Still no government yet

In case you were wondering: we don't have a government yet. Not anywhere near it either.
After the unsuccesful formation attempts of Leterme, the king couldn't even assign a new 'formator' (the one who leads the coallition negotiations and usually when succesful becomes the prime minister) as the political parties didn't even agree on who could become the next one. (and the king has no power to make decisions on his own). In order to win time he then had an unusual round of consultations of political veterans to get their opinion.

During the last weeks a political veteran (no candidate for prime minister) has been assigned the role of 'explorer'. The fact that the leaks to the media have been reduced drastically seems to me that things are getting more serious as you can't negotiate in front of the camera's. On the other hand, the positions of all political parties do not seem to have progressed the slightest bid so far.

While foreign press starts speculating more and more on a split in Belgium, whereas Monoploy has withdrawn its online enquiry about the most popular streetnames (as it might only result in a very polorised view and 2 different Monopoly games, so they fear at the moment), whereas polls are published revealing that more and more Flemish are pro independence (up to 40% now), ....somehow I am getting bored by it all. Geez, this has been going on for 110 days now, without much new things happening. It might surprise you all, but the political discussions are not an every day headline anymore (until things get moving again, I suppose). I am truly not following it so closely anymore either.

Personally I am surprised that all political parties are so stubborn as they seem to be. I would have thought that the hunger for power would have built compromises already. 'Belgian compromises', something we are famous for. The thought that nobody is giving in is worrying, it is creepy....because it would be the end of Belgium. A politician stated today "if Belgium ever would split up, it will not be by a big revolution, by big declarations of indepence, ...it would happen because we simply conclude that we cannot form a national government anymore". We would have had long, crazy, difficult negotiations in the first half of the 80ies too, but these is the first time I live conciously through it.

Let me be clear: I do not want this country to split. (and I can't believe at all that 40% of the Flemish would be truly pro). Not emotionally but even less rationally because I don't think we would benefit from it. I am sure we would not benefit from it. Yes I am pro a new government reform as I am convinced that we can reorganise some things more rationally. That has nothing to do with an anti-Wallonian feeling. Foreign media don't distinguish Flemish demands from Flemish nationalists from Flemish seperatists....all very different nuances. Wallonian press can't make that distinction either. Yes sometimes we do act as if we are 2 different countries! Most of the time actually ;).

And yet, I don't believe we will split. Let's hope I never have to admit that I've been naive. there are strong powers directing us towards a split. But this country is in fact not splittable because of Brussels: Brussels cannot be added to Wallonia, Brussels cannot be added to Flanders, Wallonia cannot be without Brussels, Flanders cannot be without Brussels, Brussels cannot live as a 'capital mini-state', ..... Belgium is too small to split, gosh it would be insane.
No, there will be a coalition, when we are all dead soft by the eternal negotiations and talks and already happy that we get a government without being too upset about all the election promises that have been broken (as they have to be broken to make a compromise) (although the longer it gets, the more fed-up and extreme some opinions get as well).
Those parties have to form a coalition, they have to, they are condemned to govern together because we democratically decided it that way. You know what: they can't even give up and organise new elections since those elections would be judged illegal by our upper legal court. They have judged that our election districts are currently illegal and need to be split and reorganised. The last elections were on purpose organised just before the court's deadline as the last government couldn't agree on the reorganisation either. And that's still one of the most difficult negotiation points. Pretty ironic huh that they must have an agreement on that before they can even organise new elections?
I've heard some compromise suggestions already, that were shot down by the opponents immediately...but hey, 1 month ago nobody even suggested some painful compromise alternatives yet.

Hmm no I don't think we are splitting up yet. ...but I hope they start progressing a bit as it is damn boring right now!

Comments

Jan said…
yeah!
I second that - Belgium is not going to be split as long as the belgians like me are around. We just have to get over a generations of politicians who's ego is more important than the every day live of ordinary belgians like me!
Jen said…
This is fascinating. We only get glimpses of the situation in the foreign press. Boring for you, maybe, but I think that's what happens when a nation is a little shell-shocked. I think it's why Americans seem so apathetic about the Iraq war, our civil rights being taken away, our economy plummeting, etc., etc., because we're so sick of dealing with Bush and feeling so helpless about it. And it's become clear to so many of us that our electoral system is broken, and yet... what is the solution? Thank you for sharing all this!
Allie said…
I am thinking that perhaps you should run to rule your country??? Now there is a solution that would make all happy!!
Mike said…
Hmm. I should brush up on my Belgian history. Sounds like you have something interesting going on there.


Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/

http://www.mikeleonen.com/
Goofball said…
@jen: well maybe boring is the wrong word. On the contrary, this is a crucial period. It's just that we've heard the same arguments for 110 days now without much changes.

@allie: me running a monkey country like this?? mmmm, hey I'd be too busy to travel and come and visit you ;). So you wouldn't be happy.
and on a serious note: I don't want to be a dictator, so there needs to be elections....and there can't be elections without a reform first.

@mike: aaah Belgian policits are like a good soap: always new twists, disputes, making-up, .... Very complex though.

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