Belgium Has No Official Government, but is Getting along Just Fine
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
(graphic: Pint of Euro)
This just in: Generalíssimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and Belgium still has not formed a government.
Like the catchphrase started by Saturday Night Live in 1975 to mock the seemingly unending story of Spain’s dying dictator, Belgium continues to produce the same old story about its government, or lack thereof. Since the last general election in June 2010, the European country has had no official government because political parties have been unable to negotiate a new ruling coalition.
But the business of government has continued over the past year, with a caretaker prime minister and cabinet seeing to the day-to-day priorities. Belgium’s last head of state, Yves Leterme, has kept things running as interim prime minister, and if he’s still in this position by mid-August, he will have been a caretaker leader for longer than he was an elected one.
Belgians have maintained a good sense of humor about their nation’s non-government status, and many citizens even celebrated in February when Belgium broke the world record for longest time spent without a government by a state.
Political scientist David Sinardet says the lack of an official government could last until the next election in 2014, or even beyond that. “Let’s say we have elections in 2014 and we have some problem forming a coalition, this caretaker government could still go on after that,” Sinardet told BBC News. “As long as it commands a majority in parliament the only obstacle to it continuing would be the fear of absurdity.”
Belgium Goes a Year from Elections without Government (by Stephen Mulvey, BBC News)
Belgians Celebrate Setting No-Government Record (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Sex Strike Urged in Belgium (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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