Belgium's monarch rushes home amid crisis: political source

14th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Belgium's King Albert II rushed home from France on Wednesday after a surprise decision by its caretaker premier to resign amid a deadlock in talks to end the nation's longest political crisis.

A political source said the king was flying back from southern France after Prime Minister Yves Leterme announced hours earlier that he would quit to run for a job at the OECD, as talks to agree a workable coalition after 15 months without a government floundered.

Albert II was due to land in Brussels at around noon, the source said, as country's feuding politicians prepared to gather for a last-ditch bid to strike a coalition deal after 458 days without a cabinet.

Leterme said late Tuesday that the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Angel Gurria, was to propose him as his deputy at the end of the week.

Should he get the job, his resignation date "will be determined by taking into account his current responsibilities as caretaker prime minister", he added.

Belgium has been left without a government since June 10 elections last year failed to produce a governing majority.

The country has been run since April 2010 by a caretaker cabinet due to a deep split between northern Flemish Dutch-speaking separatists and southern French-speakers.

© 2011 AFP

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