Belgian king to start coalition consultations
Brussels: Belgium`s King Albert was expected on Monday to start consultations on forming a new coalition government after a Flemish separatist party won the most seats in a Parliamentary Election.
Belgium wants to avoid long coalition talks because policy paralysis could make the country more vulnerable on financial markets that are closely watching a sovereign debt crisis among the 16 countries that use the euro.
Palace officials declined comment on the King`s plans but he was widely expected to start consulting Flemish- and French-speaking party leaders. At least four parties will be needed to form a coalition after Sunday`s election.
The N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) was the strongest party in the Dutch-speaking Flanders region of northern Belgium and in the whole of the linguistically-divided country.
The French-speaking Socialists (PS) emerged as the second strongest party in Belgium, winning separate voting in the southern, Francophone region of Wallonia.
Final results have not yet been confirmed but the N-VA is projected to have 27 seats in the lower house of parliament -- one more than the PS.
But together with the Flemish socialists, the PS could form the largest group in Parliament, meaning PS leader Elio Di Rupo could become the next prime minister.
Financial markets showed some concern over the result, pushing up the premium investors demand to hold Belgian 10-year bonds rather than benchmark German Bunds.
"The party that got the most votes is a separatist party and it throws into question over a long timeframe, over a few years and longer, some uncertainty as to who`s going to pay that debt back, said Peter Chatwell, strategist at Credit Agricole.
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