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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 48
Profile: Belgium's Elio Di Rupo
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Profile: Belgium's Elio Di Rupo

By Patrick Jackson BBC News

Elio Di Rupo, the man tipped to end Belgium's seemingly intractable government crisis, has been grappling with challenges all his life.

It is a very Italian approach to politics, without bravado and visionary moments, but he succeeded and who can prove that someone else would have achieved this? 

On one level, this son of Italian immigrants is living the Belgian dream, rising from poverty to play a crucial, unifying role in his country's political future.

On another, he is very definitely a Walloon, as Belgium's French-speakers are known, who struggles to speak Dutch but is passionate in his determination to unite Walloons and Flemings alike.

Another view is that he is simply the man of the moment, the latest in a line of "formateurs" - as government brokers in Belgium are known - who happened to be there when the eurozone economic crisis concentrated Belgian minds.

What seems clear, however, is that, at 60, Elio Di Rupo is very much his own man, as distinctive as his trademark red bow ties.

The picture that emerges from a freshly published biography, largely based on interviews he gave to Belgian journalist Francis Van de Woestyne, is of a fighter, unafraid to take on challenges both in his personal and public life.

more about the new gay prime minister: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-15983739

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