Correspondent's Choice

This story about coalition talks in Belgium was published by EurActiv on 9th July 2010.

King Albert II has appointed the leader of the French-speaking socialist party, Elio Di Rupo, to lead talks on forming a new government in Belgium after his Dutch-speaking rival Bart De Wever ended an exploratory mission yesterday (8 July).

De Wever, the Flemish nationalist who emerged as the big winner from Belgium’s parliamentary elections last month, ended a mission yesterday on exploring options for a new government.

The end of De Wever’s mission paved the way for the king to appoint Di Rupo as prime-minister-in-waiting, with the task of forming a coalition in the next few months.

But the king instead entrusted Di Rupo with “a mission of pre-formation”, a new concept which stops short of handing the socialist leader the prime minister’s job.

Indeed, it is not yet clear which parties will eventually enter the government, as divisions are still rife between French- and Dutch-speaking parties over the content of the coalition agreement.

There are “convergences between the parties’ positions, but not enough to form a government yet,” De Wever told Dutch-language broadcaster VRT after meeting the king on Thursday.

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