You may have noticed that the situation since has remained status quo in my little country: still no government. We went to vote last June, which is almost a year ago now. No result yet. What was the outcome of the elections? In Flanders, the nationalist party NVA (New Flemish Alliance) was the big winner. In the French-speaking part of the country, it was the socialist party that got the most votes. Normally, the two parties with the most votes would come to an agreement and form a new government. Since June, however, this hasn’t been possible. And we’ve seen our dear King Albert II send in a long line of important politicians to solve the problem (the only interesting outcome of this, however, has been the variety of interesting names these mediators have been given: explorer, informer, negotiator to name but a few!)
The strange thing about Belgian politics is that Belgians have to vote for a government that consists of Flemish and French-speaking politicians – however, the Flemish can only vote for Flemish candidates. And the French can only vote for French candidates. Yet still the idea persists that both Flemish and French-speaking politicians govern the country together.
The other strange thing is that the NVA, who thinks that Flanders is ready to become an independent state in Europe, has to come to an agreement with the socialist party in the South, who still sees Belgium as a whole. Plenty of material for discussion here.
I read an interesting quote this morning: “A discussion is like a little boat. If all passengers sit on one side of it, it collapses. You need a balance to move on.”
Are new elections the solution? And what if the same parties win again, as a recent study showed?
In the meantime, “a government of running business” rules the nation. In the meantime, life goes on in this beautiful little country. In the meantime, people from both parts of the country work side by side in Brussels. Because we Belgians do get along together.
Wim from Belgium, living on the linguistic border between Flanders and Wallonia.