Magnette plays poker again: ‘outstretched hand’ to N-VA is mainly seen as a push on Open Vld, to fold

A bit of theater, that’s how Paul Magnette (PS) communicates at other headquarters. The PS chairman internally stated that negotiating with the N-VA is just about the only option left. But hardly anyone in the Wetstraat believes that purple-yellow is suddenly coming: it mainly seems to be a method for folding Open Vld. There they received via hints that they are “off”, if they do not agree with Vivaldi. That leads to annoyance.

In the news: Socialist presidents, Paul Magnette (PS) and Conner Rousseau (sp.a), brief their supporters about the talks.

8AM Wetstraat Insider

The details: Both argue that conversations with N-VA seem inevitable.

  • Monday is the day of party agencies in the Wetstraat: the moment when chairmen feedback with the rest of their party leaders. At sp.a and PS it was time for those agencies yesterday provide a thorough update on the state of affairs.
  • Magnette and Rousseau have had a round of probing conversations together, which have certainly gone far and deep with some chairmen. They have eight other chairpersons (from N-VA, Open Vld, MR, CD&V, cdH, Ecolo, Groen and DéFI) seen twice now, and so each made a round-up.
  • At the PS that was a pretty surprising meeting, which lasted no less than three hours. From there it is no particular “mandate” has come, or any decision taken. But Magnette explained, and was sharp in doing so.
  • The chance that Vivaldi, the dream coalition for the PS, will succeed is very small, Magnette acknowledged to his own troops. “The price that the liberals put, to go without the N-VA is just too high, “the chairman described it, a party source says.
  • And so you come inevitable in constructions with the N-VA because all other scenarios have been ruled out by the crisis. “The chairman has explained all this, the position of the other parties has been reviewed, but it is not the case that choices have been made,” an attendee underlines. “But what is left of options is limited, and will probably be with N-VA, or it will be elections.”
  • That message, that with N-VA should be governed, or that there will be elections, led to a long discussion, that is previously remained undecided, according to our sources. Internally, the PS is quite divided: among others, senior players such as Elio Di Rupo (PS) and Laurette Onkelinx (PS) would be in favor, but there are also opponents.
  • Striking: the French-speaking press, including Le Soir and LN24, went much further in their interpretation of Magnette’s message: statements surfaced that “Vivaldi was dead” and that it was “either with N-VA or elections” coming from the PS.

Meanwhile with the Flemish socialists: The door to N-VA is also open.

  • For the sp.a it was a “positive meeting”, with a lot of unanimity, attendees confirm. The baseline is that Vivaldi (a purple-green coalition, supplemented with CD&V) remains the ‘preferred coalition’, but immediately got Rousseau also has the mandate to “form a government anyway”, with N-VA if it has to. “We have to show that the country remains manageable,” it is said.
  • There is also annoyance among the Flemish socialists about the way in which the current residual government “just want to continue“. “Obviously Alexander De Croo (Open Vld) and Koen Geens (CD&V) want their parties to negotiate” from the government “: then their seat is assured. But we just have to negotiate a whole new team ”, the sp.a tells us.
  • Rousseau also pleaded for his agency “Sincere” negotiations: “We really don’t want to participate in games anymore: that something has to fail first, so that another formula can succeed? Sorry, we have had that for over a year now, ”summarized a Flemish socialist. “But if Magnette is now gently preparing his troops, there is a possibility.”
  • In the meantime, at the PS you hear that it is “really not the intention to let something fail first, for something else succeed“. “That is good to completely spoil the atmosphere again”, says a high source.

The essence: The mistrust of the PS chairman is enormous.

  • The Socialists may assure everyone that it is not a tactical move by Magnette to open the door to N-VA, but that is exactly the feeling that lives at three parties: Open Vld, MR and N-VA.
  • The Flemish nationalists were not tender for the PS internally, after Magnette used fierce language on Sunday at the address of the N-VA. On The Seventh Day the PS chairman had come to say “that the N-VA is lying beg to be in government“And also underline” that the PS incontournable and the N-VA is not ”.
  • That message did not exactly go well with Bart De Wever (N-VA) and the party top. That, in combination with a week of proposals around relance in the super-core, where the N-VA can only decide that they are still very far from the PS, the enthusiasm at De Wever and co did not exactly increase in recent days.
  • In addition, no one has forgotten that Magnette already broke his word twice, in previous negotiations with the N-VA. The skepticism is therefore enormous: the message from the PS that negotiations with N-VA is a transparent shadow play, it can be heard in the wings. Officially, the N-VA will therefore neatly accept the outstretched hand of the PS, in reality it is viewed with more than suspicion.

