Leterme I: game over

More than a year ago there was an election campaign where Yves Leterme, head of the Flemish Christian Democrats CD&V (together with a kartel of Flemish nationalists NVA), former Minister-President of the Flemish government won the elections mainly due to his promise to reform the Belgian state structure to give the Flemish region more autonomy and to split an electoral district (and also because Belgium was a bit tired of the 8-year old government). Very controversial promises on the other side of the language border. Immediately everyone realised that the coalition negotations would be difficult as his Frenchspeaking counterparts clearly didn't trust him.

When celebrating his victory (with plenty of Flemish flags in sight), he claimed never to go into a government without guarantees on that state reform. His party members had claimed that it would only take "5 minutes of courage" to split the Brussels electoral district.

6 months later he had 2 failed coalition attempts and he agreed to step into a temporary technical government lead by our former prime minister Yves Verhofstadt. This government would only take the most urgent measures and in the mean time he'd negotiate for a true new government that had to step in on March 20th. The Christian-Democrats had succeeded to convince their kartel partners to agree with this government even though their was no guarantee yet for a state reform.

When the new deadline came near, it became obvious that Leterme would not succeed in a political compromise among the involved political parties across the 2 language sides in those points of discussion. Leterme reached his deadline and formed a government....with no agreemend on any point yet though. He had simply given himself a new deadline for an agreement: 15th of July. His own party threatened to step out of the government they were leading themselves if the other political parties had not agreed upon the split of the electoral district etc... by then. In the mean time he would proceed a goverment without the promised state reform.

The negotiations went on and the political tactics continued. On the one hand this government was trying to make some decisions and agreements on economic and social matters....while at the same time the provocations across the parties continued. Yet Leterme declared "the atmosphere was good"....and they had reached agreements on the methods to negotiate. Dugh.

Tensions rose again last week and this afternoon it became clear for all involved that no agreement would be reached. Despite a full agreement on the financial matters and economical-social plan, ....Leterme and his partners could not reach an agreement on a state reform. He would go to the parliament tomorrow and ask for a further delay in order to organise a new negotiation structure which would involve the regional governments in the discussions. A new agreement on how to negotiate, but no agreement about the content on its way. A delay which would not be accepted by his own party if they were faithfull to their own declarations of the last week.

13 months after our elections we are without government again. Leterme would be now on his way to the king to resign according to breaking news flashes. I hope the king was not in bed yet or he'll have to get out of his pyama's again to receive this late guest. I guess Leterme has finally realised that his government has no credibility anymore whatsoever. They'd become a joke even before they had started. His 5 minutes of courage have turned in a very painful year for the entire country.
The formation of a new government can start again (they can't organise elections just like that as the electoral district around Brussels has been declared in contradiction with our constitution so it must be reformed before any elections....ironically enough that's the point they can't agree upon). I think he had no other choice. I hope some more moderate parties that have not pushed themselves in the corner with unrealistic promises can take the lead now and soften the tensions. But I fear it'll remain crazy for another while! Arggggh. Stupid macho narrow-minded politicians. I'd like to smack them all in the face.


(will be continued unfortunately)

(more background info here)

Comments

Betsy said…
Ongelofelijk!!!!!!
Lilacspecs said…
The government here confuses me. I really don't see any advantages whatsoever to Walloniƫ and Flanders being one country. I know it's not as simple as that, but it just seems like a losing battle to keep two sides together that don't want to be together.