Cordon sanitaire also at threat in Limburg
15 March 2006, BRUSSELS — Inquiries by a Flemish newspaper have indicated that four of the 44 municipalities in the province of Limburg have not ruled out co-operating with the extreme right Flemish Interest after the October local council elections.
15 March 2006
BRUSSELS — Inquiries by a Flemish newspaper have indicated that four of the 44 municipalities in the province of Limburg have not ruled out co-operating with the extreme right Flemish Interest after the October local council elections.
The four mayors — Jos Beuls (Christian Democrat CD&V in Zutendaal), Theo Kelchtermans (CD&V in Peer), Hugo Philtjens (Liberal VLD in Kortessem) and Johan Vanschoenwinkel (VLD in Wellen) — said they are prepared to break the 'cordon sanitaire' under certain conditions.
In response, CD&V leader Jo Vandeurzen said the stance of his party's mayors is "balanced", newspaper 'Het Belang van Limburg' reported on Wednesday.
The mainstream parties in Belgium set up a cordon sanitaire around the Flemish Interest party at the start of the 1990s to exclude it from public office.
But support for its continuation appears to be waning, not because mainstream politicians now support the Flemish Interest's extremist policies, but because the cordon sanitaire has failed to stop the rise of the Flemish Interest, which now attracts 25 percent of the Flemish vote.
Schoten Mayor Harrie Hendrickx initiated discussions around the issue on Monday, saying he is prepared to enter a coalition with the Flemish Interest if the CD&V and VLD do not gain a majority in the 8 October local elections.
Newspaper 'Het Belang van Limburg' subsequently found that 4 Limburg mayors are also considering breaking the cordon sanitaire.
However, newspaper 'Het Gazet van Antwerpen' — which conducted similar inquiries in its province — encountered more cautious reactions.
According to Flemish Interest leader Filip Dewinter, the municipality of Boom could by also lead a possible breach of the cordon sanitaire.
"There are some talks. No one admits it, but clever politicians are silent now, otherwise they are committing political suicide," he said.
Local CD&V leaders deny that agreements are being entered into, but they have not rejected outright a coalition with the Flemish Interest either.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news