He is a man with his work cut out for him. Belgium’s caretaker Prime Minister has been asked to find a swift way out of the country’s deepening political crisis. Received twice in the same day by the Belgian King, who has given him the daunting mission, Guy Verhofstadt said he accepted it after much hestitation.
It will change nothing, he told journalists. “That is why, at my own request, it is only very temporary and limited. “I am deeply convinced that our country needs a significant reform of its institutions. “The question that now needs answered is how can we start negotiations as soon as possible that should lead to such an in-depth reform.”
Amid the deadlock Verholstadt has continued the day to day running of the country despite losing to Flemish Christian Democrat leader Yves Leterme in June’s election. On Saturday he gave up his efforts to form a coalition after linguistically-divided politicians failed to agree. Belgium has now been without a government for nearly six months. Amid talk of it splitting in two, demonstrators have taken to the streets calling for national unity.