The King of Belgium has refused to accept the resignation of his prime minister, but has put the immediate political future of the country in the hands of three other people.
Yves Leterme, the leader of the Flemish Christian Democrats, offered to step down on Monday, having failed to resolve a dispute between French and Dutch-speaking parliamentarians over the devolution of political and economic power.
Now King Albert II has asked two French-speaking politicians, and the President of Belgium’s German community, to propose a solution. They have to report back at the end of the month.
In the meantime the government will remain in place. The Deputy Prime Minister said failure was never deemed an option.
“We won’t be able to resolve all the problems and all the tension by next month,” said Didier Reynders. “But we must restart with the government and find good grounds for discussion.”
The present government is a fractious coalition of five parties. Flemish politicians want greater power for their regional governments. But Francophones in the poorer south fear they will lose important subsidies.