Friday, September 21, 2007

100 days without a government

Yesterday marked 100 days since the last election in Belgium -- and incredibly a government still hasn't been formed there. The hang up is that the guy with the largest block of seats -- about 20% -- is from Dutch speaking Flanders and not one single party from French speaking Wallonia wants to talk deal. Even the normally neutral King of Belgium has had a heck of a time trying to sort out the crisis.

Is Belgium about to break up? I doubt it, not for quite some time yet. But what would happen if French speaking pockets in the north wanted to secede and join Wallonia; whilst Dutch speaking areas in the south wanted to join up with Flanders?

Possibly a checkerboard country with checkerboard towns. I referred previously (here) to one such town -- Baarle -- which Netherlands and Belgium shares in a rather bizarre arrangement. Admittedly people in both sectors speak Dutch but the map is truly scary. (A map of the town as well as how it got that way can be found here.)

Many might say, so what, it's not like the split between Slovakia and the Czech Republic was bloody. True, it wasn't; but it wasn't exactly completely a clean break-up either. If Belgium does break up it could be a dry run for Canada. And if Québec could seceded from Canada, then parts of Québec just might rejoin Canada -- producing not just one but several Baarles.

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