O barba politica

'Grow a beard for Belgium' appeal by actor Poelvoorde
One of Belgium's best-known actors, Benoit Poelvoorde, has urged his fellow citizens not to shave again until the country finally forms a government.

Poelvoorde, star of black comedy Man Bites Dog and costume drama Coco Before Chanel, made his appeal on Belgian TV.

A caretaker government has been running Belgium since June, setting a post-war record for a period without government.

Parties from the Dutch-speaking north and French-speaking south remain split.

"Don't be surprised by the stubble," said Poelvoorde.

"We have decided to stop shaving for as long as Belgium has no government. Let's keep our beards until Belgium rises again."

The actor was already sporting a neatly trimmed beard before his initiative this week.

It was not immediately clear how many Belgian men might down razors in response.

Perhaps the most famous Belgian facial hair outside Belgium is that of the characters Captain Haddock and Professor Calculus in the Tintin comic books.

Hercule Poirot, maybe the most famous fictional Belgian of them all, confined his growth to a waxed moustache.