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Flemish separatists reject offer to end Belgium crisis

Belgium’s largest party, the Flemish separatist N-VA, on Thursday rejected a make-or-break offer to end the language-divided country’s more than year-long crisis.

The N-VA rejected out of hand a political reform platform outlined by Socialist leader Elio Di Rupo that was offered as a basis to set up a governing coalition after almost 13 months without a government.

“With the best will in the world I do not believe negotiations on the basis of this note can lead to success,” said N-VA leader Bart De Wever, referring to Di Rupo’s plan.

Speaking at a news conference, De Wever sharply criticised the platform’s economic targets while blasting it for failing to devolve enough power to the country’s three language-based regions — Dutch-speaking Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia and a small German-speaking region.

The linguistically split nation at the heart of Europe has been run by a caretaker government since June 13, 2010 elections failed to produce a workable coalition.

Di Rupo, whose Socialists are the country’s second party and the biggest movement in Wallonia, was asked in May by King Albert II to form a government.

His platform, released on Monday as a basis for a new coalition, was seen as a make-or-break bid to end the political impasse.