The big picture: The liberals are as “necessary” in constructions to make a government as the socialists. And they do not appreciate the pressure from the PS.

  • Striking: as with N-VA, Open Vld little faith in Magnette’s move. Because the message to the liberals is very clear: the PS chooses N-VA, and so the Flemish liberals have to get lost. Magnette’s message is, therefore, more than a gesture of peace to De Wever knife on Egbert Lachaert’s throat (Open Fld).
  • “They let us know via via that we have to choose now. “You know what that means, N-VA is there with you“, Has been transferred to us”, according to the top of Open Vld. On Melsensstraat, the entire communication is read as a move, just to get Vivaldi through again. So three cushion on the Keizerslaan: saying one thing to get the other. “So transparent.”
  • But the Open Vld really does not plan to move a lot under Lachaert. Ideally, like N-VA, they looked with horror at what came from the left side of relaunch measures, leading up to the super-core. A measure like the free train rides, that is not to be repeated for Open Vld. “We’re really not going to participate in that anymore, hand out a round like that.”
  • The annoyance about Magnette’s attitude is therefore great: “Besides the socialists, there is no one who has any sympathy for the socialists’ approach at the moment ”, according to Open Vld. There it is also subtly noted that Magnette and Rousseau “are not always on the same page, to say the least”.
  • Now in a Vivaldi step, where CD&V apparently has much less problems at the moment, is not an issue for Open Vld. All the more because blue brother MR also has no intention of moving.
  • Moreover, Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR) is on a collision course with the socialists, after a tough fight with Philippe Close, the PS mayor of Brussels. And the MR chairman only wants one thing: form a front with the Open Vld, one and indivisible.
  • The liberals together have 26 seats in the House, barely less than the 28 of the socialists. Why should we let us play apart“, Can be heard there.

The big question: Can the PS really move?

  • What is happening at the FGTB is being looked at with wide eyes. Because the socialist union has a French-speaking side just experienced a civil war, and the current leader, Robert Vertenueil, has been neatly taken to the cap block.
  • Cat does not believe that the red top man, a confidant of Magnette, who was on the PS line, is being deposed because he did a double interview with Georges-Louis Bouchez (MR): “They were looking for a stick to hit, but the conflict was much broader than this incident, “an insider confirms.
  • The fact is that the PTB / PVDA seems to be gaining more and more control over the socialist union. The dead-painted successor to Verteneuil, Thierry Bodson, is a hardliner that is described as “even more left-wing” than its predecessor. Bodson was already a major opponent of the PS at the time of the Di Rupo government, when he argued against social reform, against a socialist prime minister.
  • How such a radicalized FGTB can ever agree to a coalition with N-VA is a mystery. But they can also hardly go through one door with Open Vld and apparently even MR. Only: you will never make a federal government in this country again. The difference between sp.a and PS is noticeable in that area: while Magnette is looking back all the time and wants to keep his union wing “on the ball”, the Flemish socialists are really sailing a course apart from the ABVV.

And now? On to the next super core, now Friday.

  • Just about everyone in the Wetstraat does not expect that the acceleration has suddenly started with the statements in the PS party bureau. “In any case, the focus this week will be on the new measures to take action,” socialists say. “Next week it will be time for government formation. ”
  • But that super core promises to deliver fireworks anyway. Or better, the run-up to it. Because the previous episode, including the rumble about ten free train rides afterwards, leaves a hangover. For example, people at N-VA wonder whether it is at all is looking forward to being swept along in that exercise.
  • But there is also dissatisfaction among others: “The method of Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR) apparently is that not to contradict, to accept. But that’s how things got through that nobody was waiting for. ”
  • The fact is that the National Bank sends out an unmistakable warning: government expenditures rise from 50.3 percent to 58.9 percent of GDP in one fell swoop. The budget deficit will shoot from 1.9 percent in 2019 to 10.6 percent in 2020. But the deficit would also remain at 6 percent in 2021 and 2022.
  • Those figures show how deep and severe the crisis is going to be. And the National Bank warns: such a 6 percent deficit is not sustainable. Pierre Wunsch, the governor of the National Bank, states that such a national recovery plan, especially if it were very large, “doesn’t make much sense“. Emptying the treasury even further has a greater negative effect than spending money to get out of the crisis, Wunsch says.
  • The question is really how “the ten” can find a large second package. Nonsense reductions in VAT, as happened in the catering industry, really look like water carried to the sea. But will it now, almost inevitably, also be rolled out to other sectors?
  • And also the whole package from the cabinet of Nathalie Muylle (CD&V), who is the Minister of Work the agenda of Beweging.net seems to want to implementDoes it get through? These are the classic left-wing recipes: early retirement, working hours reduction, time credit. The question is whether the N-VA, which itself just wants more flexibility on the labor market, but also the liberals, can go along with that.
  • With this current economic outlook, the need for a government seems more than ever before. The method of “the ten” is exactly the opposite of what is useful: spending money together is not difficult, but if the hard decisions have to be made in the future, a coalition that is connected is essential. The question is whether that is possible, with so much distrust, as described above.

