breakaway trypointing update
- fresh belgium & kosovo etc analysis lifted from
Belgium: Prelude to a Breakup
December 03, 2007 16 46 GMT
The Belgian political party that won elections six
months ago has thrown in the towel and informed the
king that putting together a coalition government is
impossible. Belgium now formally moves into political
Since its deadlocked parliamentary elections six
months ago, Belgium has been in political crisis, with
the government of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
limping along in a caretaker capacity. The plurality
winners of that election -- the Christian Democrats of
Flanders, led by Yves Leterme -- have proven unable to
form a government because of disputes over how much
power to devolve to the country's two fractionalized
regions: Dutch Flanders in the North and French
Wallonia in the South. Leterme informed the country's
head of state, King Albert II, of the situation Dec.
1, and now the country is awaiting a ruling on its
Ever since the election, Europe has been abuzz as it
wonders whether -- or when -- Belgium will break apart
into two states. The Flemings and Walloons do not
exactly get along. Aside from those who work in the
capital, Brussels, which is located on the dividing
line between the two regions, only Belgian politicians
have much interaction across the ethnic divide --
something the recent elections underscored.
The next step in the process is entirely up to the
king, and the options on his plate are not exactly
palatable. The one that currently ranks highest in the
public mind is for Verhofstadt's caretaker government
to be allowed to linger on until regional elections in
2009, which could alter the balance of power in the
Belgian Senate -- and thus in Parliament as a whole.
Stratfor finds such an option odd, to say the least,
because it would essentially mean pretending that the
last elections never happened. The second and more
likely option is for the king to simply declare a hung
Parliament and call for fresh elections, with the hope
of attaining a more workable result. Finally, he could
present Parliament with a dissolution vote -- but we
find it dubious that the king is all that eager to see
his country, and his job, legislated away.
But the problem remains that the Flemings and the
Walloons simply do not like each other and are not
grouped together in a common state for any good
reason. Separation in one form or another -- while
hardly inevitable or imminent -- has moved into the
realm of possibility, and perhaps even probability.
For the Walloons and Flemings, this will not affect
matters much, regardless of whether they end up as
independent entities or rejoin with their ethnic
cousins in France and the Netherlands, respectively.
The real impact would be elsewhere in Europe.
Much has been made of the Kosovo issue, and of the
fear that Kosovar independence would trigger
independence declarations in other European separatist
regions, such as Corsica, Basqueland and Transylvania.
If that is the case for a dysfunctional
pseudo-statelet in the Balkans, just imagine the
ammunition that would be granted to European
separatists if a Western European state broke up.
also in the news today
the prospective new tricountry point locations were
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