Belgium's king acts to revive coalition talks
King Albert II of Belgium tasked a Flemish socialist senator on Thursday with bringing about "conciliation" between feuding political parties four months on from deeply divisive elections.
Johan Vande Lanotte was given a "primary objective" of "recreating confidence" in broken-down dialogue between French-speaking parties from Wallonia, where Socialists polled the most votes, and breakaway-minded Flemish hardliners, a palace statement said.
Lanotte, 55, takes the baton four days after seven-party negotiations hit a new roadblock when a plan proposed by Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever, whose party triumphed in the vote in the Dutch-speaking federal state, was rejected by French-speaking parties.
The king has already had to name a string of negotiators and mediators to keep on-and-off talks alive.
The failure to bridge differences has raised the possibility that the kingdom could split up, with Flanders, Wallonia and even a tiny German-speaking community each going separate ways.
© 2010 AFP