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Political crisis comes to the boil in Belgium

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Political crisis comes to the boil in Belgium


Belgium is on the brink. A country formed only in 1830 is staring into the political abyss today, and the distinct possibility of breaking up. Yves Leterme won last summer’s elections, and has tried, but so far failed, to form a coalition government to run his country. Today may see the beginning of the end.

Dutch-speaking Flemings, wanting more autonomy for the flourishing north, are ready to re-designate the mixed Brussels-Halle-Vilvorde district, and deprive French-speaking residents of the right to vote for francophone parties. Many fear that could lead to the break-up of Belgium itself.

A possible solution will be debated in parliament’s grand chamber. If it is rejected by Flemish MPs, they will vote to split the BHV. Green MP Jean-Marc Nollet says the negotiators must sort it out. But, he says, the most important thing is maintaining respect between the two communities.

In a country forever struggling with liguistic divisions, today marks 150 days without a government. A new record Belgium would rather do without.

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