Belgian king appoints new go-between to end impasse
Belgium's King Albert II on Wednesday tasked caretaker Finance Minister Didier Reynders with a new bid to break the country's political impasse, nearly eight months after a failed election.
Liberal Reynders is to report by February 16 "on the possibilities of reaching an agreement" to end wrangling between Flemish- and French-speaking parties which has blocked the formation of a stable government since a June 13, 2010 election.
Iraq from 2009 holds the world record as the country longest without a government when it took 289 days to form a cabinet.
Reynders must succeed where a string of royal-appointed mediators, conciliators and clarifiers before him have failed, including the figureheads for Belgium's feuding linguistic communities, Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever and Walloon Socialist counterpart Elio Di Rupo.
De Wever has been calling for the Liberals to return to the negotiating fray for months.
The latest royal mediator, Flemish Socialist Johan Vande Lanotte, announced on January 26 that he was throwing in the towel after three months as "there's no real perspective of progress."
© 2011 AFP