541 days is a long time.
And it’s how long Belgium went without any elected government before December 2011.
It’s no wonder – through the wonders of proportional representation, 11 parties split Belgium’s 150 seats, with no group controlling more than 27. Backroom deal after backroom deal was tried and failed – no one could herd the fringe party cats to get to a governing majority. So for 77 weeks, Belgium was rudderless.
As the weeks and months ticked by, the people tried everything to get the politicians to form a coalition. Students tried stripping to their underwear and handing out free chips; giant lions and roosters protested in the street; the country’s leading actor ordered all men to go on shaving strike; and one female senator suggested politicians’ wives should deny them sex. (We’re not making this up – https://www.theguardian.com/…/eurozone-crisis-forces-belgiu…)
Belgium, already heavily in debt, saw a credit downgrade during that time, and that economic crisis finally forced 6 parties to come together.
The Guardian blamed Belgium’s “Absurdly divided and squabbling political class” – the complete opposite of the “collaboration” and “non-partisan” nonsense that prop rep supporters claim their system provides…
And another reason to Stop Prop Rep! www.icba.ca/stopproprep
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And stay tuned for more “Tales of Prop Rep Horror”…