UPDATEGwendolyn Rutten (Open Vld) took the oath this afternoon as the new minister in the Flemish government. She will succeed Bart Somers, who will return as mayor of Mechelen. The opposition sharply criticized the appointment. “This is very sad for Flanders,” he said, but Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) himself also said that he would have preferred that Somers “had stayed until the end of the legislature.”
LOOK. Gwendolyn Rutten takes the oath as the new minister in the Flemish government
Rutten took the oath as Flemish Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Administrative Affairs, Integration and Equal Opportunities in the hands of Flemish Parliament President Liesbeth Homans. The swearing-in ceremony only took place after the current questions because Prime Minister Jan Jambon (N-VA) was still on his way back from a business trip to Morocco. And that led to fierce criticism from the opposition.
PVDA and Vlaams Belang accused the liberals of “postal packing”. “Is this a government or a safety net for disappointed politicians,” PVDA faction leader Jos D’Haese wondered. Chris Janssens was even fiercer. “When I heard last night that Rutten would become minister, I was speechless and disappointed.”
WATCH ALSO. State of affairs in the Flemish Parliament leads to fierce criticism: “It is downright shameful”
The socialists also did not spare their criticism. “We have known for some time that this government was hanging together, but this is still a low point,” responded Vooruit faction leader Hannelore Goeman. “This is downright shameful,” said Mieke Schauvliege (Green) about the state of affairs.
Strikingly, Jambon himself also expressed his reservations in parliament about the personnel change at the liberals. “Of course I would have preferred Bart Somers to remain in the government until the end of the legislature, but this is the responsibility of the minister himself. And the party’s responsibility to provide a replacement,” Jambon replied after questions from Chris Janssens (Vlaams Belang) and Jos D’Haese (PVDA).
“It is now my job to train the new colleague as quickly as possible,” it sounded remarkably short. “Furthermore, as Prime Minister I only have to take note of this and I cannot give a public assessment of it. We can at least say that he is an experienced politician.”
WATCH ALSO. Striking: Jambon showed little interest in Rutten’s swearing-in ceremony
WATCH ALSO. Gwendolyn Rutten’s first 24 hours as Flemish minister
Gwendolyn Rutten’s unlikely comeback: “Did I know two weeks ago that I was going to become a Flemish minister? No. Did I react too strongly then? Maybe” (+)
“This is certainly not going to go over well”: Noël Slangen answers 5 important questions about the appointment of Gwendolyn Rutten (+)
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