Belgian king tries to get government talks going again

4th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's King Albert II appointed Saturday two mediators to try to resolve the political impasse that has stymied the formation of a government for three months following snap elections.

The speakers of the lower and upper houses of parliament, francophone Socialist Andre Flahaut and Danny Pieters of the separatist New Flemish Alliance (NVA) were "charged with a mediation mission to relaunch the talks on the formation of a government," the palace said in a statement.

Francophone Socialist leader Elio Di Rupo threw in the towel on Friday in his attempts to stitch together a seven party coalition, three months after elections gave proponents of a breakaway Flanders the upper hand.

The NVA, the big winner in the snap June poll, raises the prospect of Belgium one day breaking-up into Dutch-speaking Flanders and poorer French-speaking Wallonia.

A country of 10.5 million people and 60 percent Flemish, Belgium -- which hosts the headquarters of the European Union and NATO -- already has heavily devolved regional governments, divided along linguistic lines.

© 2010 AFP

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