Beauty queen exposes Belgium’s linguistic divide

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Belgium’s newly crowned beauty queen has been drawn into the bitter political feud that has left Brussels without a government for six months after it emerged that she cannot speak the language used by half of the country.

Alizée Poulicek, a 20-year-old language student, was booed by the audience when she failed to respond to questions in Dutch before being crowned Miss Belgium at the weekend in Antwerp, in Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north of Belgium.

Miss Poulicek may be multilingual in French, English and Czech but political correctness demands she also speaks Dutch, the language spoken by Belgium’s Flemish majority, whose demands for more autonomy are behind a political crisis that has lasted almost 200 days.

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