FACTBOX-Facts about Belgian PM Yves Leterme

April 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme
lost the support of one of his coalition partners on Thursday,
leaving his government in danger of collapse.

Below are some facts about Leterme, a Flemish Christian
Democrat.

* King Albert appointed him prime minister for the first
time in March 2008 after months of coalition wrangling that
followed a June 2007 election. He replaced interim leader Guy
Verhofstadt.

* Leterme, 49, tendered his resignation in July 2008 after
failing to end a power tussle between Belgium’s regions which
reignited speculation that the country could split, but stayed
on after the king refused to let him quit.

* He offered his government’s resignation again in December
2008 after the Supreme Court said there were strong signs of
political meddling in a court case over the rescue of financial
group Fortis (FOR.BR: ) at the height of the financial crisis.
This time the king accepted the resignation.

* Leterme was appointed foreign minister in Herman Van
Rompuy’s government in July 2009, replacing Karel De Gucht who
moved to the European Commission. Parliament approved his return
as prime minister last November to replace Van Rompuy, who
became president of the European Union.

* Leterme describes himself as having been a child from the
“west corner” of Belgium, an area known for its support for
Flemish independence. But he straddles the linguistic divide in
having a Flemish mother and Walloon father and supporting
Standard Liege, a French-speaking football club.

* He has upset French-speakers with apparent gaffes. He told
the French newspaper Liberation in August 2006 that Belgium’s
francophones were either too lazy or not intelligent enough to
learn Dutch. He was once asked to sing a few lines of the
national anthem, Brabanconne, on Belgium’s national day, but
launched into a rendition of France’s La Marseillaise instead.

* Leterme has degrees in law and politics. He worked his way
up the ranks of the CVP (a precursor of the Flemish Christian
Democrat party) and was employed at the EU executive, the
European Commission, for five years from 1992, specialising in
agriculture. He became head of the Christian Democrats’
parliamentary group in 2001, and in 2004 became premier of
Dutch-speaking Flanders. He is married and has three children.

For a related news story, click on [ID:nLDE63L13X]

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(Compiled by Philip Blenkinsop and Antonia van de Velde)

FACTBOX-Facts about Belgian PM Yves Leterme