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Europe

Belgium faces likelihood of new elections as political crisis deepens

Belgium edges closer to fresh elections as the latest attempt to form a coalition government failed on Monday. The country is deeply divided between its Flemish and French-speaking populations.

Atomium, Brussels

Brussels could well be in for yet another round of snap elections

The political crisis in Belgium looks set to deepen as the country's French speaking political parties have rejected a coalition proposal from the Flemish separatist N-VA party, which had emerged as the strongest party in parliamentary elections in June.

" Fabula acta est (the play is over)," N-VA leader Bart De Wever said in Latin in a reaction to the francophone side's rejection of his draft proposal.

On Sunday, De Wever's party presented a compromise proposal to form a seven-party coalition. The three French speaking parties, however, declared the document unacceptable.

Under the N-VA plans, regions would have been able to determine their own labor market policy as well as have more say over the judicial system and taxation.

Francophone side 'deeply disappointed'

Belgian King Albert II

King Albert II is expected to call new elections

The main francophone party, the Socialists, said in a statement they were "deeply disappointed" by the proposal, adding that it did not bridge the differences between the two sides but would deepen the rift dividing the country and political landscape.

The political deadlock is the result of the Flemish-speaking parties asking for more autonomy for the country's northern region of Flanders.

French-speaking Wallonia, in the south of the country, is opposed to any more devolution, fearing that it could lead to the break-up of the linguistically divided country.

New elections?

The N-VA's proposal had been described as probably the last chance at finding a way out of the country's protracted political crisis.

King Albert II had set Monday as a deadline for the parties to bridge their rift and finally form a government after more than four months of political stalemate. Currently, Belgium is run by a caretaker administration.

Belgian media have been speculating that the latest failure to form a government was likely to prompt the king to consider fresh elections.

Author: Andreas Illmer (Reuters/AFP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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