4 March 2005
BRUSSELS – The majority of Flemish voters want the extreme right-wing party Vlaams Belang to be invited to share power at a regional level.
Some 58 percent of those in Flanders believe politicians should cooperate with the Belang, according to a survey published in Flemish newspaper De Morgen on Friday.
The view of the mainstream parties is that they shouldn’t do deals with Belang, which was last year judged “racist” by the Belgian courts, when it was known as the Vlaams Blok.
Last month, Antwerp senator Hugh Coveliers was thrown out of the Prime Minister’s Liberal VLD party for saying he was preparing to join a coalition with the Belang.
The Morgen survey shows that only 33 percent of Flemish voters are against Coveliers’ position.
The majority of VLD voters seem to disagree with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s stance, since 58 percent of those polled said the VLD should cooperate with Belang.
More than half the Flemish Christian Democrat voters (CD&V) – 55 percent – also support a coalition, as well as 55 percent of the separatist New Flemish Alliance (NVA).
Four out of 10 voters for the social-democrat SPA are also in favour of scrapping the “cordon sanitaire” – the politicians’ boycott of Belang.
Those surveyed were also asked what they thought about the controversial question of whether Brussels-Hal-Vilvorde should become a Flemish, rather than bilingual, commune.
While 45 percent of Vlaams Belang supporters think the issue is worth the risk of a political crisis in Belgium, the vast majority of Belgians don’t think it’s worth the fuss.
Only 25 percent of the Flemish think the question is worth a crisis.
While 63 percent of French speakers want a referendum on the European constitution, just 47 percent of the Flemish do.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news