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Insula Dei
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« Reply #75 on: September 04, 2011, 02:43:23 pm »
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And I bump this thread, because things are getting started again.

We now have 7 parties sitting around the negotiating table, to try and flesh out the Di Rupo report to a principal agreement for the next government. The PS, sp.a, MR, OVLD, and CDh are no surprises at this point of the formation, the CD&V is. Wouter Beke asked and got a guarantee that negotiations would be holding his conditions in the back of their mind when they'd get startes, and in return agreed to break his party's ties to the N-VA.

The N-VA likely not being in the next government is a pretty big deal (,obviously,) and the big question is what voters will make of it. In that respect, it's crucial that negotiations get somewhere before the end of September and the start of a parliamentary year that will be dominated by the run-up to next year's municipial elections, which may well be the most important elections in Belgium since the 1990s, as the future of the Flemish right lies in the balance. If the N-VA can unroot the CD&V and VB, and create its own strong, local networks and structures, the former parties may very well be done for, and we will be left without credible non-nationalist conservatives, the consequences of which would be huge. 

At the same time, the N-VA is having a couple of rough weeks, as they are still in limbo when it comes to the question whether they'll get stuck with the blame for the current fiasco. Today, BDW once again gave a rare interview which only served to illustrate why not giving too much interviews is a wise policy. Saying that he hoped for the negotiators to fail, and saying that it was just the same with the ecologists and Fukishima, may prove to have been a uncarefull move, even if the laughably incompetent Flemish media failed to point that out.

Also today, we had a failed edition of the 'Gordel', a semi-political, recreational happening which aims to stress the Flemish character of the area surrounding Brussels, which failed to attract a lot of people and/or prominent politicians. Might this be an apt metaphor for a separatist engine running out of steam? (The much more important Ijzer Pilgrimage, a huge, explicitlyb political gathering which serves to commemorate the Flemish dead of WWI and the pacifist character of the Flemish Movement, also was low on inflammatory rhetoric and high on people showing restraint.)
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« Reply #76 on: September 04, 2011, 02:48:38 pm »
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So, it looks like Belgium is gonna make it?
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« Reply #77 on: September 04, 2011, 02:55:22 pm »
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So, it looks like Belgium is gonna make it?

Oh no, it's wtill way to early to predict something like that, it's just more likely than a year ago.

As it happens, I had the opportunity to overhear quite a bit of the slightly too loud conversation of a couple of N-VA operatives (I assume they were that, as they seemed to know the ins and outs of the political scene and did have the habit of referring to BDW as 'Bart', and voiced the opinions to go with it) in a Brussels café last friday, and they surely did not seem to think Belgium was about to make it. But then again, I assume they'd be the last ones to believe something like that.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #78 on: September 21, 2011, 08:33:43 am »
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And I should perhaps drop a little 'we did it' here, as last thursday night the 8 negotiating parties managed a break-trough on the most troublesome major issue: the electoral district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, which will be broken up before the next federal elections, in return for the possibility to register to vote in Brussels for the inhabitants of 6 mainly-francophone municipalities in Flanders and a statute that would be equivalent to that of mayor for 3 francophone mayor-elects in Flanders, who still were awaiting the confirmation of their election from the Flemish government.

Of course this still is only a first step, but I'd be surprised if the parties weren't in too deep to back down now. Other issues include the financing of the regions and the deficit (as center-left daily De Morgen put it: B-H-V Broken Up!!! (Now we only have to safe the Welfare State)) as well as the exact make-up of the next government.

The MR-FDF alliance already has broken up over the agreement and it's a distinct possibility that the Greens may yet be dropped from the coalition.
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« Reply #79 on: September 21, 2011, 08:48:37 am »
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Interesting. So, why did the MR-FDF split?
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« Reply #80 on: September 21, 2011, 09:54:55 am »
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Interesting. So, why did the MR-FDF split?

The FDF's core electorate (well, only electorate, even if they now nominally exist in Wallonia proper) are francophones in Brussels or the 'rand' (area directly surrounding Brussels, which is part of Flanders but very francophone in places). To these people anything short of an adhesion of large parts of the 'rand' to Brussels would be seen as selling out. When this deal was struck the FDF really had little choice left.

Another thing to remember is that the FDF is not strictly speaking a liberal, or even right-wing party, like the MCC and the PRL were. It is centrist to centre-left on economical issues and it's common grounfd with the remainder of the MR is mainly that both aren't the PS and that they're both targeting a similar electorate.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #81 on: September 25, 2011, 04:12:25 pm »
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And my initial hopefull expectations are proven largely right, as the negotiators have reached agreements about more fiscal autonomy for the regions and the situation in Brussels (,tho the latter one is perhaps a bit meagre). This time next week, Belgium may very well have a government again.

