Belgium PM submits resignation after constitutional reforms failure

[JURIST] Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme [personal website, in Dutch] submitted his resignation [press release, in Dutch] Monday night because of his coalition government's inability to successfully divide federal powers between the Flemish- and French-speaking communities. Leterme had set a deadline of July 15 for the four-month-old coalition [founding text, PDF, in Dutch] to agree on constitutional reforms to grant increased autonomy to the two regions. Leterme said that the current federation system of Dutch government [official backgrounder] was incapable of solving the problem, since the wealthier Flemish region wanted even greater autonomy and the Francophone region maintained that the Flemish move was meant to completely separate itself from the rest of the country. Belgium's King Albert II has reportedly rejected the resignation [Deutsche Welle report]. AP has more. Bloomberg has additional coverage.

Dutch nationalist groups have pushed for the prosperous Dutch-speaking region of Flanders [government website, in English] to become more autonomous, which has led to accusations that the province is seeking to break away from the poorer French-speaking province of Wallonia [government website, in French]. Last year, the country faced a constitutional voting-rights disagreement [Reuters report] over similar issues of linguistic regional autonomy after June elections failed to produce a cohesive government. Talks to form a coalition government lasted more than six months, leading to concerns that the regions would separate into different countries.



 

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