A Belgian record: 149 days without government

Tomorrow is a moment of truth for Yves Leterme trying to form a new Belgian government. He has just broken a 20 year record when in '87 it also took 148 days to form a new government. Until yesterday we could say/joke this was not new for Belgium, that we've always been difficult in our coalition forming, that it is a tradition. Now we find ourselves in a new unknown situation.

It's also a moment of truth as he's finally negotiating over the twist issues in this formation: constitutional reform, split and reorganisation of election districts around Brussels. In the previous weeks they have slowly worked themselves through all the other points in the formation and signed multiple partial agreements: justice, foreign affairs, economics, immigration, ....but the break points were always pushed ahead.
Now they can't postpone it anymore: they need to deal with those issues.

It's also a moment of truth as the Flemish political parties (including those at the negotiating table!!) have set an ultimatum. If by tomorrow there is no agreement on the split of the election district around Brussels, they'll vote their proposition in the parliament (and the Flemish political parties all share an agreement there and can have a majority to win a unilateral voting). If they do so, the Frenchspeaking political parties leave the negotiations.
...at this moment the Flemish parties at the negotiating table have agreed the suggested compromise whereas the Wallonian parties had declared themselves unhappy with it last afternoon. There is one more discussion round tomorrow morning, before the federal parliament gets together. Mission impossible or not???

An internet poll of the biggest Flemish newspaper shows that 84% of the people think the vote at the parliament should take place tomorrow if there is no agreement by then, even if that means that the federal negotiations between the christian democrats and liberals end then.

....to be continued


This situation just seems so extraordinary to me. I think our government needs to learn some things from yours...

We really need a new government, too!
Catherine said…
Hey, this is my first Belgium blog - its nice to "meet" you! This post is fascinating...

Jenn in Holland said…
Oh, it's such a drama! It's just astounding to watch it all unfold. Wonder what's next?

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