The 124 members of the new Flemish parliament were sworn in on Tuesday by interim Speaker Herman De Croo (Open Vld) assisted by the two youngest parliamentarians, Adeline Blancqaert and Filip Brusselmans, both from Vlaams Belang.
“I pledge to observe the Constitution,” pledged each of the new parliamentarians, except Groen leader Meyrem Amlaciwho first swore to “respect the Constitution and defend universal human rights”. Immediately called to order by De Croo, Ms. Almaci then conformed strictly to protocol and repeated the only phrase incoming legislators are allowed to say.
The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) has 35 seats in the Flemish parliament following the 26 May elections, while Vlaams Belang has 23. The other parties represented include Christen Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V, 19), Open Vld (16), Groen (14) and Socialistische Partij Anders (sp.a, 13). The labour party, Partij van de Arbeid/Parti travailleur belge (PVDA/PTB), is now represented for the first time in the Flemish parliament. It has four (4) seats.
Over half the parliamentarians (67) are newcomers, while a record 46.7% are women.
After the swearing-in, De Croo handed over to the new speaker, Kris Van Dijck (N-VA).
De Croo said that after 51 years “or 18,700 continuous days” as a member of parliament, he was convinced that representative parliamentary democracy was the best system there was.