TWIFT | Europe | No Government: a Year of Belgium Politics without Politicians. How Do Belgians Live?

No Government: a Year of Belgium Politics without Politicians. How Do Belgians Live?

The world is becoming more disillusioned with political power and now Belgium has no government, so Belgium politics is at the epicenter of a fucking unusual experiment.

The Belgians have been living without a government for a year now. The Belgium political crisis in Brussels began in December 2018 since, at a UN conference in Marrakech, two major political forces could not agree. Political troubles began in the country after the signing of the UN Migration Pact. At that time, the coalition of Prime Minister Charles Michel broke up.

The center-right group began to manage all issues in the state and all affairs in the country having been resolved without a parliamentary majority until today.

The group that took over the duties of the authorities was temporarily led by Prime Minister Sophie Vilmes. Regional Belgium governments also helped in managing. However, their power is limited. Vilmes takes the place of a ranger, but she does not have much authority.

So, lawmakers are still coming to work, but the Belgium parliament has not enacted new legislation. Well, a new Belgium budget has not been adopted this year and the authorities are still guided by last year’s document. Meanwhile, as civil servants are bowing their heads, the population reacts quite calmly.

Looking at Washington, that is absorbed in the battle for the impeachment of the president, there is nobody to declare no confidence in Belgium!

Part of the population says the difference is almost imperceptible, trains continue to ride on rails, life goes on as before… But experts are not so restrained in their comments. They believe that by excluding politicians, Belgium puts off important decisions for the country that will make Belgium suffer in the future.

“If you are an ordinary citizen, it is almost impossible to notice the absence of a permanent Belgium government,” said Karl Devos, a professor of political science at Ghent University.

“The budget deficit and the weakening of the pension system are problems that require active actions of politicians who are no longer in Belgium,” said Devos.

World practice shows that a political crisis as a Belgian one happened more than once in history.

So, after the election, the coalition in parliamentary democracy spends a little time. For example, in Spain, the coalition was not formed after the April Belgium elections. Therefore, the authorities had to hold new Belgium elections in November. Austria could not defend its political rights. Since June, power has been led by a ranger. In official Tel Aviv, the third election will be held in less than a year.

Belgium has already been in a similar political crisis. The current situation is not new for the country. So, from 2010 to 2011, political vacations lasted 541 days.

The situation in the country is complicated due to a dirty policy towards representatives of different cultural and linguistic branches. Therefore, the Dutch-speaking north is gradually moving to the right, the French-speaking south is following to the left, and there is no compromise at all in the middle between them.

Temporarily appointed Prime Minister Sophie Vilmes and her husband Christopher Stone were at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on December 3.

The prime minister advanced her career after her predecessor, Charles Michel, headed the European Council. Michel served as prime minister since 2014. Last December, his rating began to decline after one of his coalition associates had left due to a contentious issue of immigration.

Upon taking office, the first female prime minister immediately made a resounding statement of limited ambition.

“I will do my best to maintain the stability in the state,” the representative of the new Belgium government wrote in her account on the social network.

According to a recent RTL survey, over 80% of Belgians said the lack of government is a disgrace to the country. Several external signs of this discontent are understandable.

That’s why, during previous attempts by the authorities to form a coalition, the discontent of the population was noticeable. In protest, a large part of the population took to the streets with the flag of their country in black, gold and red. But this time, everything was different.

Part of the global population liked the interim Belgium government.

Moreover, in Austria, a columnist for a Dutch-language newspaper wrote a laudatory post in support of the Chancellor of Austria and her apolitical approach to work.

The Belgian centrist party of the reformist movement, Prime Minister Vilmes, has only 14 out of 63 seats. This means that she cannot pass any laws.

Even during the record-breaking Belgian period without government in 2010, almost ten years ago, rangers had more authority. They were allowed to gather a majority in parliament. And in 2011, the interim leadership ordered the Belgian military to take part in the NATO operation against the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. This meant that thereby Belgium sent its troops to war even though the Belgium government was busy negotiating the ruling coalition.

This time Belgium no government is powerless. All centrist parties were deprived of their seats in May. On the contrary, the regional ones gained, reflecting the growth of skepticism regarding the main ruling parties.

Surveys of ordinary citizens confirm, that if Belgium elections were held today, the Dutch-speaking ultra-right and French-speaking ultra-left parties could improve their results from May.

As practice has shown, voters tend to prefer outsider politicians. Governors led by rangers are not so interesting to them. This is the response of the population to the problem with Belgium politics.

But in parliamentary systems like the Belgian one, voting for candidates from unpopular parties can increase the likelihood of creating an interim government and continuing the status quo.

Some of the dissatisfied and unemployed political analysts and experts want the politicians to continue their work and engage in the political life of Belgium.

“We had a Belgium election campaign, many political parties stated that we have many serious and urgent problems that need to be addressed. These are the climate and social problems, poverty, increasing employment in Belgium,” said Dave Sinardet, professor of political science at the Free University of Brussels.

Nevertheless, at the moment, everything is stopped and nothing can be solved until politicians again take their places in the Belgium government. 

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