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Parties discussing federal coalition that would exclude N-VA

12:11 31/08/2020
From Flanders Today

Egbert Lachaert (Open VLD) is proceeding with talks with three other parties with a view to forming a federal government. The so-called preformateur is considering a coalition that would exclude N-VA.

The chair of the Flemish liberals was appointed by the king earlier this month to lead negotiations to form a majority coalition. He is the 13th politician to be tasked with the job since the elections of May 2019. Since that date, Belgium has been operating under an interim federal government.

Lachaert (pictured left) is in talks with Flemish socialists SP.A, Christian-democrats CD&V and green party Groen and all of their French-speaking counterparts (PS, CDH and Ecolo, respectively) to form a majority coalition. The coalition would also include his own party, Open VLD, and its French-speaking counterpart MR.

This configuration is referred to in Belgium as a Vivaldi coalition, a reference to Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. This coalition has never before been formed at the federal level, which rarely consists of more than three parties.

The Vivaldi coalition also notably omits nationalists N-VA, the biggest winner of the elections in Flanders. N-VA chair Bart De Wever, also the mayor of Antwerp, has said many times over the last 15 months that forming a federal government without N-VA would be impossible.

De Wever had the role of preformateur, together with PS chair Paul Magnette, previous to Lachaert. The pair were nearly successful in hammering out an agreement – no easy task considering the wide political and ideological gap between N-VA and PS.

Following the announcement of the Vivaldi coalition talks, which kick off today, De Wever tweeted: “Flanders has never voted so Flemish and so right, the potential federal government has never been more left and French-speaking. The sorrow of Flanders.”

Lachaert, meanwhile, has said that he is keeping all options open. “We are investigating if this is a viable option,” said Open VLD in a statement about the Vivaldi coalition, but “other options remain open”.

Photo: Egbert Lachaert (left) with King Filip at the palace ©Nicolas Maeterlinck/BELGA

Written by Flanders Today