BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 12:09 GMT
Belgium gets emergency government
Guy Verhofstadt, Belgian caretaker Prime Minister
Mr Verhofstadt lost elections in June but stayed on as caretaker
Rival parties representing Belgium's Dutch and French-speaking populations have formed an emergency government, ending six month of deadlock.

The government of caretaker Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt will stay in office for no more than three months.

It is then set to hand over power to Christian Democrats and Liberals - the winners of elections in June.

The two parties have so far failed to reach a deal, prompting fears Belgium could split along linguistic lines.

The Liberals and Christian Democrats won 81 of the 150 seats in June's elections.

But their efforts to form a government have floundered in a dispute over greater regional autonomy - broadly favoured by the Dutch-speaking Flanders region but opposed by the French-speaking south.

Economic cost

Belgium's King Albert II earlier this week asked Mr Verhofstadt to form an interim government.

"The prime minister has unblocked the situation," a spokesman for Mr Verhofstadt said of the decision by the Christian Democratic party to join an interim government.

The interim government now faces a parliamentary vote of confidence on Sunday. Assuming it passes the vote, it will remain in office until no later than 23 March next year.

On Saturday, thousands of trade unionists took to the streets in Brussels, complaining about the political stalemate and rising food and fuel prices.

Last week, the European Commission warned that the political paralysis was beginning to affect Belgium's economy.

Nation or state?
07 Dec 07 |  Magazine
Country profile: Belgium
18 Sep 07 |  Country profiles
Viewpoints: Belgian crisis
17 Sep 07 |  Europe


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific