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Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 16:06 UK

Belgian PM resignation: Readers react

Yves Leterme
Yves Leterme had only been in office since March
Belgium has been plunged into a fresh political crisis, following the resignation of the country's Prime Minister Yves Leterme on Monday.

Mr Leterme tendered his resignation after failing to get agreement on political reforms among his broad alliance.

As Belgium's King Albert II holds emergency discussions with lawmakers on the next steps, we asked readers in the country to react to the political crisis.

BELIEVE RESIGNATION MAY LEAD TO THE END OF A 'FEDERAL' BELGIUM

This is the first step towards a confederal state like in Switzerland, with more powers granted to the regions. This is the only way in which Belgium can survive, because if the Walloons keep on rejecting such devolution of powers the only remaining option is to split into two - which even the Flemish don't really want.
Mathias Vermeulen, Ghent

This is the climax of a series of problems, which developed over the years. The gap between the north and south has become very deep. A new confederal model will probably emerge out of this. It would be the best solution for both parties in my opinion.
Jan Tytgat, Ghent, Flanders

It might be time to cave in and wonder if we still have a future as a state
Peter Claes, Halle
It might be time to cave in and wonder if we still have a future as a state. It's a fact that history always repeats itself but it's so strange to be part of it, not to be able to change it and realise that for 25 years we have in this country had a situation where one community blames the other for everything. If we have new elections, it may be time to change my nationality.
Peter Claes, Halle

Due to the continuous political crisis, people are losing faith in the federal model. The end of this model will mean the end of Belgium, there is no in between. Flemish nationalist parties like Vlaams Belang and Lijst De Decker are getting stronger and this crisis may give them so much influence that a new government cannot be formed. That is also the reason why King Albert II is looking for a new PM. If this fails and new elections are necessary, this will be the end of Belgium.
Andries Koen, Antwerp

I don't know if my country still has a future. In my opinion this might be the start of a new Belgium based on confederalism and the end of the old Belgium. It has become painfully obvious that the current structure has become ineffective to say the least. The Flemish want vast reforms to be able to cope better with problems like an ageing population, healthcare, and spending power, while the Walloons want no significant reforms and are opposed to confederalism.

They want to hang onto what they've got now, because due to the Belgian solidarity policy, we, the wealthier Flemish, support the less well-off Walloons. Belgium is now perceived as a fake country, which it isn't, but politicians need to find a way to accommodate Belgium to the needs of the 21st century, a bit like what Switzerland has become.
Xavier, Ostend

The only possible future for Belgium is this: a decentralised country, with the two independent states of Flanders and Wallonia, and a European district called Brussels. There is no interaction between the two Belgian regions. No side knows anything about the other anymore. And apparently, one cannot respect what one doesn't know. This is one of the main problems of the current political class. They do not know the people on the other side of the table.
Chris Hermans, Kuringen

OPPOSED TO ANY SPLIT IN THE COUNTRY

Like many other Belgians, I do not believe this crisis will mean the end of our country. It is clear, however, that the current situation regarding the country's institutions is making it increasingly difficult to find a consensus between the north and the south. I believe this resignation might be an eye opener for everybody to see that a thorough reform of the state is necessary and inevitable, but a split would be unrealistic - too costly and nobody knows what to do with Brussels.
Steven Daenens, Ghent

If Belgium is split it will not benefit anyone
Alex Borysov, Waterloo
It's ridiculous that Belgium cannot maintain a stable government. The worst-case scenario now is that the country will be divided but, as the country at the heart of Europe, that would cause everything to crash and burn. Someone needs to back off for the good of everyone else. If Belgium is split it will not benefit anyone. The country needs order and reform, something that seems to be out of reach right now. Taking out the last PM, Guy Verhofstadt, may have started the ball rolling. This mess can only be solved with a compromise, but unfortunately, there is no clear solution.
Alex Borysov, Waterloo, Belgium

I was born and bred in Brussels and have been living in Wallonia for about 25 years now. I'm working with people from the three regions of the country. Between us, there isn't the slightest problem. We get on very well together and try to speak each other's language. I love my country. If Belgium were to disappear, I'd lose part of my identity. I also think splitting up would send a very negative signal to the rest of the world. The Flemish and the Walloons are different, but I'm sure we can find ways of living together. There are many places in the world where various communities have to live together in peace. Let's show them this is possible!
Brigitte, Ottignies

UNSURE OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT

It's really impossible to say what will happen now. When you watch the news and read the papers no one seems to be able to give a plausible answer or to reassure the public as to what will be the next step. This situation is definitely unprecedented. Sometimes we wonder what it is that keeps us - Flemish people and Walloons - together. The divide between the two regions becomes more and more tangible every day.
Caroline De Schrijver, Heverlee

It's time for this farce to end
Luc, Leuven
This is just the latest in a long series of poor governance or no governance stories in Belgium. The tragedy is that as long as incompetent politicians are wasting their time on discussing their differing points of view on the structure of the country, they are failing to address every issue that requires action to improve the country. When will it ever end?
David Crosier, Brussels

I think no one knows here what will follow now and I think most people have lost their faith in the politicians. A problem in this country is that politicians are not elected nationally but by region. Dutch voters can only vote for Dutch politicians and French voters can only vote for French politicians. The result is that the national politicians do not represent the needs of the country but of the region in which they were elected. The interests of the regions conflict with each other. As a result, people in the Walloon and Flemish regions become more radical and the crisis grows deeper every day.
Toon, Dendermonde

It's time for this farce to end. Reforms are really necessary for the future - our population is getting older with additional costs. The Flemish politicians wanted to prepare the country for the future. This would hurt but it would keep our social system (health insurance, retirement funds) more or less healthy. The Flemish have the idea those reforms can only happen if the regions get more responsibility. The south rejects all. If this continues, this country will go to hell, simply for financial reasons.
Luc, Leuven




SEE ALSO
New Belgian PM faces rocky road
20 Mar 08 |  Europe


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