PM reprimands Secretary of State

The Federal Prime Minister Premier Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) has reprimanded the Secretary of State responsible for (amongst other things) equal opportunities Zuhal Demir (Flemish nationalist). In an interview with the Sunday free-sheet ‘De Zondag’, Ms Demir launched a virulent attack on her party’s coalition partner the Flemish Christian democrats.

Amongst other things Ms Demir said that “I would like to warn Flemings. The CD&V (the Flemish Christian democrat party) is the new Muslim party”.

In a statement released on Sunday morning, Mr Michel office wrote “The words she has used are disloyal and unacceptable within the coalition”.

In the interview Ms Demir accused the CD&V leader Wouter Beke of "using Muslims as vote fodder. You have Mieke Van Hecke that says that her party is the only option for Muslims. Or in Genk there is Mayor Wim Dries and his Alderman with Turkish roots Ali Caglar who two years ago were on the front row to applaud Erdogan. The Alderman recently said that press freedom in Turkey was improving. Do you think that Wouter Beke called him to book? No he didn’t”.

Ms Demir also cited the example of the Christian democrat MP Veli Yüksel who dismissed the idea of a remembrance event for the victims of the Armenian genocide and was not reprimanded by Mr Beke.

"It is not a healthy situation. Mr Beke sees Muslims as vote fodder. Anything goes in exchange for votes.”

The Prime Minister Charles Michel has taken strong exception to Ms Demir’s comments and has called her to book.

Speaking in an interview with the press agency Belga the Prime Minister’s office said that "The Prime Minister’s response was stern when he called the secretary of state.”

“The words she used were disloyal and unacceptable within the context of the coalition. The Prime Minister absolutely doesn’t tolerate this stance”.