Belgian Parties Clear Hurdle Toward Forming Government

Posted September 15th, 2011 at 6:35 am (UTC-5)
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Belgium's Dutch- and French-speaking parties say they have reached an agreement on a key issue toward forming a new government 15 months after the election.

The eight parties said Thursday they have a deal on splitting up an electoral district in the bilingual Brussels area.

They released a joint statement that talks on economic and social policy will resume later Thursday.

Belgium has been without a government since June 10, 2010, as leaders of the country's deeply divided French- and Dutch-speaking communities have been unable to form a coalition government.

On Wednesday, chief negotiator Elio Di Rupo had warned the talks had stalled.

The leader of the caretaker government, Yves Leterme, said Wednesday he plans to step down at the end of the year for a job at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Belgium is coming under international pressure to resolve the prolonged political deadlock or risk facing a negative economic backlash.