150 new federal MP's take the oath, incident avoided

150 new-elected members of the Federal Parliament have taken the oath this afternoon. The temporary Parliament Speaker was Patrick Dewael, the longest serving MP. The outgoing PM Charles Michel was among those taking the oath, but he may move to the European level. 

96 of the 150 MP's are new due to the shake-up after the 26 May elections. Far-right Vlaams Belang made the biggest leap forward, with 18 seats now instead of 3. The Flemish nationalists of N-VA remain the biggest player with 25 seats; the Francophone socialists have 20. 

Patrick Dewael (Flemish liberal) was leading the ceremony as the longest-serving MP. A new Parliament Speaker will be chosen at a later stage; at present there is no government yet as coalition talks are still going on - and this may take a long time.

Among those being sworn in was the outgoing PM Charles Michel (Francophone liberal, phhoto below); rumour has it he could become the new President of the European Council. 

Red triangles

Dewael had to deal with a sensitive issue: tradition wants it that he is being flanked by the two youngest MP's for the ceremony, but the left-wing (especially Francophone) parties were not amused that Dries Van Langenhove would be among those to have this honour: he was elected for the far-right Vlaams Belang and is facing charges of possible racism.

However, Mr Dewael solved this problem by leading the ceremony from his personal seat in the hemisphere, instead of taking the front stage. In this way, he didn't have to be flanked by anybody. Various Francophone MP's were wearing a red triangle to protest against the presence of Van Langenhove; the red triangle was a protest symbol against fascism in former times. 

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