The sp.a is scheduled to discuss on Wednesday evening a note that will form the basis for its participation in the governmental negotiations in Flanders.
The document will focus on mobility, climate and social mesures, with some of the socialist party’s personalities expecting that the bar will be too high for the Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA).
Socialistische Partij Anders (sp.a) leader John Crombez has called the Council of Presidents and Secretaries of all sections of the party, in which its parliamentarians are also represented, to the meeting. He will give a presentation on the meetings he has had with the Flemish formateur, Bart De Wever (N-VA), after which there will be a debate, followed, in principle, by the approval of the note containing the party’s main priorities.
One of these is mobility. The sp.a would like to bring about a shift from personal vehicles to public transport and, to this end, invest massively in De Lijn, the Flemish public transport company reformed under the previous legislature of Ben Weyts (N-VA)
On the social level, the party wishes to eliminate the waiting lists for health care for handicapped persons and is requesting one billion euros for the sector.
The socialists are also calling for an ambitious plan for the climate.
However, the party is divided on whether it is opportune to join an N-VA-led government.
“This evening we’ll fix the price that needs to be paid to convince the sp.a,” said the leader of the party’s group in the Flemish Parliament, Conner Rousseau. “The price will be high. It’s not for us to join a government and, if we do, it will be with measures that are so red and green that I think there is very little probability the N-VA will agree.”
Parliamentarian Bruno Tobback is one of the most resolute opponents of an sp.a participation in the Flemish government, along with other legislators such as Kurt De Loor.
“We did not receive that mandate from the voters, including for the federal government, despite the efforts of the informateur, Johan Vande Lanotte (a former sp.a president, close to Mr. Crombez – Editor’s note),” De Loor said.
These internal tensions are linked to the sp.a presidential election in autumn, observers within the party say. There are currently two camps, one that supports Mr. Crombez and leans in favour of participation, and the other which apparently prefers Leuven Mayor Mohamed Ridouani, successor of Louis Tobback, who is leaning towards opposition.
“Things would become clearer if John Crombez were to state clearly whether he is a candidate or not,” De Loor commented.