Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Yes, Belgium Has a Government

Yes, it has finally happen. With the threat of the whole of the European Union going down in economic flames, the bitterly divided parties of Belgium have come together with at least a temporary agreement and formed a new government. After a record-breaking 541-days without an official government (breaking the records set by war-torn Iraq and Cambodia) the long-suffering King Albert II of the Belgians swore in Francophone socialist leader Elio Di Rupo as Prime Minister. For me, as I have said before, having a gay Italian socialist who doesn't believe in God as PM of the Kingdom of Belgium is not the sort of thing I would have ever wished for but, alas, there is not much room to be very discriminating anymore. He at least wants the country to continue and not break up to be absorbed by Holland and France so, that is a good thing. The monarchy will survive, Belgium will not be destroyed and there will be a government that can actually do something -even if I don't think it to be the right thing which I'm sure I won't. And, just think folks, in just a year or two more there will be new elections and we might get to go through all this fun all over again! Ain't democracy great? ...


  1. The Belgians aren't grateful enough for the King they have. And nobody will ever acknowledge his sterling example. He had a political situation thrust upon him he neither wanted nor could easily placate, with the political parties of the era bickering like spoiled children and exacerbating the already high tensions between the two dominating ethnicities of the nation. And he buckled down and worked because that was his duty.
    More then we can say for most Politicians.

  2. Well, well, well....I guess miracles still happen. I wonder how long this government will last.

  3. SotC, truer words were never spoken. The King cannot claim to have 'never put a foot wrong' but his devotion to his country has far surpassed that of any, I repeat *any* elected official in Belgium today and he has been tireless in trying to find a way out of this mess, not of his making. Unlike some political leaders (who shall remain nameless) he did not try to take advantage of the deadlock to play the blame game and allow the country to go to ruin just to make himself look better. He has been willing to work with anyone, absolutely anyone other than those bent on destroying the country to try to find a solution and he should be saluted for that. He has been the one adult in this whole, long, shamefull mess.

    I too wonder how long it will last. There have been grumblings already but, as I said, I think the Eurozone scare did more than anything to frighten them into getting their act together, at least for the time being.

  4. I don't think that it will last long. Mostly because apparently the Flemish nationalists have been left out of the compromise, and they're the most popular party in Flanders. They'll claim the argument that the government is ignoring them - inciting further desertion of the cause of Belgian unity in that region.
    What the King should do is bypass the parties and confront the nationalists directly (I'm sure he meets with heads of parties at some point) in an attempt to placate them. It would certainly earn him respect from the people, I think. If not him, than the government should do it. They can't just pretend that they don't exist, and they need to work something out to prevent a more painful outcome to the separatist movement.

  5. Well, it may not be ideal, but at least the country has a functioning government again and can start putting some of this unpleasantness behind it for a while.

    I don't think anyone can fault the amazing and thankless job King Albert II had this past year and a half, he performed his constitutional duty properly and flawlessly and got the best possible deal for his country under the circumstances.

    One shudders to think what would have happened if this situation had occurred in a McCountry republic where every single office is political and the president and head of state is just another politician trying to get a better deal for his party at the expense of the others - I don't think its at all far fetched to say Belgium survived this ordeal only because of its monarchy. A republic would have been torn apart and finished over this.

    Yes, it is regrettable that an atheist socialist wound up in charge, but the Socialist Party is tied as the biggest party in parliament right now, and if you add in all the other parties that self-identify as socialist or left-of-center, it works out to something like 54% of the seats held by small "s" socialists.

    The one thing you can say about democracy is that it does tend to give the people exactly the government they deserve.

  6. As I understand the situation, the King has nothing at all to do with the Flemish nationalists for the simple reason that they openly advocate independence. One of the oaths Belgian kings take at the outset is to maintain national unity and the kings have always taken that very seriously. If your stated goal is to destroy that unity, regardless of all else, the King will have nothing to do with them. Likewise, the parties have agreed among themselves not to make common cause with the nationalists, less I think because of the issue of national unity, but more because of their rather unsavory political connections.

  7. Well, the separatists remain a powerful force. And they're not going to go away any time soon, since they represent a significant portion of the population. Evidently something must be done with them.

  8. Truthfully, Bart De Wever had his chance to form a government. Like him or not, since he won the most seats the King had to approve him to at least look around to see if it was possible for him to perhaps form a government but no other parties will work with so unsavory a character. The King does not though totally ignore him.


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