Twitter users in Belgium condemned the word choice of Bart De Wever, leader of the Flemish rightwing N-VA party, after he made "vulgar" comments about the ongoing government formation talks on television on Monday evening.
In the Dutch-language talk show 'Gert Late Night', which takes place on the host's boat docked in Antwerp, De Wever was asked if he believed the talks for a federal Vivaldi coalition would continue after an eventful day, in which the King refused the resignation of the royal preformators.
"I think our blue friends (the liberals) will now have to get down on their knees, open their mouths and swallow," said De Wever, whose party has been excluded from the current negotiations.
Een betere video, met ondertiteling, van de merkwaardige uitspraken die Bart De Wever gisteren deed. pic.twitter.com/ucslmZm6yK— Saïd Bataray (@SaidBataray) September 22, 2020
"We will destroy them. We will destroy them in the opposition," he added. "That will not be difficult, as they are held together with spit and a sticky thread."
On Twitter, many people - including politicians currently in the opposition - condemned De Wever's "vulgar language" as well as his "war-like rhetoric," adding that "destroying the other" should never be the aim of politics.
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Ahmed Laaouej, leader of the PS (Francophone socialists) parliamentary group in the House, tweeted that De Wever's language was "far from the democratic culture" and spoke of "intimidation reflecting a vulgar state of mind close to violence."
Un langage éloigné de la culture démocratique,de l’intimidation traduisant un état d’esprit vulgaire proche de la violence: «Les amis bleus devront se mettre à genoux, ouvrir la bouche et avaler tout ce qu'il faudra» « Nous les briserons dans l'opposition »https://t.co/MKfamreW1R— Ahmed Laaouej (@AhmedLaaouej) September 22, 2020
Hannes Anaf, who is a member of the sp.a (Flemish socialists), currently in the opposition in the Flemish parliament, said that the opposition should be "constructive if possible, firm if necessary. And always critical. But to 'destroy'? I would die of shame."
"Statements of this kind destroy the political system," said Imade Annouri, who leads the greens in Antwerp. "Wanting to destroy each other. Calling each other traitors. Wanting to score at the cost of someone else. Why not simply have a sharp debate, and disagree with respect?"
Dit soort uitspraken maakt de politieke stiel kapot.Elkaar kapot willen maken. Elkaar verraders noemen. Willen scoren op de kan van een ander. Waarom niet gewoon én scherp debatteren én met respect van mening verschillen?https://t.co/QoBWOM7clM — Imade (@ImadeAnnouri) September 21, 2020
On Monday, the negotiation talks for a federal government were halted for some time after sp.a announced they no longer wanted to negotiate a government coalition with the Walloon liberals (MR), as they said MR's leader Georges-Louis Bouchez had gone back on his word several times.
Later the same day, sp.a's party leader, Conner Rousseau, told reporters that if the King wanted him and the other preformator Egbert Lachaert to continue their mission, they would try to do so to the best of their abilities.
On Wednesday, Lachaert and Rousseau are expected at the Palace again for a new report on the progress of the talks, as the leaders of all seven parties currently around the table previously agreed to aim for a federal government by 1 October.
The Brussels Times