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  #21  
Old 08-30-2007, 04:57 AM
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From flandersnews.be:

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King appoints Mr Van Rompuy as scout

Wed 29/08/07 - Belgium's King Albert has asked the Flemish Christian democrat Herman Van Rompuy to take soundings with a view to finding a way out of the political stalemate.



The 59-year-old Mr Van Rompuy is a seasoned politician.

Following the 10 June poll he was elected as the new Speaker of the Chamber of Representatives, the lower house of the Belgian Parliament
Read the complete article here.
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  #22  
Old 08-30-2007, 06:51 PM
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King Albert II accused of sexism

Source:
flandersnews.be - King does not consult any women
Just old-school, if you ask me [or he didn't do it on purpose].
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  #23  
Old 08-31-2007, 08:54 AM
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Good grief, they are really looking for something to critisize the King about, aren't they? I don't think any sexist ideas are behind this, it is just that he is consulting the most senior former politicians, ministers of state etc. and they all happen to be male.
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  #24  
Old 08-31-2007, 01:05 PM
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Well, there also was a long article about this issue in today’s Het Laatste Nieuws (best selling Belgian newspaper). Some female ministers of state are seriously annoyed but the same goes for some of their male colleagues, who also unsuccessfully awaited a phonecall of the palace. But the HLN article also points out that the “old-school” behaviour of the king (who employs some women in key positions btw), just reflects the general situation of women in Belgium’s political scene. Twelve persons gathered around the table to hold the coalition talks, just two of them are female. And one of them, Joelle Milquet, has been labelled as “Madame Non”, who is responsible for the failure of the talks so far. Many think a male politician claiming his position would have been treated much softer. And besides Joelle Milquet there are no women holding key positions in the bigger Belgian parties. Sadly enough this is a general problem – not only in Belgium.

But the consultation of the ministers of state was also a manoeuvre to gain time and to allow the coalition partners to calm down and to sort things out behind closed doors. The appointment of Mr van Rompuy as scout last Wednesday marks a turning point. For the first time the palace was able to spread the news before some indiscrete (and destructive) politicians could comment on it. Seems they finally realize that their indiscreetness damages the head of state and his small room for manoeuvre. In the end it are the politicians who have to find a way to work together and form a solid government, not the king – so it´s about time for them to come to senses and stop this Kindergarten way to get things done IMVHO.
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  #25  
Old 08-31-2007, 03:49 PM
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For those who can read dutch, NRC Handelsblad had an interesting story on the Belgian crisis, also about the King.

Article
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  #26  
Old 09-01-2007, 09:20 AM
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Dutch newspaper ´Teklegraaf´ has an interesting interview with Louis Tobback, mayor of Leuven. He says that although he is a republican in principle, he knows that Belgium can not exsist without a King. Who would be head of state otherwise? A Walloon, a Flemish? The Belgians need the King as much as they need bread.

He has some critisism on the Kings role, according to Tobback the King allowed himself to get used by Yves Leterme and Didier Reynders respectiveluy, after they didn´t succeed in starting their Orange/Blue coalition. The King gave the impression that he wasn´t impartial and that damaged the monarchy.
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  #27  
Old 09-03-2007, 04:24 PM
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Magazine Humo had this article about the King witgh this charming cover. The cover says ´The power of the King and ´The End of the Monarchy?´.

Humo did a commercial on the radio for this issue but it was refused by the VRT, the Flemish public station as they took some words spoken by the king and cut them in a way to make him say things that fit the commercial.
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  #28  
Old 09-04-2007, 03:54 AM
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More info in Dutch:

vrtnieuws
HLN
Het Nieuwsblad

In French:

La Derniere Heure
La Libre Belgique
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  #29  
Old 09-08-2007, 06:15 AM
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An interesting article about the state of Belgium from Expatica.com:

Quote:
Is Belgium’s end near?

In a special News Focus, we look at the current state of play in Belgian politics. Three months after elections, the country still lacks a government. Is Belgium's end near?

In a hoax that sent panic through the nation, a Belgian TV station reported last year that the Dutch-speaking half of the country had declared independence and the king and queen had fled.
Now a notion that was once a fantasy of fringe politicians is suddenly on everybody's lips: Is Belgium about to come to an end?
Almost three months after elections, Belgium has no government, efforts to form one are on hold, and unity appeals by King Albert II have been ignored, eroding the prestige of a monarchy often hailed as the glue holding this bilingual nation of 10.5 million together.
Read the entire article here.
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  #30  
Old 09-08-2007, 06:17 AM
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And in the mean time Mr van Rompuy is busy:

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Van Rompuy meets party leaders

Eighty-eight days after the elections, some parties are not very optimistic about Van Rompuy’s chances of forming a new federal government.

BRUSSELS - Herman van Rompuy, appointed by King Albert last week to explore the possibilities of breaking the deadlock in the government formation talks, extended his political consultations on Thursday. He had meetings with Open VLD chairman Bart Somers, N-VA chairman Bart De Wever and cdH chairwoman Joëlle Milquet. The annoucement was made by his spokesman Tom Monballiu.
Read the entire article of expatica here.
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  #31  
Old 09-08-2007, 06:06 PM
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Well, dear members, this is just one of those situations where the King can do nothing right. Here Belgium is a very successful country-at least seems to be to this outsider-and what are they doing, hell bent on committing suicide. Political hara-kiri. Has happened so many many times. The American Civil War is a classic example. Passion, egotism and stupidity trump common sense. And the unfortunate Albert II is caught in the middle of all of this.l
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  #32  
Old 09-11-2007, 01:08 PM
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To show the heated state of the debate:

Quote:
Flemish MPs reject independence call

11 September 2007
BRUSSELS (AFP) - The Flemish parliament on Monday rejected a far-right call to work towards independence from the rest of Belgium, amid a political crisis pitting the Dutch-speaking Flemish north and francophone south.
Read the entire expatica article here.
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  #33  
Old 09-11-2007, 01:23 PM
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Proposal for 'Ethanasia on Belgium' in the Flemish Parliament

Monday September 10th the leader of Vlaams Belang, Filip Dewinter, asked his colleagues in the Flemish Parliament "No more begging, no more entreating, but act! Make an own charter for the Flemish autonomy and ask the Flemish people about it in a referendum. You have the historic duty to make a nation of our own people and grant them their own Flemish state!"

