Crisis management comes with the territory when you are the king of Belgium and, once again, Albert II has the task of sorting out his country’s political problems.
He has been consulting with elder statesmen in the search for a solution after Prime Minister Yves Leterme offered his resignation.
Leterme had hoped the linguistically divided parties in his coalition would finally see eye to eye. But a stalemate over devolution and the thorny topic of the electoral boundaries around the capital, Brussels prompted him to throw in the towel.
While his own Flemish Christian Democrats had reservations about Leterme’s propositions, party president Marianne Thyssen praised his efforts to resolve the situation.
Leterme’s resignation has still not been accepted. Analysts say the king’s options include asking the premier’s deputy Didier Reynders to form a new administration. Reynders has expressed hope that a solution can be found safeguarding those agreements reached by the coalition on the social and economic front.
Other possibilities include asking Leterme to stay on or calling an early election, a prospect that holds greater appeal for the opposition than for governing parties.