Blok leader accepts anti-foreigner criticisms
8 March 2004, BRUSSELS - The leader of Belgium's far right Vlaams Blok has admitted that in the past his Flemish nationalist party may have been too hard line on the question of immigration.
8 March 2004
BRUSSELS - The leader of Belgium's far right Vlaams Blok has admitted that in the past his Flemish nationalist party may have been too hard line on the question of immigration.
Speaking on Belgian television, Blok President Frank Vanhecke accepted criticisms that his party may have been anti-foreigner in the past but insisted it had changed its ways.
"In the past we did perhaps tackle the immigration question in too hard line a way," he said.
"Today I am ready to accept that fault without the slightest difficulty," he added.
Commentators say Vanhecke has tried in recent years to present himself as the moderate face of the Vlaams Blok and to distance the party from what many observers describe as a street fighting, rabble-raising past.
Recent opinion polls suggest Vanhecke's efforts to win new Flemish voters to the Blok's cause seem to be working.
A survey carried out by state broadcaster RTBF and national newspaper Le Soir over the weekend found that the Blok could find itself the biggest single Flemish party in Brussels' regional parliament after this summer's regional elections.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Belgian news