A poison chalice or a golden opportunity?
His mission may be by royal appointment but, as a top Belgian politician left the palace, tasked with trying to form a government, he could be in no doubt as to the huge challenge ahead.
The leader of the country’s French-speaking Socialists, Elio Di Rupo has already tried and failed to break the deadlock since last June’s elections.
A coalition is needed but common ground in the linguistically-divided country is hard to find.
Hence a stalemate that has sparked tongue-in-cheek protests like a so-called “Chips Revolution” after Belgium’s national dish.
The impasse centres on the economic divide between wealthier Dutch-speaking Flanders, which wants more autonomy, and Wallonia, the poorer French-speaking region resistant to change.
If talks succeed, Belgium could get its first French-speaking premier in decades. Then again, an end to this crisis could once more prove to be out of reach.
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