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  Belgium secures government after record deadlock
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Last EditedIndyGeorgia  Dec 05, 2011 05:22pm
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AuthorPhilip Blenkinsop
MediaWebsite - Yahoo News
News DateMonday, December 5, 2011 11:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium finally secured a government on Monday after record-long talks to form a coalition that promises the most profound state reform in decades and a commitment to restore the country's finances.

The new six-party coalition has a mammoth 180-page deal to enact having already lost a year and a half of a four-year term.

The government must satisfy demands of the Dutch-speaking Flemish majority for devolution of further powers to Belgium's regions, and may have to redraw a budget that economists say is based on too optimistic a growth forecast.

That will be no easy matter. Budget talks themselves dragged on for six weeks and only concluded at the end of an 18-hour session after Standard & Poor's had cut Belgium's credit rating to AA from AA+.

The new government will be headed by French-speaking Socialist leader Elio Di Rupo. It retained many of the ministers from the caretaker government of acting prime minister Yves Leterme, albeit in different roles.

Flemish Christian Democrat Steven Vanackere becomes finance minister and francophone Liberal Didier Reynders foreign minister, a straight job switch. The cabinet will be sworn in on Tuesday afternoon, the palace said.
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