Belgium's PM to quit to run for OECD job

14th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's caretaker Prime Minister Yves Leterme on Tuesday announced a bid to run for deputy OECD chief as his language-divided country faces a record-breaking political crisis.

In a statement, Leterme said he "confirmed that the secretary general of the OECD Angel Gurria is proposing him as deputy secretary general of the organisation".

"It is up to the representatives of the OECD member states to approve the proposal next Friday", he added.

Leterme said that should he get the job at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, his resignation date "will be determined by taking into account his current responsibilities as caretaker prime minister" of Belgium.

The country has been run since April 2010 by a caretaker cabinet due to a deep split between northern Flemish Dutch-speaking separatists and southern French-speakers that has left the country without a government since June elections last year failed to produce a workable coalition.

Belgium this month hit 450 days without a government as talks resumed to end a political deadlock testing the unity of the nation.

Elio Di Rupo, head of the francophone Socialists who won a majority at the 2010 polls in southern Wallonia, is currently heading talks aimed at ending the impasse on the basis of an agreement to devolve more powers to the country's three language regions -- Dutch, French and German.

The talks involve eight parties but do not include the largest party in northern Flanders, the separatist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA).

King Albert II has said the deadlock threatens the country's economic future and risks negative repercussions on Europe as a whole.

Seen as the European capital, Belgium hosts pre-eminent global bodies, NATO and the European Union.

© 2011 AFP

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