The N-VA's reaction is laughably inadequate, and often doesn't amount to anything beyond rehearsing some stale talking points and predictable hyperboloc assaults on the agreements that have been reached. I'd be surprised if they didn't start a long and painfull decline in polls over the next months.

And we do actually have a 'new' poll, (taken by La Libre Belgique between 9 and 19 september, mainly before negotiations started to do tremendous)

Flanders:

N-VA   36%
CD&V  15.1% (sad, really)
sp.a    14.1%
OVLD  12.5%
VB       10.7%
Groen  7.2% (who knows, one of these days the greens may beat the VB)
LDD     <1% (lol)

Wallonia:

PS          37.1%
MR          21.9%
Ecolo      13.8%
CDh        13.4% (note: the CDh now has a new leader: Benoit Lutgen, who still is quite close to Milquet)
no FN (despite their bump in that poll last spring)

Brussels:

PS         26.3%
MR         25.4%
Ecolo     12.7% (quite weak)
CDh       10%
Flemish breakdown unavailable (?)

Notes:

* Let's just hope this poll doesn't muddle the waters enough to enable the N-VA to claim that Flanders rejects the aforementioned agreements. This poll is clearly largely useless by now, except as an indicator of the impact of the new developments which we'll see in the next poll.

*No mention of the FN, might mean that their last polling result was an irrelevant blip, or that La Libre needs to get its reporting tidied up.

*Also interesting is that the PS now almost certainly is by far the largest party in Brussels. Again, we'll need to see the next poll to know how much support MR will lose over the FDF-split

*Perhaps also interesting are the personal ratings of the politicians, which are variable across the regions, but surprisingly all regions have representatives of the 'other side' in their top 3.

Wallonia:
Di Rupo (PS)   52%
Milquet  (CDh) 27%
Verhofstadt (OVLD)/Javaux (ecolo) 24%

Brussels:
Di Rupo (PS) 48%
Reynders (MR) 29%
Verhofstadt (OVLD) 25%

Flanders:
BDW (N-VA) 56% (really, Flanders?)
Di Rupo (PS) 31%
De Croo (OVLD) 28% (wtf,wtf,wtf)

Also, quite funny how much some francophones now seel to love Verhofstadt. (Though I do believe the Dutch must love him even more, going from the way he's sometimes portrayed in their media).
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« Reply #82 on: September 26, 2011, 01:24:21 am »
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The best thing Belgium could do would be splitting into two states.

Brussels should stay neutral and stateless by becoming the "capital" of the European Union; it would act as good as the the transatlantic analog to Washington D.C.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #83 on: October 07, 2011, 08:15:56 am »
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And on and on goes the negotiating machine that the Eight Party Talks have become. We now also have managed to split the judicial arondissement B-H-V, which one should not confuse with the constituency as well as settling some less important issues.

The reaction of the Flemish Nationalists is pretty idiotic. De Wever himself managed to almost sound like some sort of unpleasant1990s Vlaams Blok politician by remarking that the B-H-V deal (which would enable anyone to have a trial in his or her primary language anywhere in Belgium) 'was equivalent to the presence of Turkish or Moroccan judges in Bruges or Ghent'. Also, there's a lot of whining about the non-availibility of the actual texts of the agreements to the opposition. Not a very smart move.

The absolute prize in idiocy must however be awarded to the Flemish federal representatives from Brussels who only now noticed that with the Flemish voters from Eastern Flemish Brabant cut off from Brussels, and with the Senate's current form abolished there was absolutely no way they would ever be able to get elected in an 85%-90% francophone Brussels, with quite a few voters on the Flemish left also less than totally determined to vote on their side of the linguistical divide.

The great ambition/idée fixe of the N-VA (and by extension of the entire Flemish political spectre) always implied that significant numbers of Flemish-Brussels voters would in practice be disenfranchised, or at the very least that Flemsih-Brussels politicians on the federal level would become a rarity. The fact that people only notice now that unfortunate side-effect to disenfranchising francophone voters in the Rand is really, really idiotic.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2011, 04:35:18 pm by belgiansocialist »Logged

Insula Dei
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« Reply #84 on: October 11, 2011, 07:36:09 am »
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I don't know whether anyone actually reads this thread, but on this historic day not posting something would almost be a crime.

