Elections 2024: Flemish government could be formed quickly, but roadblocks remain

A government with N-VA, CD&V and Vooruit has emerged as the only possible outcome of the elections in Flanders, but a coalition between the three parties is not straightforward.

As leader of the largest party in Flanders, N-VA's Bart De Wever has taken on the mantle of informateur, meaning he is in charge of exploring the options for the next Flemish government. Although De Wever is meeting every party, starting with Vlaams Belang on Tuesday, there is not much to explore.

First of all, no party wants to govern with the far-right Vlaams Belang or the far-left PVDA. The parties in the current government - N-VA, CD&V and Open VLD - do not have a majority, and Open VLD has decided to join the opposition after its electoral defeat. A centre-left coalition with Vooruit, Groen and CD&V is also impossible. This leaves a coalition with N-VA, CD&V and Vooruit as the only realistic solution.

Clashing ideologies

The three parties together have 65 out of 124 seats, a narrow but workable majority. However, none of the parties' ideologies match: Vooruit are socialists on the left, CD&V are Christian democrats in the centre and N-VA are separatists on the right.

Their manifestos also clash, especially between left and right. Vooruit has made increasing purchasing power one of its main post-election goals and wants to invest heavily in healthcare. The N-VA programme calls for a conservative fiscal policy, with drastic cuts in healthcare and social security.

A concrete example of the clashing visions is free hot meals in every school, which Vooruit has made a non-negotiable point for possible participation in government. De Wever called the plan "one of the stupidest things you could do". "If this is a breaking point for Vooruit, it will have to be broken, because it is ridiculous," he said.

"If this is a breaking point for Vooruit, it will have to be broken, because it is ridiculous"

That means they will have to negotiate hard to reach an agreement. But the parties seem willing to compromise. "I think we will have to swallow some of our vetoes if we want to achieve a result," Jean-Marie Dedecker of N-VA told VRT on Monday. "People are hungry for solutions," added Caroline Gennez of Vooruit. "I think we all have to reach across the aisle."


#FlandersNewsService | N-VA leader Bart De Wever © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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