Di Rupo Nearer to Taking Charge

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Di Rupo, who cuts quite a dash and habitually wears smart red bow ties, received a further extension to talks from King Albert II in order to form a new coalition government.  The potential new premier could not name a precise date for its formation, but said he hoped a decision could be reached “within a reasonable period of time”.

“For 40 days I have tried to reconcile the irreconcilable,” the leader of the francophone Socialist Party said at a press conference held in Brussels.

The Royal Palace said that Albert II met with the relevant party leaders involved in the potential coalition on Thursday and Friday, while Di Rupo would continue negotiations over the weekend.

Belgium’s last, five-party, coalition government fell after a key Flemish party walked out in frustration over an ongoing regarding languages issues on the Halle, Vilvoorde, Brussels region, forcing an early general election to be held.

Should Di Rupo succeed in forming a government it would be a first for a francophone since Paul Vanden Boeynants, a Christian Democrat who was prime minister for six months from late 1978 to spring of the next year.