Election fever

Next Sunday, 3 years after last federal elections and 53 weeks after last regional/European elections, all Belgians* are heading to the voting offices again since their government stepped down over a never-ending state structure row.

The first days all reactions seemed to focus to the disgust that the government & politicians had failed again and who was to blame for he failure. Celeb's claimed not to go voting out of protest and the anti-voting anti-election Facebook groups popped up with every blink of the eye.

But there's much at stake so it is important to vote and little by little the attention shifted to the campaining.

An obvious important theme is the future (structure) of Belgium. For the first time I think it's been so openly discussed whether we want to continue as a country or not. Every party now claims a reform needs to happen, also in the south of our language border. But what and how much is open for discussion....much heated discussion.

3 Flemish political parties want to strive for Flemish independence : LDD is marginally small, the extreme-right VB is fortunately shrinking further but the NVA seems to have become the socially accepted Flemish extremist party and is predicted to be the main winner of these elections. Formerly the little ally of the CD&V , they might now become their big leading brother.
The NVA does not want a revolution or immediate Flemish independence since they know there is no majority supporting that yet...but they see the next reform as a necessary first step in an evolution that has to evolve towards Flemish independence.
All the other Flemish parties want to evolve to a Belgian confederation where the main powers are with the regions and only few things remain at a federal level. How and what specifically is rarely clear.

I must say I found it on the one hand refreshing to hear them finally express whether they still see a Belgian future openly after 3 years of failing negotiations & emotions & intrigues and changing viewpoints. At the same time it was very disturbing.

Seriously there is so much that must get rationalized in our state structure: BHV must get split, federal & regional elections should be at the same date to release the "election" stress & macho behaviour from the political parties and to avoid too much switching of candidates from the one parliament to the other, I would love a federal voting district that allows the main politicians to defend themselves for all Belgians rather than just their language part, some powers that logically are linked are now split over federal & regional districts etc....
How crazy is it that we think a tv-show that has a representative of each political party, French & Flemish is historic? Why are we surprised that our federal government doesn't work if the main players from each side of the language border have not met each other or talked to each other before they end up in the same government?? Dugh.

But splitting a little country like Belgium is madness in my opinion and the structural reform , although needed, shouldn't block the governing of other serious issues. First of all we need stability now so can everyone please stop making bold statements. It's proven in 2007-2008-2009 & 2010 that that doesn't help at all.

So it was a relief to finally see other campaigning topics getting the attention.
How were the budgetary deficits in a Europe where the Euro is under constant pressure lately being adressed? Where will we do budget cuts...at which government's level? And what about taxes?
How will we stimulate the economics again? How can we ensure the retirement plans for all Belgians in the future?

Aaaah now the discussions got interesting. This is what I want to hear! Who has sound propositions and who is stuck in some general witticism? Who is vague and who is specific and who dares to tell us that it's going to hurt.
(interesting fact too that none of these topics were a main part of the discussions among the Wallonian political parties)

Nevertheless I find it quite difficult to make up my mind. No program truly fits my opinion and I'm not sure which topics are the most determining for me. Do I vote for the few persons I respect (and what if they are spread over some parties) or do I vote for the political party with a philosophy closest to mine? I know perfectly which coalition of parties I'd like to see in a government and which ones I distrust or which ones have totally lost all possible credibility over the last years to me. Unfortunately I can't vote for a coalition :p

Unlike last year when I went to the voting booth hardly awake in the morning after our wedding and where I gazed a bit in amazement who the hell was on the lists, this time I took my time to follow the campaigning. Because these elections are crucial and I'm rather pessimistic about the outcome where I fear the result will force stubborn parties that distrust each other to sit around the table.


* Belgians don't have the right to vote....they have the duty to vote. In theory not showing up to vote might result in a penalty, but it's generally known that the courts are not pursuing the absent voters in the last decade(s).

Comments

Lilacspecs said…
Yeah, I can't say I'm jealous of the Belgian voters this year.

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