When Britain’s politicians were forced into negotiating the first coalition government since World War II after inconclusive general election results, there were some who said the five 'hectic' days the country was ‘in limbo’ while negotiating took place was too long.
I imagine a glance across to the continent to Belgium would have these same people torn between laughter and tears of despair as it is now four months
since the Belgian elections
and the country still has no government, and this period of instability is set to continue with the news that coalition talks have again broken down.
The Flemish separatist party, N-VA
, the overall winner at the polls, revealed they pulled out of discussions yesterday and said they should start again from scratch.
The party’s leader Bart de Wever, pictured above, told reporters: “we’ve been regressing the last few weeks instead of progressing… that’s why I’m not afraid to say that this story, according to us, has ended.
The party is demanding more power and greater fiscal autonomy for their region of Flanders and have placed the blame for the collapse squarely at the door of the francophones, something which they naturally dispute. The Socialists, the centre-right (CDH
) and the Greens (Ecolo
) have both venomously attacked the decision calling it "irresponsible
" and "damaging to all the citizens of our country.
The collapse is another setback for Belgium and is considerably embarrassing since it currently holds the European Union’s rotating presidency until January 2011.
Many in Belgium and around Europe hope an agreement to form a coalition can be found soon although it is worth remembering that it took almost nine months
for such an agreement last time around...
For a rather good visual explanation of Belgium’s political troubles, I urge you to watch the video below by author Marcel Sel and Jerome de Gerlache entitled 'Do you want to know more about Belgium?