Flemish national holiday shambles: Flemish parliamentary speaker resigns

The Flemish national holiday has been marred by fraud allegations. Kris Van Dijck, the speaker of the Flemish Parliament, left the 11 July celebrations at Brussels city hall early as fraud allegations surfaced only to resign shortly afterwards.

Following the customary speaker’s address, one of the political highlights of the holiday, Mr Van Dijck (Flemish nationalist) was whisked out of the building.  During his speech the P-magazine news outlet reported that Mr Van Dijck connived to commit fraud together with a sex worker.  So far there is no confirmation of the report in P-Magazine.

According to P-Magazine Mr Van Dijck tried to obtain benefit for a call girl in a fraudulent fashion.  Mr Van Dijck is said even to have lobbied the federal work minister.

After the news broke the speaker and several leading Flemish nationalist politicians withdrew to a small room in city hall and afterwards he left without saying a word.

Mr Van Dijck is sticking to his guns and says "today's allegations are totally incorrect".

In his speech Mr Van Dijck, who was elected as an interim speaker following the 26 May election, apologised for the drink-drive episode last week, when he was found to have a blood alcohol content of 1.4 per mille.  

Later, in conversation with the press egency Belga, Mr Van Dijck said he had not done anything illegal, but added that the events of recent days have made it impossible for him to do his job properly.  He insisted that in connection with the story that is now doing the rounds he had never done anything illegal.

Flemish parliamentary groups will now meet under the chairmanship of far right MFP Filip Dewinter, the first deputy speaker, to prepare a plenary session of parliament to elect a new speaker.  Until then Mr Dewinter will replace Mr Van Dijck. Mr Dewinter (Vlaams Belang) told Belga that he would have preferred to have become the new temporary speaker of the Flemish Parliament in different circumstances.