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Belgian Cabinet Bid to Quit Is Rejected

July 17, 1985|United Press International

BRUSSELS — King Baudouin refused to accept the resignation of Belgium's government Tuesday in a political crisis over an English-Italian soccer riot in Brussels two months ago that left 38 people dead.

Premier Wilfried Martens offered the resignation to the king after a Cabinet session earlier in the day failed to resolve a split in the Christian Democrat-Liberal coalition over political responsibility for the riot.

The king rejected the resignation after consultations with key Cabinet ministers and party leaders, a palace spokesman said.

Martens said the government will remain unchanged but that general elections likely will be held in October--two months earlier than scheduled.

The political crisis stems from a riot May 29 before a European Cup match between Liverpool of England and Juventus of Italy. A Belgian parliamentary commission blamed Liverpool fans for the fighting, but some commission members said there was political responsibility because of "negligence, shortcomings and flaws" in controlling the crowd.

The opposition Socialist Party and members of the French-speaking Liberal Party called for the ouster of Interior Minister Charles-Ferdinand Nothomb because of the riot.

Nothomb's refusal to step down led to the resignations of four Liberal ministers and two secretaries of state. The resignations cost the government's ruling coalition 24 of its 113 votes in the 212-seat Chamber of Representatives.

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