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Belgium waits, as King ponders its political future

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Belgium waits, as King ponders its political future
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Belgium remains in political limbo, as the King continues with efforts to find a new Prime Minister.

King Albert has been holding talks with leading politicians since Friday, when the Prime Minister Yves Leterme tendered his resignation in the wake of a scandal about his government’s proposed rescue plan of the ailing Fortis bank. Ways out of the crisis include holding parliamentary elections as soon as possible or appointing a so-called “emergency” government to hold power until June. The ruling parties are strongly against a speedy election, aware that voters would likely punish them for a government collapse in the middle of an economic crisis. A parliamentary election in June would coincide with planned regional and European elections. As for who will lead the government, analysts say they don’t envisage the current Prime Minister Yves Leterme returning. The Finance Minister Didier Reynders is an alternative option, as is former Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. Other possible candidates for the premiership are the President of the lower house of parliament Herman Van Rompuy. Another is the former Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene.