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    Belgium begins talks on forming a new government

    After the elections, the biggest party leaders and the King have started their consultations with the other parties about forming the federal, Flemish, Walloon and Brussels Parliament.

    King Philippe has already received the presidents of Ecolo and Groen on Tuesday morning. The first day after the elections, on Monday, he talked with the party leaders of the biggest parties both in Flanders and Wallonia, N-VA’s Bart De Wever and Elio Di Rupo of the PS, respectively.

    De Wever is also starting his consultations on the formation of a new Flemish government. He will invite all Flemish parties, beginning with the smallest one and working his way to the biggest. On Tuesday afternoon, he will first receive the chairman of the smallest Flemish party, Peter Mertens from the PVDA. After that, he will see Meyrem Almaci from Groen, and John Crombez from SP.A.

    In Brussels, discussions are also starting. Groen will take the initiative to form a Brussels coalition on the Dutch-speaking side. Party leader Elke Van den Brandt will receive all parties, from largest to smallest, except for Vlaams Belang.

    In Wallonia, Elio Di Rupo’s Parti Socialiste (PS) has to take the lead to form a government in French-speaking Belgium and will start the consultations tomorrow.

    Together with Jean-Marc Nollet (Ecolo), Di Rupo argued on Monday to form a federal government without the N-VA. “I think that will be the solution in the long term,” Di Rupo said, calling on CD&V, Open VLD, Groen and SP.A to join a federal government in the Chamber without a Flemish majority.

    Especially the statements by Bart De Wever, who sees confederalism and an independent Flanders as the only way out in the long term, bother Di Rupo. “Confederalism? That is the same as the split of our country. We do not want that. We do not want to negotiate about that,” he said.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times