What happened? Belgium, a Federal country, elected his representatives to start a new goverment in June 2007. However, no parties got a clear majority and the government was a coalition of different parties. It took them 192 days to finally agree on … nothing! The team leader, Yves Leterme, had not manage to unite the Flemish and the Walloon communities, which were bitterly fighting over linguistic issues in the Brussels suburban towns.
A new leader, Guy Verhofstadt, was appointed by King Albert II in December 2007 for three months, to try to find common grounds among the politicians who have entered the new team of this ‘interim or emergency government’.
Is the problem over? Guy Verhofstadt was the Belgian prime minister for the last 8 years and we hope his expereince will help him solve the two main agenda issues. The first task is to deal with the 2008 federal budget. Its second task is to pave the way for the next government which should be formed by the end of March 2008, and help negotiating about the state reform between the different communities and the different parties.
Who is in the Interim government? The government is composed of the liberals and Christian Democrats at the Flemish side, and the liberals, Christian Democrats and socialist party at the Francophone side. These five parties together have more than two thirds of the parliamentary seats, and therefore have the qualified majority which is required for the state reform which the Flemish parties are asking.
And now what? We can only wait for the end of March 2008, for the interim government to unfold a workable plan to implement the necessary reform which requires a constitutional change. The politicians will have to cope with Belgium’s vital issues that have , up to now, created a linguistic and social-economic divide.