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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2007, 17:57 GMT
Belgian MPs support crisis leader
Belgian interim Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt. File photo
Mr Verhofstadt's team has a backlog of important business
Belgium's parliament has backed a new interim government appointed to end the country's six-month political crisis.

Belgium's caretaker Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt, won a vote of confidence on Sunday by 97 votes to 46.

King Albert appointed him last Thursday for a three-month term. Coalition talks had failed to reconcile party leaders.

Belgium's Dutch-speaking Flemish majority and the French-speaking Walloons remain deeply divided over questions of regional autonomy.

Mr Verhofstadt, a Dutch-speaking Liberal, has pledged to spend the next three months drafting a new budget, tackling rising prices and preparing reforms to devolve more power to the regions.

In March his five-party cabinet will hand power to Yves Leterme's Flemish Christian Democrats - the winners of the 10 June elections.

Mr Leterme remains determined to fulfil his election pledge to devolve more power to the regions. Walloon politicians especially dislike Flemish plans to loosen federal control over taxation and social security.

Mr Leterme is deputy prime minister and minister for the budget, transport and institutional reform in the 14-member interim government, which includes politicians from the French-speaking community.

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


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