N-VA ticket to parliament for Jean-Marie Dedecker

Maverick (former) liberal Jean-Marie Dedecker has announced he's standing on the N-VA slate at the general election.  Mr Dedecker, who was earlier chucked out of the Flemish liberal party and set up his own rightist liberal party, will be the last candidate on the Flemish nationalist list in West Flanders.  Traditionally this is a spot for big beasts who pile in the votes.

Mr Dedecker's LDD party did well in his native province, where he enjoys a strong personal following, but West Flanders is precisely a province where the nationalists are weaker than elsewhere.  Mr Dedecker now serves as Mayor of the seaside resort of Middelkerke and says he can use N-VA support. Earlier he earned his spurs as the Belgian national judo coach taking the sport to new heights in this country.

Jean-Marie Dedecker told VRT News:

"I'm in favour of right wing social economic policies.  It's all hands on deck at the minute. I'm in favour of Flanders being part of a Belgian confederation.  Migration policy too is close to my heart.  If we wish a centre right government the N-VA is indispensable.  That's why I'm supporting the party!"

Mr Dedecker won't be signing up for an N-VA party card just yet.

"I'm a free-thinker.  That is holy to me.  This is an ideological marriage of convenience.  I would like a seat in the Chamber of Representatives where I will sit as an independent."

This isn’t the first rapprochement between Mr Dedecker and the N-VA.  In 2006 he was set to join the N-VA, but this fell through after the nationalists’ then partner, the Christian democrats, objected to him.