25 Apr 2010

Bid by king to end Belgium crisis

6:47 am on 25 April 2010

King Albert II of Belgium has asked a cabinet minister to mediate in a political crisis which brought down the ruling coalition government this week.

Deputy Prime Minister Didier Reynders is charged by the king with "ensuring conditions are met for the rapid resumption of negotiations".

The BBC reports talks will focus on electoral boundaries around the capital Brussels.

The Open VLD party has quit the government in protest at its failure to resolve a dispute there.

Prime Minister Yves Leterme offered his resignation as a result. But the king is hopeful that a deal can still be reached to revive the coalition and has not accepted Mr Leterme's resignation.

It is the third time Mr Leterme has offered his resignation to the king since July 2008.