For Belgium it is a familiar story.
A prime minister tenders his resignation, a king decides whether to accept, and this as linguistic tensions threaten to tear the country apart.
Yves Leterme’s latest premiership started last November. But, like his first, it has not lasted long,
leaving King Albert with decisions to make.
Leterme’s coalition collapsed after his Flemish liberal partners pulled out.
For francophone finance minister Didier Reynders, the withdrawal left no margin for manoeuvre to the prime minister and government.
“There is a strong risk the country will face a serious situation,” he said.
The Flemish Open VLD said it lost faith in the government amid a row between French and Dutch-speaking parties over electoral boundaries around Brussels.
The split and fresh political paralysis could not have come at a worse time for Belgium as it prepares to take over the EU’s rotating presidency.
But, in the country’s parliament, separatists sang a Flemish anthem to celebrate the effective collapse of the government.