Vlaams Belang will need to play a skilful hand if it is to find a way of getting into government. Last night it was understood the party was ready to announce what points it would insist on pressing through, but by this morning’s news conference this plan had been ditched.
Vlaams Belang will attend the talks with a negotiating team. Leader Van Grieken will be flanked by one Flemish and one federal MP. Mr Van Grieken has already promised to be constructive.
Mr Van Grieken told newsmen that in an ordinary democracy the biggest party and the winner of the election would join forces and look for a third party to form a majority, but because of the cordon sanitaire under which other parties refuse to work together with Vlaams Belang he swiftly concluded this was not an ordinary democracy.
The Vlaams Belang leader intends to negotiate out of sight of the cameras and will press for his party’s programme to be implemented, at least in part. Mr Van Grieken also spoke of a willingness to start with a clean slate. Veteran Vlaams Belang figures were nowhere to be seen at the news conference either emphasising the party’s new, younger image. People described as serious and with experience are in Mr Van Grieken’s negotiating team. Vlaams Belang may wish to present an acceptable face, but it’s unlikely many political takers will be found among the other parties.