them.

Leterme’s Flemish Christian Democrats won June’s elections, partly on a platform of devolving more power to the regions. But then he infuriated French-speakers by saying they were too stupid to learn Flemish. The King suspended the talks to allow all sides to cool off.

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