On Monday, several ministers in the Flemish parliament slammed an MP from the far-right Vlaams Belang party for a "dehumanising" tweet about newly-appointed federal minister Petra De Sutter.
De Sutter was appointed as Federal Minister for Public Enterprises and Public Administration, as well as Deputy Prime Minister for the Flemish greens (Groen).
After her appointment, Vlaams Belang MP Bart Claes tweeted that "Crazy Calvo may not be a minister, but what replaces him is actually even worse. Transgender Petra De Sutter is the personification of cultural Marxism. This person wants to destroy and replace all the foundations of our Western civilisation."
Claes was immediately criticised for the tweet by Björn Rzoska, the leader of the Groen political group in the Flemish Parliament, who said that Vlaams Belang "crossed a red line."
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"You dehumanise her," said Rzoska, calling on the Vlaams Belang political group leader Chris Janssens to distance himself from his colleague's "degrading remarks."
Liesbeth Homans of the Flemish rightwing N-VA party, in her function as chair of the Parliament, referred to Claes' freedom of expression.
"However, a representative of the people also serves as an example. He needs to know what he is saying and to think about how something is being delivered," she said. "I can say that, as a person, I find this statement particularly reprehensible."
While Vlaams Belang political group leader Janssens started by congratulating De Sutter on her appointment, he did not distance himself from the tweet of his colleague.
Claes, for his part, tweeted a screenshot of his full social media post, saying that "it would be fair to share my post in full, and not just half."non-issue,” adding that she hopes that her appointment (as an openly transgender woman) as Minister and Deputy PM “can trigger the debate in countries where this is not yet the case.” Maïthé Chini The Brussels Times