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Belgium's political deadlock a Royal "crisis"

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Belgium's political deadlock a Royal "crisis"

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As Belgium nears 80 days without a government, King Albert II has summoned political sages to seek an end to a crisis rooted in divisions between the country’s French and Dutch speaking communities. But talks got off to a bad start with the press managing to photograph papers proposing separating state reform from forming a government.

The situation is now so serious the King cut short his holidays and the palace itself used the word “crisis” to describe the deadlock that has reigned since June’s general election. The problem centres on the refusal of Belgium’s French-speaking Walloon minority to accept Dutch-speaking Flanders’ demands for more autonomy.

The Dutch-speaking Christian Democrats came out strongest in the election but last week their leader, Yves Leterme, announced he was unable to form a coalition government after five weeks of trying. The man many tip to take on the challenge now is Francophone Didier Reynders, the outgoing government’s popular liberal finance minister.