Emergency government is an option

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Parties accept the idea of forming an emergency government to be able to deal with the most urgent issues at hand

10 December 2007 - The Flemish Christian democrat (CD&V) and liberal (Open VLD) parties accept the idea of forming an emergency government to be able to deal with the most urgent issues at hand. This possibility was discussed during the VRT current affairs TV show 'De zevende dag'.

Would-be Prime Minister Yves Leterme's plan was to form a government with the Flemish and Francophone Christian democrats and liberals. (VRT) However, in light of the failure to reach agreement over key issues of devolving more powers to the regions, Mr. Leterme (photo) has said it was time to seek a broader coalition.

The Flemish Christian democrats had earlier rejected the idea of setting up an emergency cabinet with a limited social economic programme.

But now Mr. Leterme is prepared to entertain the idea, as are his negotiating partners.

There is however lack of agreement on who should lead the negotiations for the emergency government and which parties should actually be included. (Belga) Outgoing Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (Open VLD, photo) was asked by King Albert the beginning of the month to seek a swift way out of the government crisis.

This led to some speculation that Mr. Verhofstadt might form an emergency government which would exclude Mr. Leterme and his party, and especially CD&V coalition partner Flemish Nationalist Alliance (N-VA).

Mr. Leterme is widely recognised as the winner of June's elections.

Despite the inability to form a Belgian government, Mr. Leterme insists that his party must be part of any future coalition. He also retains the ambition of becoming Prime Minister. Guy Verhofstadt more popular (Belga) According to a recent opinion poll, the incumbent Federal Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (whose party suffered considerable losses during the last elections) is actually the most popular choice to lead the next Federal Government among the voters of ALL the parties, except Yves Leterme's Christian democrat - Flemish Nationalist alliance. The self-rule dispute has bedevilled efforts by Christian Democrat and Liberal parties from Belgium's Dutch- and French-speaking communities to form a government since they won a majority in June 10 elections.

Francophone parties fear the Flemish demand for greater regional powers -- notably over taxation and social security -- will undermine national unity and threaten a break-up of Belgium. Vast majority against a break-upThe vast majority of voters of all parties don't want Belgium to split. 94% of liberal voters, 87% of Christian democrat - Flemish nationalist voters, 98% of socialists and 90% of greens are against partition.

The most separatist voters are those that support the far-right Vlaams Belang and the right-leaning liberal Lijst Dedecker slate.

However, around four out of five of them want Belgium to stay together.  Support for Belgian unity has grown since the last poll was taken in November. The delay in forming a government is a record, even by the tortuous standards of Belgium.

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