Politics

Center of CD&V and Open Vld sows doubt by keeping the door to Vivaldi open: N-VA puts strong pressure on it

Open Vld and certainly CD&V hold the cards against the chest: crisis or not, they do not seem to plan to quickly choose between purple-yellow or purple-green. The ambiguous attitude of Joachim Coens (CD&V) forces N-VA chairman Bart De Wever to come on the scene. Immediately it seems that the honeymoon of Egbert Lachaert (Open Vld) will be very short.

In the news: Half of the population thinks the current federal government is not legitimate and not democratically composed. But three out of four Flemish people think that the minority government is the best way to tackle the crisis for the time being.

The details: Polls paint a picture of a government and its policy parties that receive absolutely no electoral boost. And that in itself is quite strange.

  • A large poll by VRT NWS and De Standaard on about 2,000 Flemish people, which was unloaded in slices, paints a clear picture of where parties and leaders are. The resulting conclusion: the federal government may have had a lot of potential for a short period of time, but that quickly crumbled.
  • Because 75 percent think that the minority government Wilmès II is the best way to tackle the crisis for the time being, but at the same time half of them “not legitimate” and “not democratically composed”.
  • 35 percent think the approach to the crisis is ‘rather good’, 5 to 6 percent are ‘very satisfied’. But on the other hand: 10 percent think it is “very bad”, 33 to 36 percent think it is “neither bad nor good”.
  • Even more striking: none of the government parties get a boost in the polls, on the contrary. CD&V plunged down 3.6 percent to 11.9 percent, Open Vld lost 1.5 percent and fell to 11.6 percent.
  • For the confidence in the prime minister at least equally strong figures: on April 9, 53 percent still had a “very good impression” of Sophie Wilmès (MR), but that dropped to just 30 percent in less than a month. Almost all policymakers, including the Flemish government leaders, were hit in that month of April.
  • The same picture in the popoll: the list of most popular politicians. It includes the top five most popular politicians only one politician who is in the Flemish or federal government: Alexander De Croo (Open Fld). There are also Bart De Wever (N-VA), Tom Van Grieken (Vlaams Belang), Conner Rousseau (sp.a) and Peter Mertens (PVDA): almost all people from the opposition.

The big picture: These survey figures from Belgium contrast sharply with the rest of Europe.

  • For a start: in fact there is no trend in Europe where ideologically “left” or “right” benefits more of this crisis. That is the conclusion of the “poll or polls, Which bundles up a lot of European polls. There is one constant across Europe: Governments and their leaders are progressing everywhere. “So it doesn’t matter what color the government party is, it is the effect of rally round the flagthat you get in crises. People are looking for leaders, ”says Cornelius Hirsch of Politico on fivethirtyeight.com.
    • In Sweden the Social Democrats are winning big, they are the dominant government party.
    • In Germany Angela Merkel is increasing enormously, by 70 percent of the Germans who support her. Her CDU party is continuing in the polls.
    • The right-wing nationalists “Law and Justice” in Poland, which form the government, win just as well.
    • In Italy, the current Prime Minister has Giuseppe Conte now more than 70 percent of people who think he is doing well to very well: unseen for an Italian prime minister.
    • Even in France, where Emmanuel Macron stirs up much more controversy, there was an initial boost in popularity noticeable, but the French president now seems to have lost it.
  • Everything indicates that this effect was initially also present in Belgium: the first figures for Prime Minister Wilmès and her team were much better than what was probed later in April. The shaky communication and successive doubting steps in the run-off of the crisis there are probably a lot in between.
  • Who would also conclude from the crisis that “the left” is now going to win, because “the capitalist system failed”, as you hear in Belgium with the PVDA but also the PS: in the rest of Europe there is already no general increase of parties on the left.
  • What is striking is that two political families all over Europe significant decline in polls, says Hirsch: the extreme right and the greens. There are two reasons: First, in most countries neither family is in power, and they are not benefiting from the “rally round the flag‘-effect. Almost everywhere these are center parties, who are going to run with the “corona profit”.
  • But more importantly, their major themes, respectively “Migration” and “ecology”, or “global warming,” are issues that have just been getting much less attention in recent months, “says Hirsch.
  • That is why Vlaams Belang is rising in Belgium a very atypical phenomenon in Europe. In any case, which is clear from the poll by DS and VRT, and the additional research by UAntwerp and the VUB: the distrust in politics and the so-called “anti-political” sentiment are very high in Flanders.

