'Big, fat no': De Wever reacts to socialist Magnette wanting to be Belgium's PM

'Big, fat no': De Wever reacts to socialist Magnette wanting to be Belgium's PM
PS chair Paul Magnette (right) and N-VA chair Bart De Wever. Credit: Belga/Benoit Doppagne

Just hours after the leader of the Francophone socialist PS party, Paul Magnette said he was "ready" to become Belgium's Prime Minister in 2024, Bart De Wever of the Flemish rightwing, separatist N-VA party made it clear that he would not agree with that "at all."

Belgium's Prime Minister typically comes from the biggest party in the Federal Government. For the current coalition, that would mean PS' Magnette already should be premier, but he stepped aside for Alexander De Croo of the Flemish liberal Open VLD.

Now, however, he made it clear that he would not do that again and would "not shy away" from his responsibilities if the socialists become the biggest governing party again – a scenario that De Wever is strongly opposed to.

"That is a big, fat no," De Wever told VTM News.

"For me, it is unthinkable to form a normal government in which the PS will provide the prime minister. If Wallonia wants a (far) left governance, they should just accept confederalism and they can doom themselves on their own account. Flanders does not have to suffer that."

While it is not his main ambition, De Wever did not rule out the possibility of becoming prime minister himself: "I am willing to do anything to achieve confederalism," he said.

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In an interview with Het Laatste Nieuws in February 2020 (when the formation talks for a federal government had been ongoing for about nine months), De Wever made similar comments about becoming Belgium's premier to save the country from Magnette.

"If it can be useful to reform this country in depth, then I am still prepared to become prime minister myself today, but against my will," he said back in 2020. "The thought of the premiership does not cause bewilderment, it would be a kind of predestination. But I would certainly undergo and accept it."

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