The failure to break Belgium’s political deadlock has not only raised questions over the country’s entire future, it has also become a great source of satire.
Government-less for a year – a world record -creators of one TV comedy have decided to make the most of the impasse.
The programme centres on Jean, from Belgium’s French speaking Wallonia. He’s so in love with Flanders, Belgium’s Dutch region, he desperately wants to become Flemish.
Creator of the programme Peter De Maegt said: “It was an ironic approach to the debate and also to the NVA and all the nationalist Flemish movement, but still we allow and we are open to a dialogue towards them, because it is not the fundamental conflict.”
St-Genesius Rode or Rhode-St Genèse is a small Belgium town with a difference. Despite being in Flanders most of its residents are French speaking.
Many said they are frustrated that the country’s political leaders seem unable to broker a deal.
One woman said: ‘‘I think that it’s the politicians that are stirring it up between people. I don’t think there’s a problem, but it’s the bread and butter of politicians, without which they wouldn’t exist.’‘
‘‘I don’t understand it. They know how to work it out, but as soon as one of them is against it the other is for it and then they argue like I don’t know what, and then, in the evening they eat together as friends. In the day they row. You know, that’s what politics is like here,’‘ said another local.
Belgium’s socialist leader, Elio Di Rupo is the man currently tasked by King Albert to form a government. But, Di Rupo’s main hurdle remains the Flemish separatist party the N-VA led by Bart de Wever. They have refused to enter government before major reforms are agreed.