The essence: So ask for the two government parties, which are also the center parties: Open Vld and CD&V. Why don’t they cash in on their government participation?

  • A few things stand out in the polls, for the liberals and Christian Democrats:
    • Their both chairmen have little profile. Joachim Coens (CD&V) was not in the list of twenty most popular politicians. Also no trace of Egbert Lachaert (Open Vld), although the latter can claim that he was not even chairman at the time of the poll.
    • The leaders in the government do not score, with one exception: Alexander De Croo (Open Vld). But otherwise there is little trace of the “leaders” in this crisis. Koen Geens (CD&V) is the most popular Christian Democrat and saves the furniture, but someone like Pieter De Crem (CD&V), who has been omnipresent in the media for the past three months, really does not score, just like Wouter Beke (CD&V). And Maggie De Block (Open Vld) also lost a lot of ground.
  • It immediately brings to the fore the issue of the moment: how should these government parties behave now profile in this formation of government? Both parties, both CD&V and Open Vld, seem to be making the analysis that they have more to gain in a fully-fledged government than in the current vehicle they are in.
  • But communication this weekend is already threatening to take speed out of that process: because both parties, CD&V and Open Vld, leave the door open for “everything”, for every kind of coalition. For example, the ‘center’ is again completely in the middle, which was also the case for months in the autumn of 2019 and until March 2020.

To think about: Both CD&V and Open Vld communicate cautiously during this phase, they have to play their cards “correctly”.