Remarkable: Vlaams Belang must rectify fake news about demonstrations against racism.

  • Multicultural = multi-criminal. ” Anyone who thought that the Vlaams Belang will make his tone softer is mistaken. Because after the various demonstrations against racism, which also led to serious riots in Brussels, chairman Tom Van Grieken (Vlaams Belang) went on the offensive, including images of the rioters and the above slogan.
  • Only, there is some things happening on Twitter. The US social media platform is increasingly taking a stand against US President Donald Trump, where incorrect information is provided with links, and tweets that hate calls are suppressed.
  • And look, Vlaams Belang has apparently also awakened. Because in a second tweet by Van Grieken about the riots, he accused Antwerp mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) “approved” for a demonstration against racism last Sunday.
  • That is manifestly incorrect: in Antwerp, just like in Ghent, such a manifestation was explicitly prohibited by the mayors. After a series of responses from users on Twitter, Van Grieken was obliged to correct: “Rectification: Black Lives Matters was indeed banned in Antwerp by Bart De Wever ”, he suddenly tweeted.
  • It indicates increased alertness to the Interest about fake news. Not illogical, because in politics more and more politicians are pushing for action against social media, who do nothing to curb false information and hate speech on their platforms.
  • Last weekend, Minister of Justice Koen Geens (CD&V) announced that he is thinking about an initiative: “Using social media has not improved things. (…) What Twitter has done to Trump is formidable. In that respect, we are not doing well and we need to look at ourselves. ” Nothing pointed out that it is “a European issue”, but that companies such as Facebook and Twitter will be looking into “what is possible”.

To follow: The political clash about the demonstration against racism in Brussels continues.

  • This morning at 9 am Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès (MR) received the Brussels mayor Philippe Close (PS). The intention was over “To consult” and how “tensions will be avoided in the future”. The reason was the demonstration against racism on Sunday, where 10,000 people had gathered on Place Poelaert in Brussels, at the Palace of Justice.
  • That meeting, which also included the chief of police Michel Goovaerts and Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem (CD&V), was a great sof incidentally: “It was recalled that Belgium is still in a health crisis, and that the protection of people’s health must remain a priority above all. All those present attended to thank the people for their efforts to comply with the regulations, which has helped improve health, ”Wilmès said afterwards.
  • Although according to the measures against corona that kind of meetings are strictly prohibited, the mayor of Brussels had supported the protests. In addition, there was also no order to intervene, when riots started, in which the police unions pointed a close finger at Close.
  • He does not take back his decision to continue the demonstration, despite massive violations of the guidelines on corona. As for the non-intervention, the Brussels chief of police immediately came to the aid of his boss Close. He said on Twitter that he, and no one else, had given the order that day. “I strongly deny that the mayor would have given such an order not to intervene. The decision to intervene, the way in which and the execution of the orders, comes from myself and I bear full responsibility, ”said Michel Goovaerts, the chief of police.
  • Of course Close is and remains politically responsible for the police, besides of course Minister of the Interior Pieter De Crem (CD&V). He was very active in his communication during the corona crisis, when it came to banning things. Throughout the saga around Brussels, he has remained silent until now.
  • Close already announced that the demonstration on the super core Saturday discussed in detail and that De Crem was therefore fully informed. It was already clear there then that liberals and socialists were not on the same page.
  • The police unions are infuriated anyway. Because calculated on a demonstration against police brutality on a black man, in the US, there was heavy violence against the police.
  • At the sp.a, it was meanwhile decided that the politicians who participated in the demonstration, including Flemish sp.a group leader Hannelore Goeman, self-quarantine for two weeks. The party does not want the risks of a corona flare-up to be minimized.
  • Brussels minister Sven Gatz (Open Vld) was also present at the event, and thus ran an increased risk, just like 10,000 others, by ignoring the corona regulations. But Gatz decided not to quarantine. “During the demonstration he was standing on a corner of the square, at a safe distance (1.5 meters) from everyone, with a mask and the necessary hand hygiene before and after the demonstration,” his cabinet said.
8AM Wetstraat Insider


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