Wed Jun 16, 2010 | 15:00
Belgians vote as breakup looms
Sun, 13 Jun 2010 04:54:40 GMT
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Belgians are going to the polls to cast their votes to fill 150 parliamentary seats in a move that could decide the fate and possible breakup of their country.

On Sunday, Belgians cast their votes to decide the future of their government with opinion polls showing the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), which advocates the gradual dissolution of Belgium, winning the majority in Dutch-speaking Flanders -- and possibly throughout the country. The party, however, needs to reduce Belgium's debt ratio, which is the third highest in Europe.

Despite the fact that it serves as the home base for the European Union, Belgium has long struggled with divisions between its Dutch-speakers in northern Flanders and its French-speakers in Wallonia in the South.

Tensions between the two areas prompted Democrat Prime Minister Yves Leterme to resign in April 2010.

"We have become two different peoples," AP quoted Jean-Marie Dedecker, head of a Flemish party as saying.

"We are socially and culturally divided. We don't read each other's newspapers. We don't watch each other's TV programs," she added.

HJ/TG/MMA
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