Stalemate in Ghent: who is prepared to attend coalition talks?

Talks are to be held today between the political parties in the East Flemish city of Ghent in an effort to find a way out of the stalemate in the formation of a new coalition to govern the city the next 6 years.

The progressive Green-Socialist cartel hopes to remain in power at Ghent Town Hall with a green as Mayor. The big winner of the municipal elections in the city were the liberals.

The party wants its candidate Mathias De Clercq to become Ghent’s new Mayor. The liberals already have the Christian Democrats on board, and are looking for a third partner to complete the coalition.  

The Christian democrats’ chief negotiator Mieke Van Hecke (photo above) told VRT News that “Mathias and I have invited Filip Watteeuw (Green) and Rudy Coddens (Socialist) for talks this morning. They have invited us this afternoon”.  However, Mr Watteeuw and Mr Coddens say that they have received no invitation.

It is unclear who will lead the talks whenever they begin. Mr Declerq leaders the biggest party on the newly-elected council and is taking the initiative to form a new coalition.

However, the progressive cartel list made up of the socialists and green has more seats and is also trying for a coalition under that would be led by a green Mayor.    

While Mr Coddens (photo above) and Mr Watteeuw say that they haven’t received an invitation, Ms Van Hecke says that she and Mr De Clercq will wait and see it they come to this morning’s meeting before they decided whether to accept their invitation to meet this afternoon. 

Whatever happens the road to forming a new coalition to govern Flanders’ second biggest municipality is going to be a rocky one.