Expatica news

Vlaams Belang is fascist,insists foreign minister

13 December 2004

BRUSSELS – Belgium’s extreme right party, Vlaams Belang, is run by fascists, Foreign Minister Karel de Gucht has charged.

“It is a party run by fascists. (Vlaams Belang leader) Filip Dewinter is a fascist. We have to face the reality,” said De Gucht on Belgian television on Sunday.

The Vlaams Belang was created last month when its predecessor, the Vlaams Blok, was outlawed by the Belgian Supreme Court for being racist.

The new party has pledged to continue the Blok’s xenophobic policy on immigration and will still fight for the independence of Flanders.

The party’s popularity is still on the rise, coming second in the regional elections in June when it took 24 percent of the vote and thrashed the VLD party of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

Its challenge to the political establishment has stirred up passionate debate among mainstream parties who want to keep the far right party out of any governing coalition.

De Gucht has said he is ready to debate with Vlaams Belang but not negotiate with it or accept it as a coalition partner.

VLD leader, Rik Daems, said in a statement that it was out of the question to form coalitions with the party after the commune elections in 2006.

Frank Vanhecke was re-elected as president of Vlaams Belang on Sunday, signalling the party’s determination to continue with its previous racist policies despite the change in name.

Vanhecke, who first became leader of the Vlaams Blok in 1996, was elected by a 94.2 percent majority.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news