Opposition demands De Gucht’s resignation
13 June 2005
BRUSSELS — Several Belgian federal opposition parties have demanded Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht resign following his controversial criticism of the Dutch prime minister earlier this month.
The Christian Democrat CD&V, New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and Central Democrat Humanistic CdH called for the Liberal VLD minister to resign on Monday.
However, VLD Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was quick to reject the demand: “The minister has offered his apologies and they were accepted”, newspaper ‘Het Nieuwsblad’ reported on Tuesday.
De Gucht said Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende was a cross between boy magician Harry Potter and overly traditionalist middle-class attitudes.
He also criticised in a newspaper interview the manner in which the Dutch government campaigned for its referendum on the EU Constitution.
CD&V parliamentary leader Pieter De Crem said it was “the greatest ever ‘incident’ with our historical ally the Netherlands” since the 19th century. He also called De Gucht “stubborn and conceited, pretentious and arrogant”.
Verhofstadt heard it all with a smile and pointed to the joint statement signed by himself and Balkenende in which they had agreed to put the incident into the past.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news