Vlaams Belang member accused of racism after shouting incident in Chamber

Vlaams Belang member accused of racism after shouting incident in Chamber
A member of the Vlaams Belang party said that the commotion was 'inherent to that kind'. Credit: Belga

A member of the Flemish extreme-right Vlaams Belang party was caught saying that the shouted intervention of socialist chairman Ahmed Laaouej during a plenary session was "inherent to that kind".

The commotion in the Chamber arose during Thursday's plenary session when the extreme-right Vlaams Belang party entered into a debate with the rightwing N-VA party, after an explanation of vote by N-VA on whether or not to split social security.

The goal of an explanation of vote, however, is not to start new discussions, but to explain the reasoning behind the party's vote, the party chairman of the socialist PS party Ahmed Laaouej shouted, which caused a lot of commotion.

"I said it earlier already, and now Mr Laaouej has shouted it," said Patrick Dewael (liberal Open VLD), the Chairman of the Chamber. "But the principle remains the same," he added. At that moment, a member from Vlaams Belang was heard saying that this shouting was "inherent to that kind" through their microphone, which was still on.

"I cannot remember such a thing being said," said Annick Ponthier from Vlaams Belang, reports Bruzz. "What I do know is that our group has criticised how the PS conducts politics, always shouting and raging. That's inherent to that party. It is the order of the day. So, if something like that was said, it related to Laaouej's political background and not to his origins. I don't even know what those are," she added.

However, Laaouej does not believe that explanation. "I'm a French-speaking Brussels native with a Moroccan background and a socialist vision of society. That's just about the embodiment of everything Vlaams Belang finds reprehensible," he said to Bruzz.

"It no longer surprises me if Vlaams Belang said that. It is a party that is openly racist without any shame. But that does not mean that I find it less shocking," he added.

Maïthé Chini

The Brussels Times

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