VLD withdraws support for Onkelinx
21 September 2006, BRUSSELS — The Liberal VLD remains dissatisfied with the small concession that Socialist PS Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx made in a Parliament debate on Wednesday over the controversy around deported gangster Victor Hoxha.
21 September 2006
BRUSSELS — The Liberal VLD remains dissatisfied with the small concession that Socialist PS Justice Minister Laurette Onkelinx made in a Parliament debate on Wednesday over the controversy around deported gangster Victor Hoxha.
VLD Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and PS leader Elio Di Rupo had reached a compromise earlier on Wednesday over the parole of convicted criminals.
The discord between the Flemish Liberals and the Francophone Socialists erupted due to the early release from prison of Kosovo mafia boss and Antwerp gangster Hoxha at the end of last year.
The compromise states that up until 1 January 2007, no serious criminals will be released from prison on parole, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported on Thursday.
And if there are contradictory recommendations over a release — for example between the public prosecutor and the attorney-general (such as in Antwerp) — an additional round of talks will be entered into.
However, Onkelinx only confirmed the second part of the compromise, failing to confirm the postponement of early release schemes for serious offenders.
VLD MPs initially gave their confidence in the minister, but later, at the instructions of VLD chairman Bart Somers, they withdrew their confidence.
Deputy Prime Minister Onkelinx will be given until 12 October, when the motion of no confidence will be voted on. The minister said she was surprised by the turn of events.
The opposition Christian Democrat CD&V and Flemish Interest demanded Onkelinx' resignation, criticising her "slack" policies and attempts to blame the Hoxha affair on the Antwerp public prosecution office.
Onkelinx has requested the Supreme Court to investigate the actions of the Antwerp public prosecution office, stressing that mistakes have been made but that the Justice Ministry was not to blame.
"We need to learn from her mistakes," she conceded to the VLD.
She said Antwerp authorities should have arrested Hoxha when he was sighted in Antwerp, but CD&V MP Tony Van Parys defended the Antwerp prosecutor, saying such criminals can only be tracked down by informants.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news