Mr Beke’s decision came after he had spoken to the Flemish Christian democrat part CD&V’s leadership that had met to prepare for a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee that was held later on Thursday evening.
Mr Beke told the press conference “Today is my last day as Flemish Minister of Welfare and Public Health”. He went to cite a number of things that had been achieved during his time as Health and Welfare Minister. In a swipe at the press, Mr Beke added “even if they (the achievements) “even if they hardly ever made it into the newspapers.” According to Mr Beke, many of these achievements have been pushed into the background by the coronavirus pandemic”
“I am most proud of the vaccination campaign that we managed well and that put Flanders on the world map.”
There has long been criticism of Mr Beke’s performance as Health and Welfare Minister. This criticism centred on his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in residential care homes, cuts to child benefits and malpractices in crèches.
Death of Baby played decisive role
The death of a baby at an East Flemish crèche earlier this year played a decisive role in Mr Beke’s resignation.
“The death of a baby at Mariakerke hit me very hard. My family and friends have seen how heavily this has weighed on me. Many things have been written in the press that have affected meme. Dear journalists, remember that politicians are only human too.”
Mr Beke submitted his resignation as he believes that his party “deserves better”. He added that he “fully supports” Sammy Mahdi in his quest to become the new leader of CD&V.
Mr Beke concluded his statement by saying “I am not a cold-hearted power-hungry politician. My integrity as a politician, human being, husband and father is more important to me than anything else? More important than what has been written about me in the media over the past two and a half years. My wife, family and coleagues have kept me going.”