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Leterme: “Not in favour of one-sided vote”

The Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Christian democrat) has said that he is not in favour of a one-sided vote about the splitting of the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde constituency. Flemish lawmakers are in favour of splitting, but Francophones are against. A one-sided vote could unseat Mr Leterme.

The Prime Minister added that he had no intention of meddling in the parliamentary process. The matter is expected to come before lawmakers on 8 May.

Mr Leterme was speaking after a meeting of the Inner Cabinet at which he set out a timetable for a second instalment of state reforms.

The contentious issue of the splitting of the bilingual Brussels Halle Vilvoorde constituency, BHV for short, came to the fore in recent days after Francophone parties made it clear they would not pursue any more delaying tactics.

The necessary legislation has passed the committee stage and is now headed for a plenary session of the Chamber of Representatives.

Make or break for Leterme?

A vote without an agreement among government parties could sound the death knell for Mr Leterme’s young administration.

On Tuesday government parties decided to delay any vote until 8 May, but not everybody is happy with this.

The Flemish liberal Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Patrick Dewael called for a vote on the splitting of the BHV constituency to be postponed until 15 July.

Mr Dewael said that this would give government parties an opportunity to reach an agreement on broader state reforms.

Mr Leterme’s nationalist allies of N-VA will not hear of any postponement, while the Francophone liberal Finance Minister Didier Reynders has welcomed the proposal.

[flandersenews.be / Expatica]