Bourgeois steps in to defuse governorship stand-off in East FlandersWednesday, 07 November 2018 11:25
The clash between N-VA – which has proposed Wim Leerman, director of the city of Aalst, as Briers’ replacement – and Open VLD – whose candidate is MP Carina Can Cauter – has led to a stand-off, with VLD president Gwendolyn Rutten promising to stonewall any alternative if Van Cauter is not approved.
Rutten also decried what she called a “targetted leak” of the results of an assessment test taken by both candidates, which showed Van Cauter had a lower score that Leerman in certain key sections. The leak to De Tijd newspaper then complicated the issue when Van Cauter herself withdrew from the race, claiming that opponents to her appointment were “trying to discredit” her. She was not prepared to see her reputation as a strong member of parliament dragged through the dirt, she said.
It will now be up to Bourgeois to resolve the situation, either by convincing Rutten to life her blockade on any alternative candidate, or simply by over-ruling any objection. A new procedure introduced this year has turned the job into an open vacancy: 100 people applied, leading to a shortlist of 15 names. Van Cauter and Leerman were pushed forward by their parties. But the final decision rests with the Flemish government.
In the meantime, acting governor Detollenaere – who is himself due to retire in February next year – said, “It’s going to be difficult, but with our staff we’re trying to do the best we can.”
The Brussels Times
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