  • At VRT they had the ambition to bring all party chairmen together in one debate one year later. Not immediately an attractive formula to achieve constructive government formation, with Tom Van Grieken (Vlaams Belang) and Peter Mertens (PVDA) blowing everyone’s neck.
  • Still, it was striking that Joachim Coens (CD&V) and Meyrem Almaci (Groen), among others, did not give a festive thank you for such honor. Even better: the Coens spokesperson tweeted “flower by Tom Van Grieken for Joachim Coens, who would like to enter into debate ”, as if congratulations from Vlaams Belang on such a forum are something to show off for the Christian Democrats.
  • Who did not show up: Conner Rousseau (sp.a), who is working on a reconnaissance round together with Paul Magnette (PS), and Bart De Wever (N-VA), who nothing to gain in the midst of government formation in such an exercise.
  • But Coens, in a shrunken table of presidents, did get noticed. Regarding the endless attempts to bring N-VA and PS together, he said, “This debate has happened.” After which he once again formulated the strategic concern of CD&V: that Flemish government, with figurehead Hilde Crevits (CD&V), must continue to run: “If one finds a solution that secures cooperation between the federal and Flemish governmentsthat’s the most important thing. ”
  • Coens then turned his message completely over to the question of whether the N-VA should enter it federally: “Cooperation is crucial. Anyone who wants to participate wants to come along, but we have to move forwardSaid the CD&V chairman, who did not want to stick to the idea of ​​a Flemish majority.
  • That communication was all the more striking, because at that time Pieter De Crem (CD&V) was on VTM News did state the opposite: N-VA and PS in it. A message that Koen Geens (CD&V) also sent last week in an interview in Knack.
  • That Egbert Lacheart (Open Vld) also did not want to be pegged to a “purple-yellow government”, or an alliance with N-VA, was less surprising: the newly elected Flemish liberal chairman must first glue the chunks internally, and consolidate the party.
  • On the last day of her presidency after all, Gwendolyn Rutten (Open Vld) had casually stated that “a government can just as easily be made without N-VA”. In order not to start an internal controversy from day one, Lachaert must now take it easy.
  • Although the question remains how long Lachaert really lasts. On LN24 this morning he was very clear about one matter: “It is very clear, there is no way Belgium can go the tax champion of Europe turn into. We are already taxing too much in this country. ” Not exactly the slogan to install purple-green.
  • But still, both communication, in combination with that of Conner Rousseau (sp.a) in De Zondag, made sure that the door was particularly wide open to enable another kind of Vivaldi formula, without N-VA. Because the sp.a was also ambiguous: “I don’t care anymore with whombut we must have a government, ”Rousseau said there. Whether that is entirely sincere is another question, but for the time being the picture will hang like this: Vivaldi is possible.
  • That contrasts with French-speaking Belgium. There was only the last few days very little enthusiasm because, among other things, because MR and Ecolo live in war-speaking France in French-speaking Belgium, and Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR) has already indicated several times that they want to join the N-VA. At VRT they had the ambition to one year later to bring all party presidents together in one debate. Not immediately an attractive formula to achieve constructive government formation, with Tom Van Grieken (Vlaams Belang) and Peter Mertens (PVDA) blowing everyone’s neck.
  • Still, it was striking that Joachim Coens (CD&V) and Meyrem Almaci (Groen), among others, did not give a festive thank you for such honor. Even better: the Coens spokesperson tweeted “flower by Tom Van Grieken for Joachim Coens, who would like to enter into debate ”, as if congratulations from Vlaams Belang on such a forum are something to show off for the Christian Democrats.
  • Who did not show up: Conner Rousseau (sp.a), who is working on a reconnaissance round together with Paul Magnette (PS), and Bart De Wever (N-VA), who nothing to gain in the midst of government formation in such an exercise.
  • But Coens, in a shrunken table of presidents, did get noticed. Regarding the endless attempts to bring N-VA and PS together, he said, “This debate has happened.” After which he once again formulated the strategic concern of CD&V: that Flemish government, with figurehead Hilde Crevits (CD&V), must continue to run: “If one finds a solution that secures cooperation between the federal and Flemish governmentsthat’s the most important thing. ”
  • Coens then turned his message completely over to the question of whether the N-VA should enter it federally: “Cooperation is crucial. Anyone who wants to participate wants to come along, but we have to move forwardSaid the CD&V chairman, who did not want to stick to the idea of ​​a Flemish majority.
  • That communication was all the more striking, because at that time Pieter De Crem (CD&V) was on VTM News did state the opposite: N-VA and PS in it. A message that Koen Geens (CD&V) also sent last week in an interview in Knack.
  • That Egbert Lacheart (Open Vld) also did not want to be pegged to a “purple-yellow government”, or an alliance with N-VA, was less surprising: the newly elected Flemish liberal chairman must first glue the chunks internally, and consolidate the party.
  • On the last day of her presidency after all, Gwendolyn Rutten (Open Vld) had casually stated that “a government can just as easily be made without N-VA”. In order not to start an internal controversy from day one, Lachaert must now take it easy.
  • Although the question remains how long Lachaert really lasts. On LN24 this morning he was very clear about one matter: “It is very clear, there is no way Belgium can go the tax champion of Europe turn into. We are already taxing too much in this country. ” Not exactly the slogan to install purple-green.
  • But still, both communication, in combination with that of Conner Rousseau (sp.a) in De Zondag, made sure that the door was particularly wide open to enable another kind of Vivaldi formula, without N-VA. Because the sp.a was also ambiguous: “I don’t care anymore with whombut we must have a government, ”Rousseau said there. Whether that is entirely sincere is another question, but for the time being the picture will hang like this: Vivaldi is possible.
  • That contrasts with French-speaking Belgium. There was only the last few days very little enthusiasm about it, partly because MR and Ecolo live at war in French-speaking Belgium, and Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR) has already indicated several times that she wants to join the N-VA.

