James Arthur Photography

A new Flemish Government: breakthrough expected in the next few days.

It is possible that there could be a breakthrough in the formation of a new Flemish Government within the next few days. This week the man whose task it is to try a form a new Flemish Government Bart De Wever (Flemish nationalist) has held talks with the representatives of the Christian democrat, socialist and liberal parties and on Thursday evening with a delegation from the far-right Vlaams Belang.  

Despite losing some ground compared with its result 5 years ago, the Flemish nationalist party N-VA remained by far the most popular party in Flanders in this year’s elections on 26 May. The big winner in the elections was the far-right Vlaams Belang. As the leader of the largest party it was up to Bart De Wever to hold talks with other parties with a view to forming a new Flemish coalition. Much to the consternation of the other parties, Mr De Wever also invited the far-right Vlaams Belang to bi-lateral talks.

Late on Thursday evening, Mr De Wever spoke again with a delegation from Vlaams Belang. However, it seems unlikely that the far-right party will play any part in the next Flemish coalition government. Together N-VA and Vlaams Belang don’t have a majority and no other party is prepared to enter into or offer support from the opposition benches to a Flemish Government that includes Vlaams Belang.

On Friday morning the long-standing Vlaams Belang figurehead Filip Dewinter attempted to increase the pressure on Mr De Wever. Mr Dewinter said that Bart De Wever should make it clear to the other parties that a there should be a government that includes N-VA and Vlaams Belang. “Otherwise it is up to the losers, the Christian democrats, the liberals, the greens, the socialists and the hard-left PVDA, to take responsibility and form a form a government.          

However, such a coalition has already been ruled out. The liberals have already said that they won’t enter into a coalition with the hard-left PVDA.  

Burgundian or Swedish

Which options are still open? A continuation of the current “Swedish” Flemish coalition made up of the Flemish nationalists, the Christian democrats and the liberals still has 70 of the 124 seats in the Flemish Parliament.   

A so-called “Burgundian” coalition made up of the nationalists, liberals and socialists is also a possibility. However, this only would have a one-seat majority in the Flemish Parliament. Such a coalition might make the formation of a new federal coalition easier as if the Flemish nations were to take part in a federal coalition this would likely to be with the liberals and socialists.   

Jan Jambon the next Flemish PM?

This begs the question of who would be Flemish Prime Minister in a new Flemish Government led by the nationalists. Up until now the leader of N-VA Bart De Wever has led the talks and he was considered a likely choice to be the next Flemish Prime Minister.

However, now the name of the former Interior Minister Jan Jambon is doing the rounds as a possible Prime Minister in a new Flemish Government.