We might need them after all

2 10 2008

Yes, we still have a government. When the N-VA decided they would no longer support the federal government, the party of prime minister Yves Leterme had to choose between it’s alliance with N-VA and the government. They choose to remain in power, saying they didn’t really have a choice. If they left the government, they claimed the country would plunge into chaos.

The Francophone press was pleased with the ending of the alliance between CD&V and N-VA. “Champagne and trumpets” was the title of the editorial piece in La Libre. The contrast with the tone in the Flemish press couldn’t be bigger. The title in De Standaard was “CD&V lost everything”. But CD&V managed to convince it’s members and to get their support during a party congress last Sunday.

Convincing their voters might be more difficult, though. Opinion polls show CD&V lost 40% of it’s votes when the alliance broke up. But maybe the global financial crisis can help CD&V to counter this trend.

For the first time in months, our government seems actually to be doing something else than squabbling. Two Belgian banks were endangered by the financial crisis, but the government seems to have saved them. Fortis was partially nationalized by the Dutch, Luxembourg and Belgian governments on Monday. On Tuesday, the French and Belgian governments did the same with Dexia. So maybe this crisis could actually be a blessing for Yves Leterme and his government. It provides them with an opportunity to actually do something at a time when, after 15 months of inactive governments, people started to wonder what they needed a government for.