16 mayors set to break cordon sanitaire
16 March 2006, BRUSSELS — At least 16 Flemish mayors are prepared to enter coalition talks with the extreme-right Flemish Interest after the October local council elections despite the fact that this would be at odds with national party policies.
16 March 2006
BRUSSELS — At least 16 Flemish mayors are prepared to enter coalition talks with the extreme-right Flemish Interest after the October local council elections despite the fact that this would be at odds with national party policies.
Newspaper 'Het Laatste Nieuws' contacted on Wednesday 308 Flemish mayors, 11 of whom were not available or refused to comment. However, 16 indicated they are prepared to consider a coalition with the Flemish Interest.
The most frequent argument against the cordon sanitaire — an agreement by the mainstream parties to exclude the Flemish Interest out of public office — was that "national themes do not count at the local level".
"I don't really see their [the Flemish Interest's] extreme policies extending through to the municipal level," Ledegem Mayor Paul Vanhie said. Vanhie is a member of the local party Actief.
And Liberal VLD Lubbeek Mayor Freddy Vranckx raised the possible scenario in which one Flemish Interest councilor was needed to form a majority. In that case, "we will not let our voters down", he said.
CD&V Roeselaere Luc Martens is not about to turn his back on the Flemish Interest either, pointing out the Flemish Premier Yves Leterme entered into talks with the Flemish Interest after the Flemish regional elections. "What is the problem then?"
Meanwhile, the Flemish Interest is consciously targeting Christian Democrat CD&V mayors with a traditional strong local support base in a bid to break the 'cordon sanitaire', newspaper 'De Morgen reported'.
The newspaper said the Flemish Interest believes these mayors will consider a coalition with the party because they would then be able to maintain their majority rule.
It quoted extremist leader Filip Dewinter who said CD&V mayors without national political ambitions will easily cut party alliances to forge a coalition with the Flemish Interest. He said the tendency was less prevalent among VLD mayors.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news