AFP, April 27, 2010
Flemish nationalist party Vlaams Belang on Tuesday called for the “dissolution” of Belgium, as King Albert II sought to patch up a breakdown between Flemish and French-speaking coalition partners.
“The profound political crisis Belgium has run into clearly proves the Belgian model is a complete failure,” said a statement from Filip Dewinter, chairman of the far-right Vlaams Belang in the Flemish parliament.
“The disease is Belgium and the only remedy is Flemish independence,” he added, saying his party had introduced a bill in the Flemish legislature–one of three in the federal kingdom of Belgium–to prepare negotiations for Flanders to become “the successor state” to Belgium.
He said Flanders, the larger and more prosperous Dutch-speaking partner in a country constructed by European superpowers in 1830, would “remain a partner” in the European Union and the NATO military alliance.
Militants from the party created a stir in the Belgian federal parliament on Thursday when the long-running political crisis first hit a new peak after King Albert accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Yves Leterme.
They sang the Flemish regional anthem in the assembly, wearing badges with “Split Belgium” written on them.
Belgium’s government collapsed last week when a coalition party pulled out in protest at the slow pace of negotiations on devolving more federal powers to the Dutch- and French-speaking regions, which have long been at odds.
Opinion polls show that most people from the relatively prosperous Flanders region do not want to break away from poorer Wallonia. Belgium’s third region is the officially bilingual Brussels capital area.