Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Gaza conflict rages on despite pledges of truce

    Read more

  • France calls on its nationals to leave Libya as violence escalates

    Read more

  • Boko Haram kidnap Cameroon minister's wife in deadly attack

    Read more

  • Nibali joins elite group with Tour de France win

    Read more

  • Netanyahu says Hamas 'violating its own ceasefire'

    Read more

  • Muslims prepare for Eid al-Fitr festival

    Read more

  • ‘Irresponsible’ American dad tries to scale Mont Blanc with children

    Read more

  • Ukraine fighting prevents observers from accessing MH17 crash site

    Read more

  • In pictures: Crowds flock to enjoy the Tour de France show

    Read more

  • Video: At the scene of the Air Algérie crash in Mali

    Read more

  • Costa Concordia arrives in port of Genoa to be scrapped

    Read more

  • In pictures: Youths clash with police at banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Russia lashes out at new EU sanctions over Ukraine

    Read more

  • Bodies of all Air Algérie crash victims to be brought to France

    Read more

  • Syrian army and ISIS both claim advances

    Read more

  • Briton kidnapped in Yemen freed after five months

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Germany's Tony Martin wins 20th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • New round of Gaza ceasefire talks takes place in Paris

    Read more

Europe

Leterme becomes PM for second time

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-11-25

Less than a year after he stepped down amid a banking scandal, Yves Leterme became Belgium's prime minister for the second time on Wednesday.

AFP - Less than a year after he stepped down amid a banking scandal, Yves Leterme became Belgium's prime minister for the second time on Wednesday.
  
Leterme, a Flemish Christian Democrat who is currently foreign minister, was named by King Albert II after the sudden departure of Herman Van Rompuy last week to become the first European Union president.
  
The 49-year-old Leterme has already failed twice to resolve power-sharing rivalry between Belgium's rival French and Flemish communities. He is also known for verbal gaffes such as calling his country "an accident of history".
  
Another former prime minister Wilfried Martens was tasked last week by the king to organise "a quick and efficient transition" after Van Rompuy's departure and Leterne had been widely tipped to take over by Belgian media.
  
Leterme's party won the last general election in June 2007 but he failed to form a coalition government until the following year.
  
Leterme was forced out last December after it was alleged his aides had sought to influence a court ruling over the sale of Fortis bank after the financial crisis last year. He was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing however and was politically rehabilitated in July when he was named foreign minister.
  
"It's now his second chance. He has all the elements to prove he will be a good prime minister. I hope so for him and for Belgium," Van Rompuy said Tuesday.
  
"I think he's ripened," Martens said.
  
According to Belgian media, will make an official declaration to parliament later Wednesday and the coalition cabinet crafted by Van Rampuy would remain largely intact.
  
A smooth transition is important in Belgium where tensions between the Dutch and French-speaking communities are always at the forefront of national politics.
  
The most thorny issue has been negotiations on the rights of the francophone minority in Flemish suburbs of Brussels, which became a focal point for the communal differences.
  
Leterme is dubbed "Leterne", or lacklustre, in the Belgian media.
  
His return could stoke resentment in the relatively poor Francophone community of Wallonia, as he is seen as more stridently Flemish than Van Rompuy in backing richer Dutch-speaking Flanders.
  
Walloons fear Flemish power-sharing demands could split the kingdom.
  
Flemish politicians have dominated recent governments.
  
Martens, Van Rompuy and Leterme are all members of the Flemish Christian Democrats.
  
Leterme stunned Belgium by singing France's "La Marseillaise" when asked by a reporter if he knew the Belgian national anthem.
  
Other gaffes included saying that all the Belgian people share is "the king, the national football team and certain beers."
  
He disparaged French speakers in 2006 as lacking the "intellectual capacity" to learn Dutch and stoked controversy by calling his country an "accident of history" and saying it has no "intrinsic value" as a state.
  

Date created : 2009-11-25

COMMENT(S)