Flemish socialist leader gets exemption from his only rule on combining party leadership with being an MP

The National Executive Committee of the Flemish Socialist party has granted the party’s leader an exemption to a rule that stipulates that bans Flemish socialist politicians from combining more than one political mandate. The decision to grant Mr Crombez an exemption means that he will be able to take his seat in the Chamber of Representatives and remain leader until the Flemish socialists vote for a new leader later this year. 

An internal party rule that has come into force under Mr Crombez’s leadership means that Flemish Socialist MP cannot combine their work as a member of parliament with that of Mayor or Alderman of a large municipality or a city.

Furthermore the job of leader of the Flemish socialists may no longer be taken by someone that is an MP. The National Executive Committee decided to grant Mr Crombez an exemption as the elections for a new party leader have been brought forward to this autumn and it was felt important to ensure continuity.

In the meantime Mr Crombez will not be paid for his work as party leader. 

Speaking on VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme 'De ochtend', Mr Crombez said "This is a temporary situation. From next I will be an MP with an allowance like all the rest. In the meantime, the parliamentary party groups will take their seats. Thanks to the ban on combining jobs a third of these are new and they will need guidance. As this is only very temporary, it can be done”.  

Mr Crombez will soon have to make his choice. However, he is not yet certain whether he will be a candidate for the party leadership. "I haven’t had much time yet to think about it. Those wishing to be a candidate will be asked to let it be known in a couple of weeks. In the meantime there are a few people that I want to talk to". 

"I won’t make finding a solution more difficult"

Mr Crombez confirmed his criticism that has been levelled at his party’s campaign in the recent elections. He added that he party is “calmly” looking at how things can done differently.   

Mr Crombez wouldn’t be drawn on whether his party will be joining a new coalition government.

"It is up to the parties that of the most votes to find a solution quickly to ensure that we are governed”.

He added that he “Will not make comment that will make finding a solution more difficult”.