Talks in Ghent to get under way

The first steps have been taken to try find a way out of the impasse in the formation of a new coalition in the East Flemish city of Ghent. The Liberals and Christian democrats have agreed to talks with the progressive cartel made up of the greens and the socialists. The greens and the socialist will also meet with other parties.  

The cartel and the liberal/Christian democrat block have let it be known this morning that they will get around the table to discuss how progress can be made.

After Sunday’s elections the Mieke Van Hecke’s Christian Democrats said that they back the liberal Mathias De Clercq in his ambition to become Ghent’s new Mayor. Mr De Clercq’s liberals were the big winners in Sunday election and are now the biggest single party on the council. However, the progressive cartel, made up of two parties: the socialists and the green has more seats and as such believes that it should be leading the coalition talks.

The liberals and Christian democrats hope to break the cartel and install Mr De Clercq as Mayor. However, the cartel is talking about the possibility of a “a green Mayor”. The cartel has “invited all democratic parties” for talks this afternoon.

Who will be Mayor?

Whoever takes the lead in the negotiations also decides who will be Mayor. The cartel has 21 seats and the cartel’s leading green candidate has high hopes that Ghent new Mayor will be a green.  

However, with 15 seats the liberals are the biggest single party and straight after the election result was announced Mr Clercq claimed the position of Mayor was his. Then negotiators intend to discuss content first before discussing who will be given what post. One thing that is certain though “the cartel will continue as one”.