In financial surroundings rumours are going round that Luc Coene is worrying he can’t become the next Governor of the Belgian National Bank anymore. Coene was using hard words against the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) shortly before the elections, violating his neutral position as Vice Governor. The N-VA won the general elections of last Sunday with 28% of the votes causing an electoral landslide in Flanders.
In an interview with the financial newspaper De Tijd, Professor Bart Maddens (Catholic University of Leuven), the inventor of the so-called ‘Maddens Doctrine’, states that his own doctrine becomes obsolete after last Sunday’s elections. His “doctrine” was a strategy to achieve the big state reform that Flanders has been requesting for ages. Flanders should stop begging for something it cannot get. Instead, it should let things rot until the francophones realise that something must change. Maddens is saying today that Flanders should now switch back to the older ‘Van Rompuy Doctrine’, called to the current President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy. The ‘Van Rompuy Doctrine’ is saying that the Flemish political parties should go to the negotiations with the Walloon political parties making immediately clear that there will be no Belgian federal government without first reforming the federal state. According to Maddens in the same interview the following should be reformed: move the collection of the personal income tax from the Belgian federal level to Flanders and Wallonia, give the Brussels Region a less important role and let Flanders and Wallonia build there own health care systems.
After the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) had won a stunning 28 per cent of the vote in Dutch-speaking Flanders on Sunday, miraculous waves of pampering comments in both parts of Belgium are flooding chairman Bart De Wever. Politicians and journalists who constantly reviled and abused Mr. De Wever before the elections, as he was the incarnation of the devil, are now making remarkable different analyses in the media. So for example the editor in Chief of the Flemish newspaper De Standaard is titling in an opinion piece that De Wever is capable to save and reform Belgium. Mrs. Onkelinx of the PS (Walloon Socialists) who ones compared the Flemish people with fungus and who is a very strong defender of the Belgian state is now -after a standstill of 3 years negotiating with less Flemish-minded parties- arguing that a compromise with the N-VA is feasible. The socialist mayor of Antwerp Mr. Janssens and Mrs. Thyssen, CD&V chairwoman are encouraging Mr. De Wever to become the prime minister of Belgium. For the time being Mr. De Wever is reacting very temperate on all these strategic moves by pointing out he is only interested in achieving the necessary constitutional reforms. Still according to a cautious Mr. De Wever nothing will be possible without constructive engagements of the other political parties. Who gets the role of prime minister is still not any of his concerns.
Belgium’s future as a federal state is seriously in doubt after the national elections. The country became completely divided in two different and incompatible democracies. In French-speaking Wallonia the socialists of the PS became the biggest party with 37% of the votes. In Dutch-speaking Flanders the centre-right N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) caused an electoral landslide with 28% of the votes. Above the ideological left-right contradictions between the South and North, the PS is a protagonist of the Belgian federal state and the N-VA is in favor of an independent Flemish republic as a member state of a democratic European confederation. Together with the more right wing VB and right liberals of LDD the Flemish nationalists are now emerging to 44% of all Flemish votes.
In the small Flemish town Voeren extremists has destroyed Flemish lion flags in the night between Friday and Saturday. They removed the flags from the official buildings and cut out the Flemish lion. Last week Joëlle Milquet of the CdH (Walloon Christian democrats) was whipping up anti-Flemish feelings of the French-language inhabitants by making door-to-door campaign with the message this Flemish town needs to be annexed by Wallonia.
Laurette Onkelinx, minister for the PS (french-language Walloon socialists) in the federal government admitted today to the press agency Belga she knows Bart De Wever only from the media. Bart De Wever of the N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) is by far the most popular politician in Flanders and frontrunner for the Belgian federal elections of Sunday. Whilst De Wever advocates only democratic and anti-revolutionary changes the combatant French-language media in Belgium are constantly cultivating and spreading the idea he is a dangerous and anti-democratic man. Mrs. Onckelinx –who hardly can speak Dutch-, is a strong French-language protagonist of the Belgian state.
An opinion poll by France-Soir, a French daily newspaper, revealed today that 66% of the French would be happy to see Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, subsumed into France. Right-wing French politicians made already earlier openly the case for annexation. French-speaking Belgians, for their part, were earlier also coming round to the idea. If they were presented with a binary choice between joining France and going it alone, opinion polls suggested they would rather join France. Meanwhile Walloon politicians are claiming Flemish territory on the Belgian federal level, like a ‘French linguistic corridor’ between Wallonia and Brussels.
Luc Coene , has violated this evening his neutral position as Vice Governor of the National Bank by making political statements on the Flemish television. Coene attacked the New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a young political party in favour of a Flemish republic. This unlawful activity of the Vice Governor adds another fact to the rapidly increasing list of democratic deteriorations in Belgium.
The Financial Times has published today as ‘editor’s choice’ a piece on the political crisis in Belgium. The renowned British financial newspaper fears that another period of political uncertainty after next week’s elections may leave the Belgian debt mountain unattended. The newspaper warns also that with the coming elections the Belgian politics are even more unpredictable than ever before.
According to the Corelio newspapers at least 220 chairmen and assessors of the voting bureaus for the federal elections of next week will refuse service. They officially declared they don’t want to contribute to illegal elections. The Belgian Constitutional Court ruled in 2003 that the Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde voting district is illegal and in contradiction with the provincial definition of the electoral districts in Belgium. The Walloon politicians in the collapsed Federal government refused to vote the split of this discriminating and unlawful district as it gives them the possibility to collect votes in Flanders although they don’t live in Flanders.
In an official press release published today, the OVB, the association of all Flemish lawyers are questioning the legality of the next federal elections and are asking for an independent judicial body to examine the legality of it. The reason is a judgement of the Constitutional Court. It judged that the existence of a certain electoral district ( BHV ) as a constituency was in contradiction with the explicitly provincial definition of the electoral districts. In this unconstitutional electoral district, French-speaking voters living in a Flemish province can vote on politicians living outside Flanders.
Belgian nationalists are organizing a large concert on the 6th of June, in an attempt to influence the results of the federal elections of June 13, exact one week later. The free Belgavox concert ,as it is called, will be held from 1 to 6PM on the Place des Palais in Brussels, symbolically just in front of the Royal Palace.