Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever is pessimistic about formateur Elio Di Rupo's mission to form a new federal Government. The leader of Belgium's largest party fears that the Francophone socialist leader will be unable to serve as a locomotive in the government formation process because he is not clearly saying that his ambition is to become the next Belgian premier.
The N-VA leader told VRT News that the country needed a candidate premier and a locomotive to get the train of government moving. He fears that talks involving nine different political parties will be a waste of time. He had hoped that progress could be made more swiftly.
Bart De Wever stressed that his party wanted the king to appoint somebody with the ambition of becoming prime minister and heading a government, but that the royal palace had decided otherwise. Mr Di Rupo has not yet said that this is his ambition.
"Is Mr Di Rupo prepared to make the necessary reforms?"
Earlier, in a written statement, the Flemish nationalist party N-VA responded to the formateur's announcement that he intends to start parallel talks about social economic issues and state reforms in a bid to form a new federal government.
Belgium's largest party says that it hopes that the Francophone socialist leader will present his proposals on paper as soon as possible. In this way it will be possible to establish what Mr Di Rupo hopes to achieve and what he does not intend to do.
The N-VA statement notes that Mr Di Rupo has apparently decided to act as an informateur first and hold bilateral talks with several parties. The Flemish nationalists hope that the formateur is able to lead real government formation talks as soon as possible.
The party restates its agenda: the state reforms should ensure that all the authorities in this land assume financial responsibility for their policies and that sufficient social economic levers are handed to the devolved authorities.
The N-VA promises to look at the formateur's social economic proposals "with great interest". The party believes that savings and social security reforms are the priority. It also favours stricter asylum and migration policies and giving the judicial authorities more powers.
"These reforms have been needed for many years, but it has been impossible to implement them."
The nationalists call on Mr Di Rupo to make clear whether he is now prepared to introduce these reforms in response to last year's clear signal from the Flemish electorate.