2009 or 2011?
There is a lack of cohesion within the current coalition.
The current political crisis has opened the debate on whether fresh federal elections should be held at the same time as the European and regional elections in June of next year.
Normally, the next federal elections aren’t due to be held until 2011. The Flemish Christian democrats would prefer for a new federal government to formed quickly and for it stay on until 2011. However, some other parties in the federal coalition disagree.
There has been increased speculation about a continuation of the present coalition; but with a number of new faces being brought to replace ministers that had been discredited as a result of recent events.
All of the coalition parties are in favour of this option.
However, there is disagreement about how long any new federal government should remain in office.
The Flemish Christian democrats are against holding federal election at the same time as the regional and European elections next June.
They point to the fact that the failure to split the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde means that there are constitutional obstacles to organising new federal elections.
The party believes that any government with such a short mandate would lack the authority to deal with the current economic crisis.
However, the Flemish liberals and the Francophone coalition parties see things differently.
They have nothing against holding new federal elections next June.
They point to the lack of cohesion within the current coalition.
Speaking on VRT television, the resigning Belgian Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht (Flemish liberal) told viewers: “I feel that there is an fairly big chance of the federal elections being held at the same time as the regional and European elections in June.”