N-VA and PS to work together after all?

Belgium's federal government formation is complicated by the clear aversion between the two main players on the Belgian political landscape: the centre right Flemish nationalists in Flanders and the left wing socialists in Francophonia.  Sunday's result means it will be hard, though not impossible to form a new federal government without both players.  The process could take quite some time and this time will be needed to allow positions to soften.

You could argue that both parties thrive on their opposition to the other. There is also a clear divide on policy. The Flemish nationalists are only prepared to enter a government with the Francophone socialists that delivers new state reforms, while such reforms are anathema to the Francophone socialists.

If the Flemish Christian democrats, liberals and greens all joined in, a coalition could be formed, but this would be one that doesn't possess a majority in Flanders.  Such a majority isn't required by law.  The Michel I government possessed no such majority in Wallonia.  But in practise a federal government that doesn't have the backing of half of all MPs in the country's biggest community does seem a little unrealistic.

For this among other reasons people seized on the words of Elio Di Rupo when he suggested a federal government could be formed without a Flemish majority.  It seemed to suggest Mr Di Rupo wanted to exclude the N-VA. In recent hours he has now been keen to clarify his words.  Mr Di Rupo now says he was asked a question and was providing a simple answer. No more no less.

"This is a storm in a glass of water" he noted.

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