Belgian party in tatters as former premier quits

Former Prime Minister Paul van den Boeynants has resigned as leader of Belgium's Social Christian Party after refusing Dec. 1 to join a center-right government.

His decision left the party in disarray. The party's stand quashed efforts by the Flemish Liberal Party leader to form a coalition government and left King Baudouin the task of choosing another politician to try to end the two-month-old political crisis. The previous government fell after a rift over funding for the steel industry in Belgium's economically depressed southern region.

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