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Belgium

Yearbook 2008

2008 BelgiumBelgium. At the beginning of the year, talks on government formation resumed after the June 2007 elections, which led to a political deadlock. Finally, the parties agreed on minor constitutional changes, which on certain issues increased the influence of the regions at the expense of the federal government. On March 20, nine months after the election, five parties could form government. The coalition included the new Prime Minister Yves Letermes Flemish Christian Democrats CD&V, the outgoing Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt's Flemish Liberal VLD and three French-speaking parties: the Socialist Party PS, Liberal MR and the Middle Party CDH.

2008 Belgium

However, the disputes that delayed the formation of government were no more than temporarily resolved. The Flemish parties' demands for even more self-government for the regions remained, and the French-speaking parties in Wallonia continued to reject the demands. Leterme promised a proposal for continued constitutional reforms in July, and when no such thing existed within the appointed time, he asked for his resignation. But King Albert rejected his resignation, and the government remained despite a kind of constant political crisis.

According to Countryaah reports, the financial group Fortis, the largest bank in Belgium, was an early victim when the global financial crisis began to shine in September. The bank was subdivided according to national borders into a Dutch, a Belgian and a Luxembourg part. The Dutch part was completely nationalized, while the other parts were sold to the French major bank BNP Parisbas for almost EUR 15 billion. But the deal was questioned by shareholders in Belgium, and sales grew to a scandal when the Supreme Court in December ruled that politicians had tried to influence the legal process that was initiated. The result was that the government fell. Just before the turn of the year, the five coalition parties succeeded in forming a new government, now with CD&V's Herman Van Rompuy as prime minister.

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