Thousands of fed-up Belgians took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday to call on the country’s lawmakers to end months of political bickering.
French-speaking and Dutch-speaking parties have been locked in coalition talks since elections in June.
But they have been unable to reach a deal so Belgium has been without a permanent government for 224 day – a European record.
“It’s unbelievable, even surreal that it is taking so long to form a government,” said one Flemish protester. “The time to act is now.”
“We’ve suffered a lot,” said a French-speaking Belgian taking part in the march.
“Belgium’s soverign debt has been downgraded as a result of the image that has been created all this uncertainty.”
Investors worry the deadlock will prevent the country’s reducing its debts, worth almost 100 percent of its GDP.
The row centres on a disagreement between lawmakers from French-speaking Wallonia in the south and Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north.
The Flemish want greater autonomy for their region but the Walloons fear this could lead to the break-up of Belgium.