Leterme: The right man at the right time?

Leterme: The right man at the right time?

30th November 2009, Comments 0 comments

Flandersnews.be takes a look at how the Flemish papers have reacted to the return of accident-prone Yves Meterme to the helm of Belgium politics.

The return of Yves Leterme to the helm of the Federal Government has dominated the front pages and editorial columns of Flemish newspapers. With the thorny issue of the division of the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde constituency having been entrusted to former Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene, many editorialists appear to have little confidence in Leterme.

"Maybe he's the right man at the right moment."
The financial daily De Tijd writes that it's a good thing that responsibility for finding a solution to the problem of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde has been farmed out to Dehaene.
This means that the Federal Government can concentrate on social and economic issues such as the budget deficit.
With this in mind, maybe an accountant like Leterme is "the right man at the right time."

"A Premier on crutches"
Liesbeth Van Impe writes in Het Nieuwsblad that the Flemish Christian democrats have carried out an exercise in damage limitation.

First former PM Wilfried Martens was sent out to check the lay of the land and now another former Premier Jean-Luc Dehaene has been given the task of defusing the time-bomb that is Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.

The Flemish Christian democrats have created a caricature of what governing at the highest level should be.

The party's main intention is steering the government safely to the 2011 federal elections, even if that is with " a Prime Minister on crutches".

"What about the Francophones?"

De Standaard feels that it is remarkable that Jean-Luc Dehaene has been given the task of finding a solution to Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.

The fact that he was prepared to take on the job gives the paper hope that a way out of the impasse can be found.

The big question remains, what will be the position taken by the Francophone parties?
The governing Francophone socialists now have the chance to drive a wedge between Francophone liberals and radical Francophones within the Mouvement Reformateur (Liberal party).

The paper adds that Francophone Socialist Chairman Elio Di Rupo would no doubt view this as being at least as important as avoiding a crisis within the Federal Government.

"This is his last chance"

De Morgen writes that Dehaene's involvement gives Leterme the chance to have a quiet start to his second stint as Belgium's Prime Minister.

Dehaene's report isn't due until next spring.

It is only then that  Leterme will have to prove that he has enough talent as a diplomat and enough courage as a politician to get the cabinet to agree on a solution for Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde.

This is his last chance.

"No way back"
Het Laatste Nieuws also writes that this is Leterme's final chance.

It's now or never.

The paper's editor Luc Van der Kelen adds: "a Prime Minister of stature would do what he could, but not let the difficult work be done by third parties.

The deadline for Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde is Easter - the moment of truth and there will be no turning back.


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