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Home News New government: greens get talk, but little real substance

New government: greens get talk, but little real substance

Published on 07/03/2008

Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat), the politician expected to become the new Belgian Premier at Easter, spoke with representatives of the Flemish and Francophone greens yesterday. Earlier the Flemish socialists decided there was little point in further talks.

The invitations to parties outside the present interim government came last night and were a bit of a surprise.

Since Christmas Belgium has been governed by its first asymmetrical coalition, a government of Flemish and Francophone liberals and Christian democrats.

The Francophone socialists are in the government. The Flemish socialists are on the opposition benches.

The search for wider support came after Mr Leterme’s nationalist allies made it clear they would abstain on the government declaration and not join the government just yet.

The talks seem to have been a pretty pointless affair. Within the interim government the Flemish liberals have vetoed the greens and are reluctant to see the Flemish socialists join.

The five present coalition partners are unwilling to modify the budget too. This means there is no scope to take any new ecological or social measures as the greens would wish.

Flemish socialist leader Caroline Gennez phoned Mr Leterme and told him there was no point in talking because the liberals and Christian democrats were unwilling to pursue progressive and social policies.

It is increasingly likely that the government that will take over at Easter will include exactly the same parties as today’s interim administration.

Final stretch

On Monday talks start on the new government’s programme.

The current Deputy Premier, Yves Leterme, has indicated that it will be possible for the Francophone socialists to make changes to the agreements reached earlier between liberals and Christian democrats.

Francophone socialist leader Elio Di Rupo has said that the accords contain "good points", but that a few social corrections will be needed.