vrijdag, december 21, 2007

België in de internationale pers

Belgium: Loser to Lead Interim Government

After a meeting with King Albert II, Guy Verhofstadt, left, the liberal ousted by voters in June, accepted the job of forming and leading an interim government because of the ”gravity of the situation in which our country finds itself.”

But he said he did not want to remain in power beyond March. Mr. Verhofstadt, who had been prime minister since 1999, conceded defeat after the June election but has stayed on because the conservatives who won proved unable to form a coalition. But he has lacked power to act on major issues, and on Saturday thousands of union members marched through Brussels to protest the half-year political impasse and rising fuel and food prices. At the heart of the deadlock are disputes among parties from Dutch-speaking Flanders and the French-speaking area, Wallonia.

Those tensions engulfed even the country’s annual beauty pageant on Saturday, when the new Miss Belgium, Alizée Poulicek, a blond 20-year-old from the French-speaking part of the country, was booed when she disclosed that she could not speak Dutch. The contest was held in Antwerp, a stronghold of Flemish nationalism, before an audience of 3,500. Ms. Poulicek, who besides French speaks English and Czech, told the Flemish television broadcaster VRT that she would try to learn more Dutch.

bron: NY Times
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