Fresh election to determine the future of Belgium?

Nearly nine months after the election Belgium is still without a new federal government.  All efforts to form a new coalition have faltered.  So are elections on the cards?  Quizzed by VRT News it soon became clear that there’s no majority in parliament for a fresh exercise in democracy just yet.

Only the far right Vlaams Belang, the far left PVDA and independent Jean-Marie Dedecker favour a fresh poll.  The Flemish nationalists are uncharacteristically vague.

A fifth of lawmakers would vote for fresh elections. Pressed for a clear answer on behalf of the Flemish nationalist N-VA floor leader Peter De Roover says that talks eventually leading to fresh elections will be held with other groups when all options are exhausted.

Apart from the far left, Francophone parties oppose a new poll. PS floor leader Ahmed Laaouej points to the possibility of a coalition without the N-VA. Flemish socialist floor leader Meryame Kitir believes elections will only bring parties further apart.

The Francophone socialists favour the Vivaldi coalition, a coalition for all seasons with liberals, socialists, greens and Flemish Christian democrats. The Flemish liberals and Christian democrats are not enthusiastic about any coalition without Belgium’s biggest party, the N-VA.

If the impasse persists and elections are seen as the outcome, these could be the elections that decide the future of Belgium.  “The citizen will be aware that his vote decides whether we continue with an unworkable state structure” N-VA’s Peter De Roover says. The Flemish Christian democrats insist they are not questioning the future of Belgium as a country, but in elections will also press for greater Flemish autonomy.


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