Flanders poised to unveil new government as negotiations enter final stages

Flanders poised to unveil new government as negotiations enter final stages
Negotiations for Flanders' regional government are entering their final stages. Credit: © Belga

Talks for the formation of a Flemish government are entering their final stages and could see the region unveil a fully-fledged government by Monday, after over a month of lagging negotiations.

As final meetings are held on Friday and Saturday, the negotiations appear poised to see the region's new legislative term helmed by the same centre-right party configuration as the outgoing government.

The liberal Open Vld, the Flemish nationalist Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) and the Flemish Christian Democratic CD&V, are expected to submit their coalition agreement to party members on Sunday, according to De Morgen.

While the regional government's broad configuration will remain unchanged, the success of the N-VA in the May ballot is likely to see it clinch four ministerial posts, up from their current three.

The appointment of the N-VA's Jambon as government formateur also puts him on track to secure the post of Minister-President of the region, granting the party command of a key post.

Open Vld and CD&V are likely to obtain two ministerial portfolios each, signalling a move by the Christian democrats to relinquish one cabinet out of the three it previously held, but which could see them secure the parliament's presidency.

The talks could determine who between the CD&V and the N-VA will get the education and welfare cabinets, two portfolios on which both parties have set sights on.

While they agreed to control only two regional ministries, Open Vld is expecting them to be strong portfolios, hinting to an intention hold on to the finance and budget cabinets, according to De Standaard.

All parties in the coalition have signalled to an intention to rein in the budget over the legislatures' early years in order to be able to step up investments, which lead negotiator Jambon has said must "earn themselves" back by the end of their term in 2024.

Flanders would be the last region of Belgium to form a new government on Monday, after Wallonia and Brussels unveiled their regional legislatures after similarly lengthy and prickly negotiations.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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