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Belgium to Get Government, Ending 540 Days of Brinksmanship

Belgium will get a full-time government as soon as today, ending a record 540 days of post-election brinksmanship between the Dutch-speaking north and French south that kindled speculation of a national breakup at the heart of Europe.

The power struggle between the richer Dutch and industrially depressed French region was only resolved as the European economic crisis deepened, leading to a cut in Belgium’s credit rating, a lurch upward in its borrowing costs and the demise of its biggest bank, Dexia SA.