Belgian formation talks: King consults incumbent PM

Monday, December 3, 2007

The caretaker prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, reappeared on the political stage today as he accepted the royal request to suggest solutions to the ongoing federal government formation talks.

Recollecting his statement to the press on June 10, 2007, when he recognised his electoral loss and the victory of his opponent Yves Leterme, he told reporters today that he “hadn’t thought nor hoped to face you once more, but the King has asked me to inform him on a short term about possible strategies to deal with the political stalemate in which we have ended up over the last few months.”

Our country is experiencing one of its most severe political crises of the last decades. The elections are six months behind us you see, and the country still doesn’t have a worthy government. Meanwhile, our country’s image is being damaged en socio-economic and daily problems of the people remain unsolved.

Indeed, after 177 days, the country’s political parties have still found no compromise on the roles of the French- and Dutch-language community. Two days ago, Leterme returned to King Albert II to tender his resignation as leader of the formation talks.

The incumbent PM said he would discretely contact the leaders of all democratic parties during the next few days. He said his starting point would be dual: the country needs a considerable reform of its federal status, and there are certain urgent problems that outrange the capacities of the caretaker government dealing with the ongoing affairs.

Verhofstadt called for all involved to take responsibility, in the interest of the country and its citizens.