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King accept resignation of government

King accept resignation of government
King accept resignation of government

Belgium King Albert II accepted the government's resignation Monday after negotiations failed to resolve a long-simmering dispute between Dutch- and French-speaking politicians over a bilingual voting district in and around Brussels, the country's capital.
The king had waited since last week to see if last-ditch talks could keep the coalition government of Prime Minister Yves Leterme together. But late Monday, it became clear the differences between the linguistic groups were too deep. Elections could now be called in early June.
"The King has tasked the government to continue in a caretaker capacity," the Royal Palace said in a statement.
Speculation had been that the five coalition parties would keep trying to break the stalemate at least until Thursday, when the next session of parliament was planned, but that did not happen.
"We wanted a negotiated solution but it was quickly clear that there was no political will," said Alexander De Croo, head of the Dutch-speaking Liberals.
The crisis comes at an inopportune moment: Belgium will take over the rotating presidency of the European Union on July 1, putting the nation at the forefront of European politics.
The current coalition took office March 20, 2008, following a political impasse over a related linguistic spat that lasted a record 194 days.
Linguistic disputes rooted in history and economic disparities have long dominated politics in this country of 6.5 million Dutch-speakers and 4 million Francophones.
Belgium is divided into Dutch-speaking northern Flanders and French-speaking southern Wallonia and bilingual Brussels in between. The language rules determine which language is used on everything from mortgages and traffic signs to election ballots and divorce papers.
In 2003, the Constitutional Court ruled the bilingual Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde voting district illegal because it violated the separation of Dutch- and French-language regions. The district includes Brussels, which is officially bilingual, but also encompasses 20-odd towns in Dutch-speaking Flanders around the capital.


Updated : 2021-10-17 01:16 GMT+08:00