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No going back - Ex-PM Leterme will not return

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No going back - Ex-PM Leterme will not return


Belgium’s King Albert is expected to announce a new government after a weekend’s crisis deliberations, but at least he has one less worry to hamper his decision. After handing in the administration’s resignation, Yves Leterme has made it clear he doesn’t want the Prime Minister’s job back. A spokesman says he is concentrating on clearing any suspicion of wrong-doing surrounding him and his staff. The government collapsed amid claims of political interference in a court-case, linked to the rescue of Belgium’s Fortis Bank.

Political analyst, Herve de Ghellinck said: “Ideally, they’d start again with the same five coalition parties, then things would happen more quickly. It would be enough simply to change the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice.
If you include others, you’d have to re-negotiate the governmental declaration, and that could be lengthy. But things should pick up pace with Leterme’s withdrawal announcement.”

Among those being talked about for the premier’s post are two men who’ve done the job before – Jean Luc Dehaene was PM until 1999, and Guy Verhofstadt, the Flemish Liberal who was the King’s choice last December when Leterme’s efforts to assemble a coalition stalled.

Whoever takes over will inherit double-trouble – not only the political instability – but a rocky economy too. Last month Belgium saw a record number of bankruptcies.

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