Gwendolyn Rutten has taken the oath in the Flemish Parliament as successor to the resigned Bart Somers. The swearing-in ceremony was preceded by a lot of criticism from the opposition. “This is downright shameful,” he said.
Gwendolyn Rutten (Open VLD) took the oath before Parliament Speaker Liesbeth Homans on Wednesday just before 5 p.m. She succeeds party colleague Bart Somers as Flemish Minister of the Interior, Integration, Administrative Affairs and Equal Opportunities and as Deputy Prime Minister.
The swearing-in ceremony was preceded by a lot of criticism from the opposition. PVDA and Vlaams Belang, among others, fired shots and talked about an “absolute low point” and “postal grabber”. “We have known for some time that this government was hanging in the balance, but this is still a low point,” said Hannelore Goeman (Vooruit). “There are even ministers walking away. I find this very sad for Flanders.” Mieke Schauvliege (Green) also looks at the musical chairs with horror, she said. “This shows the absolute lack of ambition of this Flemish government. And there is still so much work to be done. And you are busy with posts. That is downright shameful.”
Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) says he looks forward to cooperation with Rutten. “I assume that with this replacement we can continue to work in the same way. There are still many important files on the table.” He calls the criticism “intellectually unfair”. “Of course I would have preferred if Bart Somers had stayed, but it is up to the party to replace him. It is now up to me to continue working with the new colleague, an experienced politician.”
“You look like a beaten dog,” D’Haese responded. “The posts in your government are being used to resolve feuds within a Liberal party.”
“What you should do is simply not replace that minister and put the taxpayers’ money into the budget,” argued Vlaams Belang MP Chris Janssens. “Because otherwise I think that for once many voters will follow Somers’ example and run far away from your shaky government.”
As MP, Rutten will be succeeded by Bob Savenberg, the former drummer of Clouseau and ex-manager of Natalia.