Belgian politicians begin a second day of talks in the search for a coalition government after Flemish separatists won Sunday’s parliamentary election.
Their leader Bart De Wever ran his campaign on pledging to devolve more powers to the regions of Belgium but to form a government he will need to make concessions to woo coalition partners.
Belgium’s French speaking socialists came second.
Journalist Luc van der Kelen gave his slant on the situation:
“Bart de Wever has a chance to succeed because the French-speaking parties now understand that the Flemish are serious and if they don’t respect at least some of their claims, the next elections could bring an absolute majority for the separatists.”
State aid to poorer Wallonia, home to four million French speakers has caused resentment among Belgium’s 6.5 million Flemish majority. Until now separatist parties had been on the fringes of political debate.
Journalist Philippe Dutilleulsaid:
“Its very obvious that the Francophones are going to have to enter into serious talks with the Flemish . They will have to listen to them and we have to wait and see how far the francophones are prepared to make concessions particularly concerning Brussels and the surrounding districts and how much autonomy to offer to satisfy Flemish nationalists.”
Socialists from both the linguistic divide could from the largest group in parliament meaning francophone Elio Di Rupo could become the next prime minister.
De Wever says he is ready to give up the premiership as long as his potential coalition partners agree to political reforms.