Vlaams Belang President Tom Van Grieken wants to do everything possible to break the ‘cordon sanitaire’, he said on Radio 1 on Monday morning: “We received a mandate from the voter. I would be remiss if I didn’t try today to do everything I could to achieve it.”
Van Grieken’s party expected to make progress but not in such a way. “This exceeds our highest expectations. With 13 or 14%, I would have been a happy president,” he told De Ochtend the day after an election that saw the far-right party win 18.5% of the votes in Flanders.
The ‘cordon sanitaire’ is a Belgian political practice established in two stages in 1989 and 1992 between the Flemish political parties, at the initiative of the Flemish environmentalist leader Jos Geysels, aimed at excluding far-right political parties from any political majority.
“When you see this score, you cannot hide behind the cordon. I must do everything in my power to break it,” said Van Grieken. “The population is sick of the cordon. If you ignore this signal from the voters, you are not a democrat,” he added.
Van Grieken says he is ready to put “water in his wine” for government negotiations, but not on the “crucial points”. He reached out again to the N-VA, but agreed to discuss with everyone in principle.
The Brussels Times