Belgium: What's another year without government?
22 April 2011
Since 22 April 2010 and the resignation of Prime Minister Yves Leterme, Belgium has been ruled by a caretaker government, while the French and Flemish parties have been unable to reach agreement on power sharing between the two communities. The Belgian press has responded with exasperation to the anniversary of the ongoing political crisis. “A year without a government, and a newspaper without politicians,” headlines De Morgen. The newspaper’s editorial explains: “Political reporting has always been one of the mainstays of this newspaper, but in the wake of 12 months of stagnation, we are deliberately publishing a newspaper that does not give the politicians an opportunity to express their views." It continues, "It is not a matter of denigrating the importance of politics, but because there has enough fumbling over the last 12 months, and now it’s time to act.”
Only one of the country’s dailies devotes its front page to the shabby anniversary. “Nonetheless it still works,” announces Le Soir. However, the French daily regrets that “a new more efficient, structured and pacified Belgium has not been born out of this chaos. In acknowledging that this is not the case today, we feel scornful, disappointed and even disgusted." De Standaard, which contents itself with an editorial on the issue, remarks “we have missed out on 365 days of politics.” The Flemish daily goes on to point out that “the belief that this political Twilight Zone can continue indefinitely is a dangerous illusion."