A centre-right axis without the N-VA? “Why does Bart De Wever have to stoop to such false rumors?”

A centre-right axis without the N-VA? “Why does Bart De Wever have to stoop to such false rumors?”
A centre-right axis without the N-VA? “Why does Bart De Wever have to stoop to such false rumors?”

“Intox total!!” Maxime Prévot, the chairman of Les Engagés, emphatically contradicts with two exclamation marks that there is already an agreement between his party, sister party CD&V and the MR. “There is no agreement whatsoever.”

That is what Bart De Wever, the chairman of the N-VA, claims in an interview in the weekly magazine Humo. “CD&V, Les Engagés and MR have formed an axis, and in one of those parties names have already been put on ministerial positions. The Open VLD party leadership is also on the trail of Vivaldi II.”

Sammy Mahdi, the chairman of CD&V, also denies in the two national languages ​​that there is “a secret agreement”. “I speak with all parties, on both sides of the language border. But it is no secret that I would rather form an axis with Les Engagés and MR than link my fate to the PS, as the N-VA does.”

“We do not rule out any options, except with PTB and Vlaams Belang,” says Prévot. He wonders what De Wever thinks he can gain from these statements. “I have known Bart De Wever to be more confident and less fragile. That he should stoop to launching such false rumors. And for what?”

Outstretched hand

CD&V and Les Engagés previously announced that they would tie their fate together after the elections, just like the other political families across the language border. There is some surprise about the way in which De Wever focuses on the MR and Les Engagés. And an answer is already being suggested within the CD&V. “De Wever wants to create the image that nothing is still possible in this country and that this is because the Waal is on the left and the Flemish is on the right, and confederalism is therefore the only solution. If there are parties that make proposals along the lines of those of N-VA, this thwarts his entire strategy. It is panic football at the N-VA.”

The chairmen of the MR and Les Engagés continue to reach out to the N-VA. “Let the voter choose first,” says Georges-Louis Bouchez. “After the elections we want a reform government that is as centre-right as possible. We prefer to assume a core with MR, Open VLD, N-VA and CD&V, supplemented with other parties that want to reform.”

Bouchez primarily wants more people to work in Brussels and Wallonia. “And government spending must be reduced. Only in this way can we reduce taxes, increase our net salary and improve the budget.”

The MR and the Christian Democrats point out that they have more in common with the N-VA than the PS, but that De Wever prefers to look at Paul Magnette’s party. “De Wever has complained for years that the problem lies with the PS, but since 2020 he wants nothing more than to form a government with Magnette,” said Bouchez. “In that PS-N-VA model, Flanders will always have to pay in exchange for more powers.”

That is why the chairman of the MR intervened The appointmenton Friday already an offer for state reform. “Financial responsibilities for the current powers,” Bouchez now specifies. “Who pays, decides. And whoever decides, pays.”

Mahdi and De Wever

Mahdi also says that he finds great willingness at MR and Les Engagés for reforms, including limiting unemployment over time, a stricter migration policy, stricter justice and nuclear energy. “And I sense a willingness among the MR to realize fairer taxes, if there is also a reform of the labor market. But the liberal course that the N-VA is taking on a socio-economic level is not that of a people’s party. De Wever wants to take the index away from the people, but is not prepared to contribute to more contributions from the big money. With such a neoliberal vision, we have not yet reached a coalition agreement.”

The fact that the waters are deep between Mahdi and De Wever is once again evident from the interview Humo. “I have normal contact with most colleagues,” says De Wever. “Not with Sammy Mahdi, because he has caused unnecessary crises in the Flemish government and publicly humiliated Jan Jambon.”

In 2022, Jambon had to postpone his September statement because CD&V wanted to reverse a saving on the growth package – child benefit. Mahdi stood his ground on a file that is crucial for the family party and won the battle. The door is still open for him. “I think it is good to see other party leaders on a regular basis. Bouchez has also said 36 times that his door is open to the N-VA. De Wever is gradually putting himself offside. The fact that he speaks to no one and only wants to negotiate with Magnette about the division of the country is regrettable. We prefer to speak to all parties, instead of setting up a party in Wallonia and thus weakening the centre-right there and making the formation of a federal government virtually impossible.”

In 2014, an understanding between Wouter Beke (CD&V) and Charles Michel (MR) established the first Swedish government, with the N-VA and Open VLD. It was the first federal government without the PS in a quarter of a century, with a French-speaking minority. The government fell after the N-VA left because of the Marrakesh Pact.

The article is in Dutch

Tags: centreright axis NVA Bart Wever stoop false rumors


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