Flemish parties at daggers drawn over federal government formation

Failure to make progress on the formation of a new federal government is heightening nerves.  Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever has castigated the Flemish liberals after they participated in six party talks chaired by Paul Magnette, the Francophone socialist charged with examining the opportunities to form a new federal team.

There are ever louder suspicions that Mr Magnette (pictured with King Filip) is robustly searching out the limits of his brief and is attempting to set a six party socialist, liberal, green coalition on the tracks.

When Mr De Wever, who chairs Belgium’s largest political party, heard the six had met up he was incandescent about the liberals’ position. He accused the Flemish liberals, who are his party’s coalition partners in the Flemish government of a breach of trust.  The six party coalition does not possess a majority in Flanders.  Mr De Wever told newsmen he felt sold out.  He hadn’t heard from the liberals in a fortnight and then learned they were attending the six party talks.

The Flemish liberals say they were invited and decided to attend and listen adding they hadn’t yet made up their mind whether they would form a government with the greens or alternatively the Flemish nationalists.  Open VLD leader Gwendolyn Rutten (Flemish liberal) also denied she had been offered the premiership in return for going along with Mr Magnette’s plans.

The Flemish Christian democrats too have attacked the liberals insisting the possibility of a federal coalition with the Flemish nationalists and Francophone socialists should be tested more vigorously first.