Francophones will prevent BHV vote in Parliament

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Flemish Christian democrats want to split constituency on Thursday without a deal with other government parties.

7 May 2008

BELGIUM – Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme (Flemish Christian democrat)  is seeking a way out of the crisis his government is facing in connection with efforts to split the Brussels Halle Vilvoorde constituency (BHV).

The governing Flemish Christian democrats intend to put the draft legislation on the agenda of a plenary session of the Chamber of Representatives on Thursday.

Francophone government parties reject the splitting and intend to prevent the vote by new delaying tactics.

Talks between key ministers and party leaders did not go ahead as planned on Tuesday evening, but more consultations will proceed today.

A meeting of the Inner Cabinet took place on Wednesday morning.

Most government parties want the Premier to ask parliament to delay a vote until 15 June. This would give time for the negotiators to come up with a deal.

The Social Affairs Minister, the Francophone socialist Laurette Onkelinx, has said that Francophone MPs will prevent parliament from voting legislation to split BHV on Thursday.

Onkelinx, who doubles as Deputy Premier, was speaking ahead of this morning's meeting of the Inner Cabinet.

The Social Affairs Minister said Francophones possessed adequate means to prevent a vote by lawmakers.

They could invoke a conflict of interests which would delay the vote or table new amendments that would have to be vetted by the Council of State.

The Francophone liberal Deputy Premier, Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders, confirmed that Francophone lawmakers could prevent the vote in the Chamber of Representatives from taking place.

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