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Subject: Belgium marks record with pants protest

Written By: Philip Eno on 02/19/11 at 6:54 am

Belgian protesters stripped to their underwear as the country 'celebrated' a world record 249 days without a government.

The 249 days since prime minister Yves Leterme resigned were marked by the same number of people taking their clothes off in Ghent.

Other cities marked the day with free chips, Belgium's national dish, and free Belgian beer was consumed in the French-speaking town of Louvain-la-Neuve.

The mocking celebrations were organised via text message, Facebook and Twitter.

Eight months after last June's elections, the linguistically-divided political parties in the country have been unable to agree on a coalition government.

Many see this as equalling the world record for the longest talks to try to form a government, a record currently held by Iraq.

The political deadlock has raised fears that Belgium, made up of French speakers in the south and Dutch speakers in the north, may essentially split apart.

There has been talk of holding another election to try to break the deadlock, but most recent opinion polls suggest that another vote would make the situation worse.

A female Belgian politician recently urged MPs' wives to ban sex until the country formed a government.

Senator Marleen Temmerman said spouses should "keep their legs crossed" to bring an end to the deadlock.

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