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Separatist loses 60 kilos but weighs on Belgium’s future

No more French fries and waffles, iconic Belgian fare, for Flemish separatist leader Bart De Wever. It’s carrots all the way now, he says in a likely best-seller on how he lost 60 kilos (more than nine stone) in a few months.

As Belgium last November clinched the dubious world record of remaining 500 days without a government — largely due to problems between the Flemish-speaking north and French-speaking south — De Wever’s 142-kilo silhouette was an eye-catcher in the daily political drama played out on screens and in newspapers.

“Now I weigh 83 kilos,” the 41-year-old father of four told the press on presenting “Bart De Wever’s Diet.”

The book recounts how the most popular politician of northern Flanders undertook a successful high-protein diet under strict medical supervision in only eight months.

In recent days, newspapers have highlighted the before and after Bart. Gone are the double chin and belly bulge, and in April he finished in honourable time a 10-kilometre (6.2 miles) run in Antwerp, the port city where he hopes to be elected mayor in elections October 14.

But De Wever said he dieted for health not politics.

“We live in a country of food-lovers where people prefer a chubby politician who loves his food. By losing weight I’ll no doubt lose votes,” he said.