Dewinter: “If N-VA is defeated again, his party will no longer follow him.”
“Allah is great, but I have the impression that Bart De Wever in Antwerp is his prophet,” said Filip Dewinter in 2017 at the kick-off of the election campaign at the time. Not much has changed since then, Dewinter and De Wever still – and more than ever – cannot go through the same door together.
“If Bart De Wever does not want to hear, he will have to feel,” exclaims Filip Dewinter in a robust interview with the weekly magazine ‘Humo’. For De Wever, the figure of Dewinter is one of the objections to joining forces with Vlaams Belang. De Wever repeated this last week in ‘De Tafel van Gert’: “Vlaams Belang must first throw the excesses, the real extremists, out of the party before there can be any cooperation.” Everyone knows that Dewinter is one of those subjects that leads to a no pasaran of Vlaams Belang for N-VA.
However, Dewinter is not impressed by De Wever’s boasts. “With Bart it has become personal. Too many things have happened between him and me,” says Dewinter about the fact that De Wever would rather quit politics than manage Vlaams Belang. “If Bart doesn’t want to hear, he will have to feel. For the time being, no one dares to openly attack Bart De Wever, but if we get more than 25 percent and the N-VA is defeated again, his party will no longer follow him. Then the cordon sanitary will fall over his political corpse.”
It is remarkable that for Dewinter – just like its chairman Tom Van Grieken – the preferred scenario is to co-govern in 2024. The only party that comes closest to them ideologically is N-VA. And so even Dewinter is willing to make connections, it turns out.
“The time is now ripe to take risks and compromise,” says Dewinter. “The cards have never been better suited to our political tendency, in Flanders and Europe. There are also more dissidents in other parties than you think. If necessary, we can pluck people away to achieve a comfortable majority.” For a thorn in the side of Belgian politics, this is a very moderate position, albeit with a small ‘but’: “But if there is no other option, Vlaams Belang also wants to consider tolerating support.”