A Christmas miracle?

You'll never believe it, but it looks like we'll get a new federal government sworn in this Friday and they should get the confidence of our parliament government on Sunday (poor guys, they'll have to work this weekend ;) )!

After 192 days our ex-prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has reached an agreement with 2 Flemish political parties (liberals and Christian-democrats) and 3 Wallonian political parties (liberals , Christian-democrats and socialists) to form an interim government. This government will have a 2/3 majority in the parliament and will be lead once more by Guy Verhofstadt for 3 months.

Yes, it is only a temporary one. The time was apparently ripe for all politicians involved to give up their mutual disagreements at least for 3 months to tackle some urgent issues in our country. I guess the pressure was too high to continue the in depth discussions and fight over words and comma's. The idea has been launched by the king and Guy Verhofstadt.

The discussions this week dealt about who would become in which domain, rather than a common agreement about a big visionary plan. After all, it's going to be for 3 months. The most urgent things will be tackled. In contrast to the current resiging government, this interim government is entitled to take new decisions since it is backed up by the parliament. At the same time they should prepare and work on the in depth agreements for the future government on socio-economic and legal matters and they should set-up a conference to negotiate about a state reform. Since they have a 2/3rd majority, they can actually commit to state reform measures. The deadline has been set for 23rd of March, when Yves Leterme should become Prime Minister of the new government....that is....IF they get an agreement by then, right?


So should we be happy?
  • Well, I suppose it's better than continuing another 3 months with the resiging government who is not entitled anymore to take new decisions, only to keep on managing the old ones.
  • It's good for the European institutions because Belgium was getting really behind in applying the newest European rules in our country and Europe had no negotiating partner in our country anymore.
  • It's good since it is a large majority, so a good base for new decisions supported by the parliament and potential state reform agreements.
  • But it's going to be tough since there are so many parties involved and there is no guarentee at all that it's going to be smooth. Why would it all of a sudden get easier?
  • this is really only a half half solution...but after 192 days, it sounds good enough unfortunately. We've proven to the world again that we are the champions in "compromises"
All in all, there is not that much changed. The counters in all our newspapers with "X days without a government" have to be stopped now and the rest of the world can stop worrying a while that this country is going to split up, while in fact the negotiations can go on for another 3 months.

Comments

I've watched the Belgian story through your eyes with total fascination. Interesting... you're worried about the government not being able to act because there are so many parties involved, and our U.S. government can't act and is deadlocked on most issues with only two parties involved.

Merry Christmas with this miracle, though!
Wholly Burble said…
I hope it works out over-all as a "good" thing. Like jen, I've been following this through your commentary, and I am amazed that the people as a while have been able to carry on through it all. Keep us posted.