Today the negotiators presented the blueprint for the 6th Constitutional Reform (Staatshervorming) in Belgian History. This should see the power of the regions bolstered, and their fiscal autonomity improved. I could explain further, but it's not really interesting if you don't live here, so I won't.

Not unimportant for the people on this site, it'll also have quite important electoral repercussions. (As I've already pointed out before). Firstly, the bilingual electoral district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde is gone, to be replaced with one unilingual Flemish-Brabant electoral district and one bilingual Brussels district. Secondly, the Senate will from now on be elected by the regional parliaments, meaning that there now is no way any given politician could rpesent himself to the whole of Flanders or Wallonia, let alone to the whole of the country. (Sad) Most importanly, perhaps, from 2014 on regional, European, and federal elections will all fall on the same Mega-Sunday, leaving only the municipal/provincial elections as a 'referendum' on the government. This also means federal terms will now last 5 years. The election date will be set by the regional parliaments and will probably be semi-hardcoded in the constitution.

I'm obviously a bit angry about the disappearance of anything resembling a 'nationwide constituency', especially as a truly federal electoral district has been a recurring theme in public debate since at least 2006 or so. The future Senate seems like a recipe to get a useless chamber filled with the products of nepotism and inner-party dealings, rather than a meeting-place between the regions that would have any actual impact .

I'm quite mixed about the joining together of all major elections. I regret the loss of all possibility of a different dynammic on the regional and the federal level, but on the other hand symmetric coalitions should make the relations between the two levels easier. Also, we will no longer have a major election every 2-3 years, with all the consequences for public discourse that one can easily imagine.

The one major problem that I see here is that we may see a completely dysfunctional situation where the federal government has fallen, but new elections cannot possibly be called. I hope that possibility is seriously considered in the final document.

The formation of an actual government should be under way from today, and will likely be a matter of days and weeks, rather than of months Smiley
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« Reply #85 on: October 11, 2011, 08:26:30 am »
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Mightn't some of the Francophone parties just run in Flanders? Seems like they should be able to get over the threshold just from votes in Halle-Vilvoorde given how low the threshold is.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #86 on: October 11, 2011, 08:39:20 am »
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Mightn't some of the Francophone parties just run in Flanders? Seems like they should be able to get over the threshold just from votes in Halle-Vilvoorde given how low the threshold is.

Interestingly, this already happens on the regional level, where the Union des Francophones (basically an alliance of PS, MR, FDF, and CDh) has had a Member in the Flemish Parliament for as long as that institution exists.

And there just might be enough votes in Flemish-Brabant to manage the same on the federal level, (though I dare to doubt this as 1/122 is easier than 1/85 or something like that, and a 5% treshold is quite high when you don't have any voters in half your constituency.). But the major issue there is that an additional representative in the federal parliament would weigh on the inter-party balance of power in Wallonia. I can't see the PS give the MR an additional liberal-leaning representative, or vice-versa. Never say never, though.

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Insula Dei
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« Reply #87 on: October 13, 2011, 09:52:52 am »
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And the Greens are out (, mainly because OVLD didn't want to govern with Groen!). Which means we're heading for a classical tripartite Government.

The interesting bit is whether the Greens will retaliate, as Wouter van Besien already hinted they might only last week.

Anyway, I've still to post this VRT/DS poll which dates back to last week:

N-VA: 35,0%
CD&V: 19,3%
SP.a: 14,4%
O-VLD: 11.9%
Groen!: 9,2% (!!)
VB: 8,2% (!!!!!!)
LDD: 1,7%

As I sort of predicted, Groen! is now ahead of the VB and the only non-N-VA party that's significantly up.

Also, an opinion poll published today suggest 43% of Belgians thinks Nazism 'contains interesting ideas'.


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Insula Dei
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« Reply #88 on: November 21, 2011, 07:48:35 pm »
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And the immense failure that is Belgian politics after 2007 continues as 'formateur' Di Rupo resigned today when he faield to reach an agreement with OVLD/MR about the extent to which the Belgian social security system should be destroyed. The N-VA is calling for an 'emergency government without the socialists'. If that happens I'll buy an sp.a membership card.
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« Reply #89 on: November 21, 2011, 08:53:19 pm »
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So, what do you think about the idea of splitting Belgium in Flemish and Walloonian countries?

(sorry if you have answered this already)
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #90 on: November 26, 2011, 05:12:16 pm »
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Looked like we were back to square 1 for a moment, but today an agreement was reached on financial measures to be taken in order to stop the alarming rate at which Belgian interest had been rising troughout the latter half of the week (Going from 5 to 5,85% in a matter of days) and as a reaction to our 'degradation' with S&P. (Frankly, who takes these people seriously?).

