Philippe Close is clear that Belgium has no need of an institutional crisis
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    Philippe Close is clear that Belgium has no need of an institutional crisis

    © Belga
    Philippe Close is concerned about the formation of coalitions at local and community level, given the cdH's refusal to work in coalition with the PS in such spheres.
    © Belga

    The Mayor of Brussels, Philippe Close (PS), warned the cdH on Wednesday against the potential for an institutional crisis. This may happen as a result of the cdH’s decision not to sit with the PS on the executives of the regions and communities. The cdH’s decision risks opening a period of lengthy never-ending discussions. Certain sources are saying that we cannot rule out the possibility of “months” of discussion. During this period, the executives of the various federated entities will not work at pace or, per the shorthand, will “conduct affairs with caution.”

    Therefore the implementation of projects expected to be accomplished may suffer. Questioned on La Première, the PS Vice-President of the Walloon Executives and the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, Jean-Claude Marcourt, evoked budgetary adjustments for regional and community entities. These anticipate additional means for subsidies for investments or higher education, but also issues such as the reform of initial training for school teachers.

    Mr Marcourt stated, “I fear that the weeks and months lost in this process could be fatal for Wallonia.”

    Mr Close added, speaking on Bel-RTL, “This country does not need an institutional crisis.” He recalled the long crisis which paralysed the federal government after the 2010 elections.

    The cdH President, Benoît Lutgen, has his first meeting today with the MR President, Olivier Chastel. The MR is one of the parties which could form a new coalition. This is simply an initial contact as part of establishing dialogue. It is not, at this stage, a negotiation as such. Mr Lutgen wished to meet the President of DéFI, Olivier Maingain, in the wake of these discissions. However Maingain did not wish to respond to his invitation, owing to the apparent “communication without consultation.”

    The co-presidents of Ecolo, Zakia Khattabi and Patrick Dupriez, are scheduled to meet with the cdH President this Thursday. However, they made known on Tuesday that the content of the proposed agenda was not “at all relevant.” This morning, they held a political meeting. This was devoted to the demands they will be putting forward “with a view to both ‘sanitising’ political life and reforming democracy.” They were anticipated to give a press conference at 12.30 p.m today.

    In considering how parties might work in coalitions at local level, it is worth mentioning previous reform stances. As a party supporting complete removal of the ability to hold both local executive positions and a parliamentary mandate, the Greens succeeded in imposing this requirement for 75% of those elected to the Walloon parliament in 2009. At the time, the cdH accepted the measure grudgingly. The MR vehemently opposed it.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times