"Because it suited Britain and France to have a new, neutral state instead of the economical powerful and rivalling Netherlands, they supported a break-up of the United Netherlands. Since then rancour is ever-present and Belgium has become a freak of nature, a state in which power is so devolved that government is an abhorred vacuum. In short, Belgium has served its purpose. An euthanasia on the country is in order."

"Belgians need not feel too sad. Countries come and go. And perhaps a way can be found to keep the king, if he is still wanted anyway. Since he has never had a country—he has always just been King of the Belgians—he will not miss Belgium."

The other parties, except for the small nationalistic and separatistic fractions, did not support the idea of a referendum on Flemish independence but could not filibuster the debate (the Vlaams Belang is too big).
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  #34  
Old 09-12-2007, 06:14 AM
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Quote:
And perhaps a way can be found to keep the king, if he is still wanted anyway
that is a rather new statement from Flemish Interest (VB), they usually pick on the King and the RF! I wonder what the way out is though, for Belgium. Personally I think the only way of survival in the long run is more centralism, but that isn;t very likely to happen. If Machiavelli would have liuved today he would most certainly use this Belgian example to show bad statecraft .
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  #35  
Old 09-13-2007, 03:42 AM
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WOW! I had no idea any of this was going on! I guess I have to start getting my royal news here at TRF. I admit I don't know anything about the European political systems/processes. It shouldn't be that difficult. Has anything been said about whether King Albert II has consulted his heir (can't think of who that is at the moment) or any other members of his family? Sometimes a differnt/younger perspective helps. Or he can just toss the whole government out and take over absolute rule until they get their act togethor!
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  #36  
Old 09-13-2007, 06:48 AM
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Well, I don´t recall if anything is said on the involvement of the crownprince, but this is certainly a job for the King himself, the crownprince is not one of his advisors.

Albert II and absolute rule, somehow I don´t picture those two together. I think Albert would prefer to get a pint somewhere and let the politicians solve it all, if he could .

Here an article from the economist about the Belgian situation:

Quote:
Time to call it a day

Sep 6th 2007
From The Economist print edition
Sometimes it is right for a country to recognise that its job is done

A RECENT glance at the Low Countries revealed that, nearly three months after its latest general election, Belgium was still without a new government. It may have acquired one by now. But, if so, will anyone notice? And, if not, will anyone mind? Even the Belgians appear indifferent. And what they think of the government they may well think of the country. If Belgium did not already exist, would anyone nowadays take the trouble to invent it?
Read the entire article here.

This weeks issue is talking about the ´Praline Divorce´, but the article isn´t online yet.
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  #37  
Old 09-17-2007, 03:20 AM
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But it could become the Crown Prince's problem, or he could encounter a similar problem during his reign. It wouldn't hurt to have a little experience in the area.

If Albert isn't keen on ruling his country, and the governmental parties aren't keen on cooperating to rule the country, maybe that article is right. Maybe Belgium should "divorce" and go their seperate ways.
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  #38  
Old 09-17-2007, 05:22 AM
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I meant that he isn't keen on absolute rule, as you suggested. I assume that the present situation does put some big pressure on him, but he will not walk away from his duty for sure.

I think this time the parties will all make amends but the problem is that these crisises are getting worse each election, so maybe in one or two decades..?
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  #39  
Old 09-17-2007, 06:09 AM
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The problem is: Belgium is in URGENT need of a state reform and this not just since yesterday. Once there is an efficient federalism (and back to centralism can´t be the answer) and a stable government, things will calm down, as there is no majority for a split (up to now). But one needs to arrive there and at the moment the willingness to compromise is very little amongst the different parties. Actually its day 99 post election, the coalition talks have not been reassumed and there seems to be zero progress.

And about CP Philippe: IMO it´s not unlikely that he follows this difficult “making of a government” behind the scenes, as attentive observer but not as active player - and this is the way it´s supposed to be.
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  #40  
Old 09-20-2007, 05:50 PM
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The mediator went to Ciergnon a few days ago to bring a report to the king:

Quote:
Mediator Royal reports to King

Mon 17/09/07 - It was in the unexpected location of Ciergnon Castle in the Ardennes region of Namur Province (Wallonia) that the Mediator Royal, Herman Van Rompuy (Flemish Christian democrat), presented his latest interim report to King Albert.

Mr Van Rompuy has been asked to facilitate efforts to form a new liberal/Christian democrat government.
Read the entire article here, on flandersnews.

And those who have lost track, also from Flandersnews an overview of the last 100 days of the formation (nothing exceptional, the longest one in Dutch history for example took 208 days):

Quote:
Belgium's political crisis lasts 100 days

Tue 18/09/07 - One hundred days after the general election Belgium still has no new Federal Government. Moreover, there is little prospect that the political crisis will be resolved soon.

Ever since the 10 June poll King Albert has been leading efforts to put a new government in place.

He has appointed a string of prominent politicians with the experience needed to unblock the deadlock, but all in vain.

Read the entire article here.
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