Belgium edges closer toward new government

AP News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2011 8:36 AM
Belgium edges closer toward new government

Dutch- and French-speaking parties in Belgium have achieved a second breakthrough in as many weeks in the world's longest negotiations to form a new governing coalition.

A record 15 1/2 months after elections were held, the eight parties announced Saturday that they agreed on how the linguistic regions and the bilingual capital Brussels would be funded in future. The deal came only nine days after they clinched agreement on the the breakup of an electoral district in and around Brussels, an issue that had vexed politicians for almost half a century.

The parties will reconvene on Monday to start tackling remaining outstanding issues, including the makeup of next year's budget.