Belgian king urges speedy formation of new government
Belgium's King Philippe on Sunday urged his country's fractious politicians to form a national government as speedily as possible as negotiations drag on after May elections.
"You elected the men and women to represent you for the next five years on May 25," the king said in his first national day address since coming to the throne after his father, Albert II, abdicated in July 2013.
"Like you, I have the wish that the central government and federal entities all be put in place without delay," he said.
Bitterly divided between a Flemish-speaking north and French-speaking south, Belgian politicians took a record 18 months to form a national government after 2010 elections despite the efforts of then king Albert II.
On Friday, centre and left parties managed to put together a regional government for Wallonia, the French-speaking south, after a broad French-Flemish coalition was formed earlier this month to run Brussels, the capital region.
In the more conservative north, however, talks continue between the main Flemish nationalist party, the N-VA and the Christian Democrats.
Although it appears likely that all three regional governments will be in place soon, there has been little progress on the next and most difficult step, forming Belgian's national administration.
King Philippe said the various governments will all have to "cooperate in a spirit of loyalty and mutual respect" if Belgium is to continue with needed reforms and meet its social and economic challenges.
© 2014 AFP