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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 August 2007, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Political deadlock grips Belgium
Yves Leterme
Francophone leaders are wary of Yves Leterme
The man tasked with forming a new Belgian coalition government, Yves Leterme, is struggling to clinch a deal more than two months after elections.

Mr Leterme, leader of the Flemish Christian Democrats, has not yet come up with a plan acceptable to divided Dutch- and French-speaking politicians.

On Friday Belgium's King Albert II suspended formal negotiations, opting for private political consultations.

Mr Leterme wants greater self-rule for the Dutch-speaking Flanders region.

French-speaking politicians in Wallonia have rejected the Flemish leaders' demands to devolve more powers from the federal level to the regions.

Mr Leterme's party made big gains in the 10 June election, ending its eight years in opposition. It won 30 seats in the 150-seat lower house.

About 60% of Belgium's 10.5 million citizens live in Flanders.

No single party bridges the linguistic and geographic gulf between Belgium's two regions.

Traditionally, the prime minister comes from one of the majority Flemish parties.

Country profile: Belgium
18 Jul 07 |  Country profiles

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