La Treizième Étoile: 27/03/11 - 03/04/11 Blog Archives
News from the European Union with a focus on the South West UK and Gibraltar region and its MEPs
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Does Belgium hold the world record for longest time without a government? Apparently not yet.

Saturday, 2 April 2011
Does Belgium really hold the world record for the longest time without a government? A number, including myself, congratulated the politically-fractured host country of the European Union for surpassing the record held by Iraq (249 days) on 17th February 2011, but the national daily paper Le Soir noted this week that Belgium does not yet hold the record.

Instead the dubious prize is still held by Cambodia, who the paper reveals spent 353 days without a government between the 27th July 2003 and 30th June 2004.

So if Bart De Wever, Elio Di Rupo and the rest of the political heavyweights can avoid finding a solution to their country’s political turmoil by Thursday 2nd June 2011 - 354 days since the inconclusive Belgian legislative elections on 13th June 2010 - then Belgium can, at last, lay claim to the undisputed world record.

UPDATE (22/04): April 22nd marks one year to the day that Yves Leterme, the-then Belgian Prime Minister, resigned triggering the inconclusive elections of 13th June 2010. To this end numerous media outlets in Belgium and beyond produced headlines and stories proclaiming a "year without government". While this would mean they have passed the Cambodian record, it is custom for countries to be without government in the period between the parliament resigning and the election held. To this end, in my eyes the timer begins once the election has been held and the inconclusive result meant there was really no government in place. As a result, Thursday 2nd June 2011 remains the date when Belgium will break the record.

‘First-past-the-post has become a broken system’ says William Dartmouth MEP

Friday, 1 April 2011
I honestly never thought I’d utter the following four words but matter in question is switching to the Alternative Vote system (AV) I shall get it over and done with quickly: I agree with UKIP!

The reason behind this extremely rare convergence of opinion is simple: UKIP are in favour of AV and the South West’s MEP William (the Earl of) Dartmouth has penned an article on the BBC website explaining his party’s standpoint.

In this article he (correctly) describes the current First Past the Post (FPTP) voting system as “a broken system” which “no longer reflects properly what the voters want” and goes on to say that “AV would go some way to redressing the imbalances and unfairness that is the inevitable consequence of first-past-the-post”.

At the last general election in May 2010, UKIP polled more than 900,000 votes nationwide yet did not even come close to winning a seat in Westminster. While I am not advocating change so that UKIP can get find themselves with MPs in office, AV will go a long way to ending the monotony of safe seats (such as my own) where my vote only makes a difference in the turnout figures.

And who knows? It could be the first step towards proportional representation”.

Click to read Mr Dartmouth’s article.


Another blow for Farage as South West UKIP MEP Colman quits EFD group

Thursday, 31 March 2011
It would appear South West MEP Trevor Colman is set to continue the UKIP exodus by resigning from the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in the European Parliament.

Trevor Colman's MEP profile on the European Parliament website this afternoon - 31st March 2011
While the precise reasons for his resignation remain unknown, Parliament sources are citing an "unresolved dispute over financial and staffing issues", and Mr Colman, who was head of UKIP’s list in the South West at the last elections to the European Parliament, joins fellow UKIP MEP Mike Nattrass who quit the group last June, and Nikki Sinclaire who refused to join the EFD and was subsequently expelled from the party.

The pair currently sit as Non-Attached MEPs in the Parliament, and Mr Colman’s MEP profile on the European Parliament website has since been updated to confirm move to join them, as pictured above.

UKIP are one of the main parties in the EFD grouping, and the party’s other MEP for the region William (The Earl of) Dartmouth remains one of nine MEPs still loyal to leader Nigel Farage in the EFD group in Brussels. However, according to Junius on UKIP, another of the party’s MEPs is now also considering his/her position within the EFD group…

UPDATE 04/04: At the opening of the April plenary session of the European Parliament, President Jerzy Buzek confirmed this change: Mr Colman has quit the EFD group.


Last election:

Click here to see which six MEPs were elected.