“A full term is crucial”

The leaders of the seven Flemish political parties that are represented in the Chamber of Representatives took part in a televised debate on Monday evening. Sunday’s big winner, the Flemish nationalist Bart De Wever told viewers that it is crucial that the new federal government should serve a full four year term. Meanwhile, all the other Flemish parties say that they are prepared to work with Mr De Wever and his party.

Mr De Wever said that given the challenges faced by Belgium in fields of public debt and constitutional reform, a stable coalition that can govern the country for the next four years is essential.

Mr De Wever added that although he had no great personal ambition to become Belgium’s next Prime Minister, it doesn’t mean that he wants to shirk his responsibility.

The N-VA Chairman added that he has nothing against a Francophone Prime Minister, certainly not if that would serve to create the confidence in the south of the country that would help the Flemish nationalists realise their goal of greater autonomy.

However, the Flemish Christian democrat Chairwoman Marianne Thyssen told Mr De Wever that “You should have the courage to take on responsibility as you have been given such a clear mandate by the electorate.”

All parties prepared to talk

During the debate it became clear that the leaders of all parties are prepared to work with Mr De Wever.

The right-leaning liberal Jean-Marie Dedecker said that “This mouse is certainly prepared to give an elephant a push.”

Mr Dedeckers’ Lijst Dedecker only won one seat in Sunday's election.

Meanwhile, the Christian democrats’ chairwoman Marianne Thyssen said that her party is prepared to act responsibly and help work towards constitutional reform and take the socio-economic measures needed to put the economy back on track. 

The Flemish socialist Chairwoman Caroline Gennez also offered Mr De Wever her party’s cooperation.

"We would like to see our programme implemented."

"We have prepared a paper on constitutional reform and socio-economic issues” Ms Gennez added.

The Chairman of the far-right Vlaams Belang Bruno Valkeniers repeated his earlier assertion that Mr De Wever would find a true ally in his party.

“An ally that also wants Flemish independence or at the very least a big step in that direction.”

The Chairman of the Flemish Greens Wouter Van Besien is prepared to help Mr De Wever.

However, Mr Van Besien stresses that everything should be done according to the rulebook.

The greens hope to work constructively and want no part in any Flemish political front that might be set up to look good in the media.

The Chairman of the Flemish liberals said that although his party would be reluctant to join a coalition containing the Francophone socialists, he is prepared to listen to any offers that might be made.