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Belgian mediator resigns - again

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Belgian mediator resigns - again
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Johan Vande Lanotte, the mediator charged with resolving Belgium’s long-running political crisis, has handed in his resignation for a second time.

Amid growing public anger at the impasse, King Albert had asked him to try again to break the deadlock but he said he has been unable to do so.

The head of state this time accepted this resignation, the palace said in a statement. The king is to meet again with party leaders.

Belgium has now gone 227 days since an inconclusive June election without a new government. That is a record in Europe.

The deadlock is the result of Dutch-speaking parties wanting more powers for their northern region of Flanders. French speakers oppose that and argue it is a step towards the splitting up of the 180-year-old country.

The situation is having an effect on Belgium’s economy. The last time Vande Lanotte sought to quit, investors pushed up the premium for holding Belgian debt to near a record since the introduction of the euro in 1999.