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Vlaams Belang tries its hand at standardization

The Flemish far right advocates respect for sanitary measures to better overcome the cordon… sanitary.

The Flemish far right advocates respect for sanitary measures to better overcome the cordon… sanitary.

From our correspondent Max Helleff (Brussels) – Last October, Vlaams Belang President Tom Van Grieken refused to install the government-developed Corona application on his laptop to track the virus. He “did not trust the Belgian state”. The far-right leader also denounced the “chaotic course” that the health policy had just followed … while specifying that it was essential to respect the health instructions issued by the same government. “This is only how we will get rid of the virus …”

Almost at the same time, a poll confirmed the Vlaams Belang as the first Belgian political party, in front of the Flemish nationalist N-VA of Bart De Wever in sharp decline.

This “pole position”, the Vlaams Belang has no intention of sacrificing on the altar of the health crisis. Indeed, he abstains from any shattering declaration that would put him at odds with his electorate. If pollsters estimate that around a quarter of Belang’s electoral base does not want to be vaccinated, the party must also count on the voices of many seniors, fatally more fragile in the face of the pandemic.

Three years to convince

For the political scientist Benjamin Biard who quotes The evening, “Vlaams Belang took advantage of the context of the health crisis to pursue its strategy which denounces a“ democratic deficit ”: the rule of law in peril, the supposedly not legitimate government which adopts its decisions by decree … And he denounces poor management of the crisis, a lagging vaccination contrary to the promises of the Minister of Health Frank Vandenbroucke. ” But the Belang does not abound in conspiracy theses. He does not differ in this from the PVV of the Dutchman Geert Wilders who is above all very critical in the face of the delays in vaccination.

According to observers, such a posture reflects the hope of Vlaams Belang to finally become a “respectable” party, capable of coming to power, which would have previously freed itself from the cordon sanitaire which until this day has denied it access to leading political responsibilities. The appointment is set for the next legislative elections in 2024, at the end of which President Tom Van Grieken is expected to visit the king again as a prelude to the negotiations which will lead to the future government. He therefore has three years left to convince his partners that he can join a coalition.

The Vlaams Belang, a “normal party” ?, asks the public channel RTBF. Answer: it still has some way to go towards standardization. This anecdote says it all: a VB municipal councilor from Wuustwezel (province of Antwerp) undertook a pilgrimage on Armistice Day to a German cemetery where she went to lay flowers on the grave of a Dutch Waffen soldier. SS.

The activist had for the occasion put on her traditional Bavarian outfit. Uproar on social networks. Under pressure, the president of Vlaams Belang expelled the councilor for refusing to sign the party charter which demands conduct that is not prejudicial to her. Moreover, still according to Tom Van Grieken, it would not be neo-Nazi.

The RTBF is still worried that the Flemish media no longer qualify the Vlaams Belang as a far-right party, but prefers to use “radical right”. A term which has the obvious advantage of making this party born out of collaboration with the German occupier a political formation like any other.


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