Sinterklaas and Zwart Piet will be leaving lumps of coal for the parliament of Belgium after tries for a coalition government once again failed on the 174th day since elections. Leterme and DeWever (CDV and NVA respectively) once again weren’t able to gather enough allies with agreements to the liberal Walloon region parties to form a coalition government. It looks as if the Belgians are going to have to do with interim government and Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt until new elections come (I think in January, but I am not certain.)
The CD-V and NVA coalition had been losing support steadily prior to the last elections because the Flemish population thinks they favor the Wallonian regions a bit too much for the majority that the Flemish have in the Parliament. Post election this time they are taking a much harder line to stem the flow of voters departing to Vlaams Belang in protest. It remains to be seen if their harder stance on the BHV region will work until next election. (BHV is a region surrounding West Brussels, splitting that off is somewhat like the Mason-Dixon line and Texas Redistricting all rolled into one for the Belgians, a thorny, passionate issue on all sides.) Story at AFP:
deeper into crisis.
Leterme had given up the task once before since the June 10 general election put his party in pole position to form a Christian-liberal coalition, involving two parties from each side of the linguistic divide.
“The last weeks and months I have done all I can to bring this task to a successful conclusion,” Leterme, the Flemish Christian Democrat leader, said in the parliament building after throwing in the towel.
“Unfortunately that has not been possible. Our country needs a stable government and reforms that will permit it to tackle its problems head on.”
He added that he had been aware, when he had first accepted the task of forming a government, “that I was taking a political as well as a personal risk”.
He remained available to work towards a solution to the political impasse, he said.
Meanwhile the “cordon sanitaire” seems to hold around Vlaams Belang, even though all Flemish nationalist parties voted together on the BHV motion that disrupted talks last time.
Perhaps if they gave the Vlaams Belang Jongeren (Flemish Interest Youth) different songbooks then other Flemish parties in their country would feel better about allying with them. This picture comes from the VBJ-Antwerp official page, and Antwerp has always been the core of VB’s party.
UPDATE: Good background of the history leading to this here at Turkish Press