New Belgian PM gets backing

2011-12-10 18:19

Brussels - Belgium's parliament approved Socialist Elio Di Rupo's administration on Saturday, drawing a line under a political crisis that lasted for a year and a half.

Belgium's lower house voted 89 to 54 to approve the government, ending 18 months of political uncertainty that have earned Belgium the modern-day record for going the longest time with only a caretaker government.

The vote was largely a rubber-stamping exercise, however Di Rupo's coalition is controversial as it does not include the Flemish separatist party N-VA, which won the most seats in the election, as they could not find enough common ground with many of the other parties.

The previous government, headed by Yves Leterme, remained in charge in a caretaker capacity while Belgium's linguistically divided politicians argued over the terms of a coalition government elections in June last year.

A deal was finally reached on the budget, the last major sticking point, at the end of November, hours after ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded Belgium's credit to AA from AA+.

The budget deal cleared the way for a government to be formed just over a week later.

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