The reaction: Bart De Wever (N-VA) appeared on the scene this morning.

  • On Radio 1 he placed a fierce offensive, with regard to the “open” attitude of CD&V and Open Vld. “For me there is an exclusive one: a Vivaldi coalition is out of the question. We are experiencing the greatest economic crisis since World War II. The idea that you would run Flanders, the beating heart of the economy, without a majority, would be very irresponsible. ”
  • “I heard Joachim Coens (CD&V) say that the symbiosis with the Flemish government is very important. And that also says a lot, ”said De Wever, who immediately warned against anti-politics. “The cynicism is incredible, people are increasingly giving their voice to parties who want to crack the system. If we now make a government without a Flemish majority, what do you think will happen to the cynicism of the Flemish? ”
  • He also immediately called on the PS to “to form the most powerful government possible“, And above all to be discreet:” I would recommend everyone to keep silent, who has initiative. It makes no sense to say all kinds of things that provoke resistance. ” In doing so, he formulated two things that are not obvious:
    • “The board has been wiped. Everything that we were socio-economically concerned with for corona is irrelevant. But the choices we are going to make now are very important. The tensions between Northern and Southern Europe are going to be extreme, the question is where do we belong. Flanders belongs to the North, the Netherlands and Denmark. ”
    • “But also around the institutional split and the federal mess we have to find a solutionHe said.
  • That he calls for discretion, but at the same time speaks himself, he indicated as necessary, to also appease his own supporters. It is backed up by proposals to make health care federal again. “How can that be a good idea? Going back to the failed marriage, my mind is too small to understand that. ”

The essence: CD&V and Open Vld are on the swing, but can also lose weight there themselves. That leads to caution.

  • If there ever is to be a purple-yellow squad, the most logical method is the one that has been tried in the past: a deal between the two “gentlemen”, De Wever and Magnette. This implies that the sp.a also comes on board: the socialists absolutely do not want to loose each other, which is why PS and sp.a now take an initiative together.
  • But that poses problems for the “center”. Because a coalition in which the backbone is N-VA, PS and sp.a no longer needs many partners.
    • The MR cannot be ruled out: on the French-speaking side, they are needed to form a government. President Bouchez is very aware of this trump card and will not fail to press it.
    • Open Vld may be closest to the N-VA from a socio-economic and ideological point of view, but it also has a lead through the liberal family, but both are by no means guarantees that they are needed in a purple-yellow squad.
    • After all, the PS has a clear preference for CD&V: ideologically still a bit more in the center than Open Vld. But the Christian Democrats are also not one hundred percent sure of their place, although N-VA and CD&V do stick together well in the Flemish government.
  • It explains why both CD&V and Open Vld like to keep their ‘options open’: unloading Vivaldi too quickly would mean that they themselves open the chairs dance and then fall next to a coalition.
  • It is also immediately clear why both Open Vld and CD&V and even MR, insist on a “negotiation from the center”, or “departing from a government”: if CD&V and Open Vld bind together, they are both guaranteed government participation. However, historically there are not exactly confidential ties between liberals and Christian Democrats: although “new” chairmen such as Coens and Lachaert may change that.

Keep following: Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR) continues to make war with the RTBF and the journalists’ union.

