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Belgian crisis drags on as Flemish parties reject latest compromise

Other News Materials 6 January 2011 14:57
Belgium's longest-ever political crisis looked set to continue on Thursday, as two Dutch-speaking parties rejected compromise proposals by a royally-appointed mediator that were meant to pave the way for government formation.

Belgium's longest-ever political crisis looked set to continue on Thursday, as two Dutch-speaking parties rejected compromise proposals by a royally-appointed mediator that were meant to pave the way for government formation, DPA reported.

Belgian politicians are arguing over the set up of their federal state, with representatives of richer, Dutch-speaking Flanders demanding more autonomy, in order to minimize subsidies to poorer, French-speaking Wallonia.

Late on Wednesday, the N-VA, a Flemish nationalist party arguing for a gradual dissolution of Belgium, and the more mainstream CD&V, said the solutions put forward by Johan Vande Lanotte, a veteran Flemish politician chosen by King Albert II to break the political deadlock, did not go far enough.

"The N-VA has some fundamental questions on the note by the conciliator," the party's leader Bart De Wever was quoted as saying by Belgian media.

"The conciliator has to amend his note before restarting negotiations," said the CD&V's leader Wouter Beke.

All other five parties involved in coalition talks - French- speaking Socialists, Greens and centrists, as well as Dutch-speaking Socialists and Greens - said they were happy with what was on the table.

Vande Lanotte is expected to consult later Thursday with the king on a possible way out of the stalemate, which has left Belgium without an elected government for a record 207 days.

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