Belgium is staring into the political abyss once again after the politician charged with forming a coalition government resigned.
Elio di Rupo, the leader of the French speaking Socialists, said he could not strike a deal with the nationalist New Flemish Alliance and the centre-right Christian Democrats.
“It would be a shame to go from a blank cheque to an empty page. I don’t want to reveal all the discussions we had at the negotiating table but we decided that if we can’t agree on everything, then we have no agreement at all.”
The country has been without a government for three months… Prime Minister Yves Leterm’s coalition collapsed in April, prompting fresh elections.
Tension is longstanding between Dutch- and French-speaking populations in Belgium.
A dispute over electoral boundaries and voting rights in an area around the nation’s capital.
Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV) is officially in Flanders, Belgium’s Dutch-speaking north.
But many French speakers live there and they are allowed to vote for Francophone politicians in elections.
Flemish nationalists argue Dutch speaking areas are becoming “Frenchified” .
The Flemish also complain they are subsidising their Francophone neighbours in the south where unemployment is twice as high.