Belgium's government falls: palace

26th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's King Albert II on Monday accepted the resignation of prime minister Yves Leterme's government, the palace said, two months from taking up the European Union chair.

"The king has accepted the resignation of the government," said a short statement, following a failed bid to resolve a longstanding row between Dutch- and French-speaking members of its coalition.

The decision to throw in the towel came after deputy premier and finance minister Didier Reynders, asked on Saturday to try and patch up deep-deated linguistic differences, asked to be relieved of his royal mission.

Leterme offered to quit for a third time as premier on Thursday, but the king reserved his judgment in a desperate effort to bring feuding parties back into coalition following a walk-out by Flemish hardliners.

The statement from the palace said that the king had asked the government to manage "outstanding affairs", which raises the prospect of divisive snap polls in the run-up to Brussels taking over the EU role from Spain.

The alternative is for the king to try to find another compromise figure in the short term.

Leterme's government only lasted five months after predecessor Herman Van Rompuy left to take up the full-time EU presidency.

© 2010 AFP

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