The King of Belgium has called on the heads of the two chambers of parliament to step into the country’s political minefield. After a meeting with Yves Leterme, the head of the Flemish Christian Democrats, Albert II said there needed to be a dialogue between the French-speaking president of the upper chamber, and the Flemish-speaking president of the lower house.
But all know they face a huge challenge. Wednesday’s parliamentary vote set the Flemish against the French. To the casual observer it may not seem so serious: a “yes” to splitting up the greater Brussels’ electoral district, home to Flemish and French speakers.
But Didier Reynders, the leader of the French-speaking Liberal Reform Movement, was adamant it was a very serious move because it was a vote against the Belgian pact, violating respect between the communities. It will leave more than 100,000 French voters in a Flemish-only voting district.
For one mayor, in Dinant, in French-speaking Wallonia, it’s being seen as the death knell for the Belgian state, when French and Flemish speakers can no longer live together.