This means we're heading for the actual formation of a government. All that has to be done now is the partition of posts in the next federal government. We already know neither sp.a leader Bruno Tobback nor OpenVLD leader Alexander De Croo will be cabinet ministers in that government. (There are way too many tier-1 en tier-2 politicians proportional to the number of cabinet positions.)


So, what do you think about the idea of splitting Belgium in Flemish and Walloonian countries?

(sorry if you have answered this already)

Short answer, I think it an abhorrent, unrealistic idea that is also not wanted by a majority of either the Flemish or the Walloons.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #91 on: November 30, 2011, 06:30:26 pm »
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And we have a government! (after only, what, 541 days of formation? That still is pretty good, no?)

Oaths would be taken on Monday, so in just 4 short days, Di Rupo I should be a fact with as main attraction the first socialist Prime Minister of Belgium in 37 years.
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« Reply #92 on: November 30, 2011, 08:22:46 pm »
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Fingers crossed until the swearing in is finished, right?
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« Reply #93 on: December 04, 2011, 08:14:50 am »
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Today and yesterday all 6 parties of the next government had the goverbing agreement ratified by their membership, without noteworthy opposition.

Speculation about the cabinet can now begin. I've amused myself by trying to make a little list, even if it's useless for 99,9% of readers here:

Certainties:
Elio Di Rupo (PS) as Prime Minister
Joelle Milquet (cdH) as vice-Prime Minister (though she has been very uncommiting on the topic, don't think there'll be a major surprise though)
Didier Reynders (MR) as Vice-PM (major victory in the ongoing MR civil strife over the Michel family)
Laurette Onkelinx (PS), probably also a vice-PM, though it may also go to:
Paul Magnette (PS), who still is the party's heir to Di Rupo

(Very) Likely:
Vincent van Quickenborne (OpenVLD) as Vice-PM (Huh)
Steven Vanackere (CD&V), probably as vice-PM, if he doesn't make it in, we might have:
Servais Verherstraete (CD&V)
Pieter de Crem (CD&V)
Johan Vandelanotte (SP.a) very likely as Vice-PM
Annemie Turtelboom (OpenVLD)

Who Knows:
Charles Michel (MR), can't really see this happen, though I'm curious about the second MR cabinet position
Marianne Thyssen (CD&V), again that would be quite the come-back, don't see it happen
Wouter Beke (CD&V), probably likes his party leadership too much to risk it
Caroline Gennez (SP.a), very high profile and with no other plausible future on the same level, yet unpopular.I actually suspect we'll see a blandish second SP.a minister, like
Renaat Landuyt or Dirk Vermaelen or the more exciting John Crombez*
Benoit Lutgen (cdH), in the unlikely case of two cdH ministers, why not???
Karl-Heinz Lambertz (PS), now this would be fun

*: does have the handicap of being Vandelanotte's former cabinet chief, the inner-party balance might be disturbed by having both of them be minister


Oh, and there's a new poll by La Libre Belqique showing the N-VA at 39.8%. Fun times!!
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« Reply #94 on: December 05, 2011, 11:32:39 am »
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Congrats to Belgium on rejoining the developed world!


So if my math is right the new government is made up of...

40 Socialists, 27 from Waloonia and 13 from Flanders.

28 Liberals, 15 from Waloonia and 13 from Flanders.

and 26 Christian-Democrats, 17 from Flanders and 9 from Waloonia.

Giving the government, 51 members from Waloonia and 43 from Flanders.

In opposition is the Flemish Alliance at 27, the pan-Belgian Greens at 13, and the Flemish Separatists at 12. There are also 2 semi-Independents.

This leaves an opposition of 45 Flemish and 5 Walooners.


So in short, all French are in the government but not all government are french.
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Insula Dei
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« Reply #95 on: December 06, 2011, 12:30:00 pm »
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Belgium's new government:



A gay, immigrant, francophone socialist takes the oath as Belgian Prime Minister:



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« Reply #96 on: December 06, 2011, 02:35:06 pm »
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Good luck, Belgium.
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« Reply #97 on: December 06, 2011, 02:37:24 pm »
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Good luck, Belgium.


^

You'll need it.
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« Reply #98 on: December 06, 2011, 03:56:26 pm »
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Who is the guy falling asleep in front of Elio di Rupo?
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« Reply #99 on: December 06, 2011, 04:01:31 pm »
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So he's the first socialist and the first francophone in 30 years, then?
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The idea of parodying the preceding Atlasian's postings is laughable, of course, but not for reasons one might expect.
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