Europe’s longest waits for a government

The Hague - The Netherlands matches its own record of 208 days to form a new government, which is also the third-longest time in post-World War II Europe.

Here are the top three:

- 208 days in the Netherlands -

Its record was set after May 1977 general elections won by the Labour Party (PvdA) but with only 53 of the 150 seats in the lower house.

The party's negotiations with the Christian CDA dragged on for months. The CDA eventually turned to the Liberal VVD and they reached a deal for a majority of seats by December.

The whole process took seven months. 208 days to be precise.

This time the negotiations have been under way since March 15 elections won by the VDD of outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte with just 33 seats, far short of the 76 needed to form a majority.

The deal announced Monday will see the business-friendly VVD party in an alliance with the progressive D66, the pragmatic CDA and the more conservative Christian Union.

The agreement, which still has to be approved by the parties and parliament, will give Rutte and his ruling partners a slender single-seat majority.

Rutte also battled after 2012 polls, taking 54 days to form a government.

- Spain paralysed for 10 months -

Spain held elections in December 2015 and June 2016 that saw Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's conservative Popular Party (PP) win but without an absolute majority.

In 2015 Rajoy's party was challenged by centrists Ciudadanos and far-left Podemos and won only 122 seats in the 350-strong lower house.

The party emerged stronger in the election the following year with 137 seats but still no majority.

Efforts to form coalitions failed each time and the kingdom was headed for a third election.

However the Socialist party decided in October 2016 to abstain in a vote of no confidence in Rajoy, effectively allowing him to survive and move on to form a government.

A 10-month political stalemate was over.

- Record-holders Belgium -

Belgium's spectacular political crisis in 2010-2011 left the kingdom without a government for 541 days or around 18 months.

The void lasted from June 2010 legislative elections until a coalition government of six parties was sworn in December 2011.

The crisis did not prevent a multi-party caretaker cabinet, which represented a parliamentary majority and was led by a former prime minister, from taking important decisions such as sending military aircraft to Libya.

Belgium had already experienced similar crises -- in 2007 when it went for 194 days without a government, and in the 1980s when the country had no government between December 1987 and May 1988.