Francophones and Yves Leterme under heavy fire

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The Belgian newspapers are blaming the Francophones and PM Leterme for the current political crisis.

16 July 2008

BELGIUM - Belgian newspapers are not mincing their words when it comes to finding a scapegoat for the present political impasse.

The leading Flemish daily Het Nieuwsblad has a headline in French: "Walloon friends, that's enough".

The Christian democrat paper says that Francophones are trying the patience of every straight-thinking person.

The highbrow De Standaard insists Francophones should have the wisdom to see the failure to meet the 15 July deadline for an agreement on new state reforms is not something that can be swept under the carpet.

The financial daily De Tijd believes the deadlock is complete if Francophones expect PM Yves Leterme's Flemish Christian democrat/nationalist alliance to take yet another new initiative.

Everybody in the North feels it is now up to the Francophones to budge.

For Gazet van Antwerpen, Belgium is cracking at the seams and King Albert is now searching for an emergency government.

The liberal Het Laatste Nieuws identifies King Albert's clear objective: putting PM Yves Leterme and his coalition government back on the rails, while the easterly daily Het Belang van Limburg says Belgium should now prepare the alternatives.

The Francophone independent Le Soir quizzes "And now, what shall we do?" on its front page, while the Francophone liberal La Dernière Heure is worried about the possible return of Leterme: "Help, he could come back" headlines the paper.

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