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Like Belgium, we in NI struggle to govern ourselves... are we just too scared of the alternative?

Gareth Brown


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Finalised: Belgium has just established a formal government after a near two-year stalemate

Finalised: Belgium has just established a formal government after a near two-year stalemate

Finalised: Belgium has just established a formal government after a near two-year stalemate

Believe it or not, there is another country, not so far from us here in Northern Ireland, that struggles to form a government. Belgium, host to the unofficial capital of Europe and home of the EU, has just established a formal government after a near two-year stalemate.

Belgium uses a system of government called "consociationalism", or power-sharing as we know it. This system allows deeply divided societies to govern in a way that recognises deep religious, political and constitutional differences.

Sound familiar? And it makes a lot of sense that we all share power in this environment. When your goal is to end decades of conflict, this is clearly a model that works.