Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme has offered his government's resignation amid a row over the break-up and sale of the stricken bank, Fortis. King Albert II accepted the decision, and negotiations have begun to form a new administration; the outgoing government will remain in caretaker capacity until that time.
Justice Minister Jo Vandeurzen resigned on 19 December, after the Supreme Court said there were signs the government had tried to stop a court freezing the sale of Fortis. The appeals court ruled shareholders had not been properly consulted.
Fortis has been among the European banks hardest hit by the current financial turmoil, which left it massively undercapitalised.
Leterme took office in March 2008, nine months after a general election had resulted in political deadlock amid tension between Walloon and Flemish groups.
He tendered his resignation in June after he failed to push through plans to devolve more power to the regions, but the King rejected it.
23 December 2008