NVA loses confidence, withdraws support
The party congress of the Flemish nationalist party voted almost unanimously on Sunday to withdraw the party's support for the Federal Government.22 September 2008
BRUSSELS -- A party congress of the Flemish nationalist party NVA has voted almost unanimously to withdraw its support from the federal government on Sunday.
The NVA's national executive committee called on delegates to vote to withdraw the party's backing for the federal government. Just a dozen delegates voted against the motion.
The nationalists' decision to withdraw support from the federal government means that Prime Minister Yves Leterme no longer has the backing of a majority of Dutch-speaking MPs. At the last elections, the Flemish Nationalists stood on a joint-slate with Leterme's Christian democrats.
However, with a large majority of Francophone MPs backing the federal government, Leterme still enjoys an overall majority in the Parliament.
No progress after 15 months
An estimated 1,500 NVA members packed into Ghent's International Congress Centre on Sunday where the NVA's national executive committee called on delegates to vote to withdraw the party's backing for the federal government.
Although the party has no federal ministers, it had been backing the federal government in parliament.
However, the failure of the federal government to make any progress on constitutional reform had made this position become untenable for the nationalists.
The party's chairman Bart De Wever told journalists that "After 15 months hard slog, working on constitutional reform, we've come to the conclusion that no progress has been made."
"We're back where we started and maybe even further back than that."
Alliance with Christian Democrats still very important
Despite no longer backing the federal government, De Wever stressed that he still had every confidence in Leterme.
Consequently, the NVA is in favour of continuing its electoral alliance with Mr Leterme's Flemish Christian democrats.
The party also stressed that it has no plans to withdraw from the Flemish government, where it has one minister, Geert Bourgeois.
Speaking ahead of the congress, Bourgeois told journalists that he hoped that the alliance with the Christian democrats would continue.
Bye, bye NVA
Both the Flemish liberals and the Flemish socialists have called for the NVA to leave the Flemish government.
Speaking on the VRT television's weekly debate programme "De Zevende Dag", the Flemish Liberal Party Chairman Bart Somers said the Flemish Nationalist Party now had no place in the Flemish government.
Later, the Flemish Socialist Party Chairwoman Caroline Gennez called on the NVA to quit the Flemish government. Gennez also called for new federal elections to be held.
[flandersnews.be / Expatica]