Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finally, Belgium has a Government

After a record breaking 541 days, Belgium has a government.

In June 2010, the Belgian election returned an unworkable parliament, with the Flemish Alliance, a Flemish secessionist party winning a plurality of 27 seats out of 150. However, despite this they could not form a government as they were unwilling to work with the Walloon parties.

The francophone Socialist Party (PS) of Elio Di Rupo led the polls in Walloon, winning 26 seats. The PS had an advantage over the New Flemish Alliance as there were comparable Flemish parties with whom he can work, including the Socialist Party-Differently (PS-A), which won 13 seats. After lengthy negotiations and various propositions, finally it was Di Rupo who collected enough socialist and liberal parties to form a government.

The long time it took to form a government underscores the difference between the Walloon and Flemish people in Belgium. None of the major parties has a countrywide support. They are either Flemish or Walloon. After nearly two centuries of post-independence divisions, Belgians are still struggling to reconcile between the two main communities.

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