Nicolas Maeterlinck

Speaker of Flemish Parliament to undergo corona test, veteran far-right MP to preside during debate on September Declaration

The Speaker of the Flemish Parliament Liesbeth Homans (Flemish nationalist) won’t be able to preside during Monday’s session in which the Flemish Government will outline it plans for the coming year in the September Declaration. Ms Homans must undergo a coronavirus test and until the result of that is known she will have to self-isolate. Her absence means that the First Deputy Speaker of the parliament will have to stand in for her during what is arguably the most important debate of the parliament year. 

The First Deputy Speaker of the Parliament is the veteran far-right politician Filip Dewinter. 58-year-old Mr Dewinter has represented Vlaams Belang and previously Vlaams Blok in either the Flemish or Federal Parliament for the past 33 years.

The statutes of the Flemish Parliament decree that the politician with the greatest number of years’ service as an MP is the First Deputy Speaker. As such it is up to Mr Dewinter to stand in for Ms Homans if, as is the case today, she is unable to preside over a parliamentary debate.

Mr Dewinter has confirmed that he intends to precided over the important debate on the Flemish Government’s plans for the forthcoming parliamentary year. At the start of the session Mr Dewinter will be assisted by the two youngest MPs in the Flemish Parliament.

By chance Filip Brusselmans and Adeline Blancquaert both also represent Vlaams Belang. In normal times they would stand next to the First Deputy Speaker. However, in order to ensure that the session is a corona-safe as it can possibly be has been decided that Mr Brusselmans and Ms Blanquaert will remain seated in the chamber.

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