“If at first you don’t succeed try, try again” so the saying goes and its meaning will not be lost on Yves Leterme. The Flemish Christian Democrat is back in the Belgian hot seat after Herman Van Rompuy heeded the siren call of the EU.
Laterme knows the complexities involved in keeping the linguistically-divided country on speaking terms. His previous stab at the job saw him resign twice: the king refused his first attempt. But last December his request was granted after the Supreme Court said there were signs of political meddling over the rescue of Belgo-Dutch financial group Fortis. He has since been exonerated. The political climate in Belgium has cooled recently since the fevered days of Leterme’s first term when there was intense speculation that the country was about to split. Van Rompuy’s sure leadership and the financial crisis have brought opposing factions closer together as political paralysis is the last thing the country needs as it strives for much needed growth.