Wanted: Prime minister for Belgium.

You probably heard the saga about Belgian politics in the past two years.

After the elections in June 2007, it took them nine months to form a government, during which press rumours circulated about the imminent break up of Belgium.

Now again, we are government-less: The prime minister was accused of unlawfully meddling in the Fortis/BNP-Paribas take-over.

I read several articles about it in the newspapers. I still don't understand fully... Seems like a typical Belgian tragicomedy:

In October, Prime Minister Leterme tried to save Fortis, one of the most prominent Belgian banks and 49% government owned, by agreeing to sell them to France's BNP Paribas. The insurance arm of Fortis, however, still belongs to the publicly traded Fortis NV, and minority shareholders filed a court challenge against the sale.

When Leterme's cabinet discovered it was likely to lose the case, cabinet members tried to persuade one judge, via her husband (who is related to Leterme's political party), to reverse the decision. The court investigated the case and found unduly political meddling in private businesses and into the juridicial system, a bit no-no.
Leterme took the blame, the government fell, the King say "What, where?" and everyone goes: "Next please!" (Full)

But then again, we are never without a governing bodies. Besides the King, all of his lawful and unlawful sons and daughters (with a varying degree of debilism) and the federal prime minister, we also have 5 "minister-presidents"... No, I kid you not!
* The Minister-President of the Flemish Community
* The Minister-President of French Community
* The Minister-President of Walloon Regional Government
* The Minister-President of the Brussels region
* The Minister-President of German Community

Most people driving from Holland to France, drive through Belgium in one and a half hour. Unless if you are watchful, you miss it. But.. we got six governments. Plus provincial governors too. ;-)

Picture courtesy Fran├žois de Dardel (and Herge)


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