De Wever threatens to open the door for Vlaams Belang: “Federal government without a Flemish majority? Then people in Flanders can no longer count on me” | Domestic

UpdateN-VA chairman Bart De Wever links the formation of government at Flemish level to whether there is a Flemish majority at federal level. If a federal government is formed without a Flemish majority, “then people from Flanders can no longer count on me,” says De Wever. He threatens to open the door to a Flemish government with Vlaams Belang.

“A knife in the back once, not a second time,” De Wever said on Tuesday during the chairman’s debate of Knack and Trends-Kanaal Z, about 100 days before the June 9 elections. De Wever wanted to hear from his fellow party leaders whether they would be willing to join a new federal government without it having a majority on the Flemish side. “In the last 16 years, we have had a federal government without a Flemish majority 12 times,” De Wever said. “Respect for Flemish democracy should be the top priority,” said the N-VA chairman.

Little support

De Wever only received the support of Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken. The chairmen of the current Vivaldi parties either played ball or bounced the ball back. For example, according to Open Vld chairman Tom Ongena, there should “preferably” be a majority on the Flemish side, but the main question is what that majority will do. “Are we going to spend another 500 days in a castle negotiating about splitting the country? Then I say no. If the intention is to quickly form a government together and then reform on a socio-economic and fiscal level, then I am an ally.”

According to Vooruit chairman Melissa Depraetere, no one is concerned about De Wever’s question ‘and who will manage with whom’

Sammy Mahdi also wants “ideally” a Flemish majority, but not to “reinforce hard” or “curtail health care”.

According to Vooruit chairman Melissa Depraetere, no one is concerned about De Wever’s question “and who will manage with whom”. She also refers to the Flemish level to demonstrate that a Flemish majority is no guarantee of good policy. According to Groen chairman Jeremie Vaneeckhout, De Wever’s question is mainly a lightning rod and a way to avoid the debate about the failing policy at Flemish level.

Vlaams Belang

De Wever called the reactions to his statement “astonishing”. According to him, “democracy is being made conditional”. “’If a Flemish majority is not possible, it is not necessary’, I hear here,” sighed the N-VA chairman. “I see dwarf parties tripping over each other here to sit in a Vivaldi government again.”

Open Vld, Groen and CD&V, among others, also demanded clarity from De Wever about his position on a possible collaboration with Vlaams Belang. “I answer very clearly about Vlaams Belang: I demand a Flemish majority in the federal government and I link the formation of a Flemish government to this. Then my Flemish colleagues can no longer count on me,” De Wever said.

Van Grieken was bothered by Vaneeckhout’s ‘moral finger’. “The voter will poke that finger in your eye,” he said

Purchasing power

The chairman’s debate flared up several times, including during discussions about wages or labor migration and asylum. When Open Vld chairman Ongena launched a proposal to reduce gross wages and increase net wages, De Wever accused that gross wages have just risen under Vivaldi, while purchasing power has fallen for many people.

Vooruit chairwoman Melissa Depraetere disputed the statement that purchasing power for workers had deteriorated, but De Wever stood her ground, referring to an expert committee that examined the purchasing power figures. “You have failed your target audience of workers with a small income. The target audience of the PS, mainly passive, is served.”

Migration issue

In the asylum and migration debate, in which Tom Van Grieken advocated the Australian model with pushbacks, Groen co-chairman Vaneeckhout accused the other chairmen (except Raoul Hedebouw of PVDA) of following Van Grieken too much. According to him, the other parties want to “outdo Van Grieken”, which automatically makes Van Grieken “the winner of the debate”.

“You roll over each other to show how strict you are, but you cannot surpass Van Grieken. We will never be ashamed that we decide never to lock up children. You are hiding out of fear of an election victory for Vlaams Belang. Anyone who wants to surpass Van Grieken will fail,” says Vaneeckhout.

Van Grieken himself was bothered by Vaneeckhout’s “moral finger”. “The voter will poke that finger in your eye,” he said.

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