  • After the fierce violence against the police in Anderlecht, MR chairman Georges-Louis Bouchez clashed with the French-speaking journalists’ union. The reason was a journalist from the RTBF who seemed to justify the riots in Anderlecht.
  • Pro memorandum: that hard street violence in Anderlecht caused a cop to have a nose fracture and concussion. The police union VSOA swirled a video online, which largely aroused outrage, especially with politicians.
  • But an RTBF journalist, Sofia Cotsoglou, who is also a former spokesperson for Jean-Marc Nollet, the Ecolo chairman, lashed out on Twitter: “Since when have they been writing a press article based on just one version of the facts? ?! By union authority! These images can just as easily say the exact opposite. ”
  • The MR chairman, Georges-Louis Bouchez, attacked the journalist head-on: “Can there be an explanation for the fact that police officers are beaten? The “saying the opposite”? That the police officers beat those involved? The accountability is the beginning of excuses. I hope this does not determine the editorial line at RTBF. ”
  • The French-speaking journalists’ union immediately responded. Martine Simonis, the Secretary General: “It is time to understand that your position does not allow you, in no way, to behave as a judge of journalistic work. The journalist association AJP recommends that you respect the freedom of expression of journalists. ”
  • But Bouchez does not fold, on the contrary, he takes it a step further. Yesterday at RTL he stated the following: “I am a liberal, I know what freedoms are. Freedom of expression, but that also implies the right to criticism. And when a journalist dares to question whether some have punched a policeman in the face while on the floor, sorry, but then I launch the debate. ”
  • “But you will discuss journalistic deontology,” Pascal Vrebos wanted to know. “As a representative of the people and as a citizen, I have the right to call those who cast doubt on the work of the police, which is completely unjust, to stop. Those images are of an exceptional nature: two police officers on the ground, forty people around them. What do you want? That we run after that man who kicks and ask if the police had also beaten? ” “So you stand firm?” Asks Vrebos. Moreover, there is no reason whatsoever to beat a policeman on the ground in a constitutional state, in a democracy. Sorry, but a journalist, politician, whoever defends it, will cross me in their path, ”Bouchez snapped. A remarkable attitude of a French-speaking president, in order to go to war against the classical press.

Shame, shame, shame: Vlaams Belang has a very embarrassing incident: their MP Dries Van Langenhove was caught during a lockdown party.

  • Just about every sane citizen know by now: gathering in times of coronalockdown is only allowed under very strict conditions. And also: rules are rules, if they are not observed during corona times, the whole of society pays a price.
  • Apparently Dries Van Langenhove, a young MP from Vlaams Belang, had little deeper reflection on this. He was caught at a meeting that was not allowed, and was fined 250 euros for not being able to justify his presence at any time.
  • He was indeed caught at a party. Both the party and Dries Van Langenhove realize that this was an error, which cannot be easily overcome ”, the party spokesman responds to the VRT.
  • He himself seems less aware of the seriousness of the matter: “I sat on a quiet barbecue with eight men, not at “lockdown party”. It is typical that all newspapers start to talk nonsense without calling me. 0.0 journalistic deontology. Nevertheless, as a Member of Parliament I have an example and should have gone home when I saw that there were too many people ”, the man tweeted, which does not exactly sound like excuses, but rather the start of a semantic discussion about what ‘a party is. It is strange that the party spokesperson actually used that word ‘party’ in a response to the VRT. A little later that was changed in “a BBQ” on the VRT site: the version of the facts was therefore adjusted. sane citizen know by now: gathering in times of coronalockdown is only allowed under very strict conditions. And also: rules are rules, if they are not observed during corona times, the whole of society pays a price.
  • Apparently Dries Van Langenhove, a young MP from Vlaams Belang, had little deeper reflection on this. He was caught at a meeting that was not allowed, and was fined 250 euros for not being able to justify his presence at any time.
  • He was indeed caught at a party. Both the party and Dries Van Langenhove realize that this was an error, which cannot be easily overcome ”, the party spokesman responds to the VRT.
  • He himself seems less aware of the seriousness of the matter: “I sat on a quiet barbecue with eight men, not at “lockdown party”. It is typical that all newspapers start to talk nonsense without calling me. 0.0 journalistic deontology. Nevertheless, as a Member of Parliament I have an example and I should have gone home when I saw that there were too many people ”, the man tweeted, which does not exactly sound like excuses, but rather the start of a semantic discussion about what ‘a party is. It is strange that the party spokesperson actually used that word ‘party’ in a response to the VRT. A little later that was adapted into “a BBQ” on the VRT site.
8AM Wetstraat Insider

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