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    Petition to repeal the cordon sanitaire trending on Twitter

    The Flemish Forum for Democracy stressed that it has no affiliation with the Vlaams Belang party. Credit: Change.org

    The Flemish ‘Forum for Democracy’ has started a petition to repeal the cordon sanitaire, the agreement between the traditional parties to keep the far-right Vlaams Belang out of the government.

    “We are not trying to be a full party, only a thinktank,” said initiator of the Forum, Boudewijn Bouckaert. The Forum is inspired by its Dutch counterpart, the far-right Forum for Democracy party, that also started out as a thinktank led by Thierry Baudet, and won the provincial elections of 2019 in the Netherlands.

    “Signing this petition gives you the opportunity to finally get rid of this outdated, discriminatory, and sectarian cordon sanitaire,” the petition page said.

    The Flemish Forum for Democracy stressed that it has no affiliation with the Vlaams Belang party, but has only started the petition because it is concerned for the proper functioning of democracy in Flanders. The petition has been posted to Twitter using the hashtag #CordonSanitaireWegErmee (translated: #CordonSanitaireGetRidOfIt).

    The Forum is committed to respecting human rights as expressed in the European Convention on Human Rights, rejecting racism and discrimination.

    However, it renounces that a party such as Vlaams Belang, which now represents nearly one-fifth of the Flemish population, is excluded even before negotiations for an administrative agreement and possible participation in power have taken place.

    This petition, the Forum stresses, should therefore not be read as a plea to conclude administrative agreements with Vlaams Belang, but as a plea to treat Vlaams Belang as a fully-fledged player in the democratic process and to give the party a chance in negotiations and participation.

    Maïthé Chini
    The Brussels Times