31 January 2005
BRUSSELS – A senator from Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt’s party has embarrassed the premier by publicly wooing the extreme-right party Vlaams Belang.
On Monday, public broadcaster RTBF reported that the Flemish Liberal (VLD) Hugo Coveliers had shared a platform with Belang leader Filip Dewinter during campaigning on Sunday.
He said he was ready to consider twinning up with Belang in the run-up to the Antwerp municipal elections in 2006.
He announced he was prepared to form a new right-wing Liberal party that would share power with Belang if it allowed them to secure a majority in 2006.
The news is a significant step for Belang which has been trying to woo the other political parties by promising their leaders help to secure mayoral and council leader positions.
Although the VLD leadership denies it, the far right party claims it is holding talks with eight branches of the Liberal party.
The suggestion is embarrassing for Verhofstadt – an advocate of the view that no democratic party should do deals with Belang.
Last week, Bart Somers, VLD president, also reiterated the party’s position.
It’s likely now that Covelier, who was excluded from the party’s management on 26 January, will be thrown out of the VLD.
[Copyright Expatica 2005]
Subject: Belgian news