The federal elections are almost 3 months behind us, but the formation of a federal government hasn't even got underway. Things are not looking bright: the stalemate is complete since the biggest players at both sides of the language border, the Francophone socialists (PS) in Wallonia and the Flemish nationalists (N-VA) in Flanders, have completely different ideas about the pathway to choose.
Last week, N-VA supremo Bart De Wever finally had news about the Flemish government, but when he was questioned about the federal puzzle, he answered almost ironically: "See you at Christmas, but I didn't say which year", suggesting the federal talks (or should we say pre-talks) may take a very long time still. While the N-VA wants more Flemish autonomy, this is exactly what the PS doesn't want. Moreover, the PS is supporting leftist ideas (e.g. about health care and immigration) contrary to the N-VA's right-wing ideas.
The Francophone socialists will have to make a choice between the lesser of two evils
If Flanders can't become independent, the N-VA wants at least a kind of confederalism like in Switzerland, with a lot of autonomy for the regions, and with the central state taking up not much more than Foreign Policy and Defence.
However, while the N-VA have made it clear how they see the future of Belgium, the Francophone parties haven't done much more than reject these ideas. "It's about time the Francophone parties develop a clear vision about Belgium, instead of just saying "no"", Alain Gerlache told the VRT. Gerlache is a political pundit of the Francophone public broadcaster RTBF.
Gerlache says the PS has to choose between the lesser of two evils: talking with the N-VA, which is very difficult for them, or just do nothing, but that is equally difficult. Maybe the fear for new elections can be an incentive - most Walloon parties would lose, except for the leftist PTB, which could take votes from the PS.