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After 241 Days Without A Government, Belgian Senator Proposes A 'Sex Strike'

Some 30,000 people in Belgium attended a "shame rally" asking the government to come to a consensus. AFP/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Some 30,000 people in Belgium attended a "shame rally" asking the government to come to a consensus.

AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Belgium, if you haven't been paying attention, is coming close to becoming the country with the longest time between an election and the formation of a government. Iraq holds the record, having gone 289 days without a government, until coming to an agreement last year.

Today Belgium is going on 241 days sans government. Belgians are jokingly calling themselves the "most successful failed state."

But, today, there's news that Socialist senator Marleen Temmerman is suggesting a radical solution. The BBC reports:

"I call on the spouses of all negotiators to withold sex until a deal is reached," said Ms Temmerman in an article for a Belgian newspaper. "Have no more sex until the new administration is posing on the steps of the Palace."

She said if politicians' partners followed her suggestion, the "palaver" of coalition-forming would be resolved quite quickly.

Temmerman, reports the BBC, got the idea while in Kenya, because in 2009, a similar sex ban fixed an impasse and allowed Kenyans to form a government.

Kira Cochrane at The Guardian writes that Temmerman was also influenced by Lysistrata, a Greek play in which "Arisophanes's heroine calls for women to abstain from sex to end the Peloponnesian war. In the play, the gesture is successful."

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Belgians have tried all kinds of other things to encourage their politicians to reach a solution. This wonderful piece from The World is worth a listen. They describe a Beligian who suggested they let their beards grow until a government is formed; 30,000 Belgians held a "shame rally." And Dorian van Bever has created a website, Le Record du Monde, which counts down the days until Belgium takes Iraq's place in the record books.

So could a "sex strike" work? Could it help the Dutch speaking north and French speaking south come to a happy consensus?

Talking to The World, van Bever said while all these tactics may sound silly, they're not really.

"We choose humor," he said. "Because we don't want the streets to be on fire."