Parliament opens without a government
10 October 2007, The Chamber of Representatives and the Senate opened the parliamentary year on Tuesday. The new parliamentary year started on a minor key. There was no policy declaration as there is no new government yet. There were also no ministers on the cabinet benches. The opposition parties criticised the state of affairs during a mini-debate.
10 October 2007
The Chamber of Representatives and the Senate opened the parliamentary year on Tuesday. The new parliamentary year started on a minor key. There was no policy declaration as there is no new government yet. There were also no ministers on the cabinet benches. The opposition parties criticised the state of affairs during a mini-debate.
Traditionally the opening of the new parliamentary year takes place on the second Tuesday of October. The government usually presents its policy document during the first plenary meeting of the year. In the policy document the government presents an outline of the budget. This did not happen yesterday as there is no new government yet.
There were very few items on the agenda on Tuesday. After PS MPs Bruno Grootenbrulle and Camille Dieu had been sworn in, parliament reconfirmed the provisional make-up of the bureau and appointed a number of special committees and advisory committees. In the end the MPs would look into 124 bills. Some of these bills will be dealt with shortly.
During the mini-debate the future opposition parties criticised the state of affairs and the fact that after four months there was still no new government.
According to SP.A faction leader Dirk Van der Maelen it is evident that the county is heading towards a right wing policy. Orange-blue wants to further reduce company tax, so that companies can make even more profits. They will seek the money for this in raising health care and by not raising pensions. "We will tell Flanders that it should prepare itself for a shift to the right," Van der Maelen argued. The SP.A also complained that the orange-blue coalition would reduce the state debt by EUR 4 billion, while the CD&V blamed the previous government for a lax budgetary policy.
MPs for the green parties, Stefaan Van Hecke (Groen!) and Jean-Marc Nollet (Ecolo) repeated their criticism they had already expressed on Monday at a press conference; having no government could not be without consequences. They also find it unacceptable that parliament decided to scrap prime minister’s question time, making it impossible for parliament to keep a check on the government.
According to the president of the lower house Herman Van Rompuy (CD&V), caretaker governments will traditionally not be questioned about current affairs in plenary meetings, to avoid giving the impression that this government would be in office. Asking questions in commissions is not a problem. "We’ll see if we need to review the matter if the crisis continues longer," Van Rompuy stated.
The faction leader of Vlaams Belang, Gerolf Annemans, said he did not at all feel the need for a question time with the outgoing government. "We should not give these men and women of the past the impression that they are still important. The electorate voted them out. But what we do need is a debate on the state of affairs now," Annemans said. He accused orange-blue of committing a communal coup by announcing that the state reform will be shelved. "We’ll only get a Leterme cabinet."
[Copyright Expatica News 2007]
Subject: Belgian news