A recently appointed member of the left-wing Socialist Party (PS), Melissa Hanus, has said that she refuses to sit next to far-right politician Dries Van Langenhove at the House of Representatives meeting this Thursday.
Given the tradition that the two most junior ministers in the House of Representatives flank the chairman at their inaugural meeting, 26-year-old PS politician Hanus ought to be sitting next to newly elected Vlaams Belang member, Van Langenhove.
However, due to recent accusations that Van Langenhove, founder of the far-right youth group Schild & Vrienden, violated the racism law, the negations law, and the weapons law, Hanus is refusing to take her seat next to him.
'The massive presence of the extreme right in parliament is an insult to democracy. It is really a disgrace when a character like Mr. Van Langenhove, whose sympathies with the Nazi ideology are known, takes his place next to the President of the House,' said Ahmed Laaouej, group leader of the PS, according to Belgian press.
According to the PS, the parliamentary regulations only state that the two most junior ministers will 'assist' the Speaker of the House, and it is therefore not a requirement that they also sit next to him (or her).
"The Left must finally learn to respect democracy. On Thursday, I will be in the front seat," said Van Langenhove, in a Facebook post on Tuesday evening.
The Brussels Times