In a new alliance of Northern Flemish Centrist parties and the liberal left parties has voted down the latest provocative move by Vlaams Belang to split Belgium. From Euronews:
A move by Belgium’s far-right Vlaams Belang to split the country in two has been blocked by lawmakers from the Flemish north and French-speaking south teaming up to vote it down. The parliamentary ballot amounted to a rare display of unity between the two sides. The political deadlock between them has left the country without a government since elections almost six months ago. And the crisis is not over yet.
Francophone liberal, Didier Reynders, commented: “A step in the wrong direction’s been avoided but there’s nothing extraordinary in that. It’s normal MPs didn’t vote to debate a law to end Belgium.”
While the politicians argue, ordinary Belgians have been organising marches calling for national unity. The presidents of both houses of Parliament are to report to King Albert today on the latest efforts to find a compromise over state reforms and form a coalition.
Video from Euronews here.
This still leaves the country with interim government, possibly until elections are held in 2009, and it leaves the BHV resection question still open.
Both sides of the issue are highly polarized, and it’s hard to find objective sources. With several factions on the left and the right continually backbiting both their opponents and their allies, it’s hard to gather just the base facts in one spot. These are the two best sources I could find for background :
The American Chamber of Commerce, Belgium outlines some of the potential outcomes here.
This financially-focused article outlines the bare facts, and the possible financial ramifications of a split. Alpha