Geert Bourgeois

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Geert Bourgeois
Geert Bourgeois.jpg
Minister-President of Flanders
Assumed office
25 July 2014
Preceded by Kris Peeters
Personal details
Born (1951-07-06) 6 July 1951 (age 65)
Roeselare, Belgium
Political party People's Union (Before 2001)
New Flemish Alliance
(2001–present)
Spouse(s) Betty Hoste
Children 2
Alma mater Ghent University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Geert Albert Bourgeois (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɣeːrd burˈʒwɑ];[1] born 6 July 1951) is a Belgian lawyer and politician, who is a member of the separatist party New Flemish Alliance, N-VA). Since 2014 he is the current Minister-President of Flanders and Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and architectural heritage.

Political career[edit]

Bourgeois first entered elective politics in 1977 when he was elected a member of the city council in Izegem. From 1983 to 1994 he served as an alderman.

In 1995 he was elected to the Belgian Chamber of Representatives and, being re-elected in 1999 and 2003, served until July 2004, when he resigned having been elected to the Flemish Parliament.

Since July 2004, Bourgeois served in the Flemish Government as Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Foreign Policy, Media and Tourism. On 22 September 2008 Geert Bourgeois was forced to resign due to pressure by the SP.a-Vl.Pro and Open VLD coalition partners because of his party's no confidence vote in the federal government of Yves Leterme and their lack of trust in further negotiations by the Regions regarding the state reform.

After the regional elections of 2009 the N-VA joined a coalition government with the Christian-democrats and socialists. Bourgeois served as Vice-Minister-President and Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Local and Provincial Government, Civic Integration, Tourism and the Vlaamse Rand in the Peeters II Government (2009–14).

Bourgeois – a lifelong Flemish nationalist – also served as chairman of the Volksunie ("Peoples Union") from 2000 to 2001. After the collapse of the Volksunie in 2001 he founded the N-VA political party which he chaired until 2004. It is a separatist movement that strives for secession of Flanders from Belgium.

Controversy[edit]

On 10 July 2016, for the occasion of 11 July, which has been the holiday of the Flemish community (Dutch: Vlaamse gemeenschap) of Belgium since 1990,[2] Bourgeois was interviewed by Dany Verstraeten during the news of a Belgian television broadcaster, where Bourgeois said that oppositions within Belgium's communities were greater than ever, lamented about what he called "brutal strikes" of the Walloon prison guard unions, and subsequently identified the language border between Wallonia and Flanders as a strike border on which the Flemish people spit:

That language border has also become a strike border, and the Flemish spit on that, and don't swallow that ... that they can't go to work, that they don't have free movement of persons.

— VTM Nieuws, 13PM news, 10 July 2016, [3]

His use of language and pejorative view on Walloons were heavily criticized in both Flemish and French-speaking communities of Belgium[4][5][6][7][8][9][10] and his claim that "the Flemish spit on" the language border was highlighted in different English news articles within a 24-hour time-frame.[11][12][13][14] One Flemish politician, Eric Van Rompuy, said that the expressions of Bourgeois proved that he "is the weakest minister-president ever".[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Geert in isolation: [ˈɣeːrt].
  2. ^ "Decreet houdende vaststelling van het wapen, de vlag, het volkslied en de feestdag van de Vlaamse gemeenschap.". VLAAMSE GEMEENSCHAP. Moniteur Belge (Loi): Justel, Législation consolidée, Banque Carrefour de la législation – Belgisch Staatsblad (Wet): Justel, Geconsolideerde wetgeving, Kruispuntbank Wetgeving. 6 December 1990. p. 22642. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  3. ^ "Bourgeois: "Taalgrens is stakingsgrens geworden"" [Minister-president (Geert Bourgeois): Flemish spit on language border with Wallonia (2016)]. VTM Nieuws. Translated by Vincent Verheyen. VTM. 10 July 2016. 60 seconds. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  4. ^ Joël De Ceulaer (11 July 2016). "Beste Geert Bourgeois, ik baal van uw Vlaams-nationalisme". De Morgen. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  5. ^ RTBF avec Belga (10 July 2016). "Geert Bourgeois répond aux critiques: "Ce n'était pas un propos contre les francophones"". RTBF. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Belga (11 July 2016). "Charles Michel à Geert Bourgeois: "Ce n'est pas un vocabulaire pour un ministre-président"". La Libfre. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  7. ^ Peter De Lobel (12 July 2016). "Zelfs zonder te spuwen heeft Bourgeois niet meteen gelijk. Wordt er echt meer gestaakt in wallonië dan in vlaanderen?". De Standaard. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  8. ^ Marc Hooghe (12 July 2016). "Niets creëert zoveel aandacht als een vulgaire scheldpartij. Dat weet Bourgeois". De Morgen. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  9. ^ Baplambert (11 July 2016). "C'est "ridicule", Geert Bourgeois (N-VA) ne voulait pas "cracher" sur les francophones... ah bon?". Newsmonkey. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  10. ^ Rédaction (11 July 2016). ""Une majorité de Flamands ne se retrouve pas dans l'insulte de Bourgeois"". 7sur7. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 
  11. ^ CDC (10 July 2016). ""Greater powers for Flanders in 2019"". Flanders News. De redactie, VRT. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  12. ^ CDC (11 July 2016). ""This is too crazy for words. That I would spit on people?"". Flanders News. De redactie, VRT. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Alan Hope (11 July 2016). "Minister-president calls for increased regional powers". Flanders News. Flanders Today, Mediahuis. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  14. ^ Anja Otte (11 July 2016). "Fifth column: Slip of the tongue". Flanders News. Flanders Today, Mediahuis. Retrieved 14 July 2016. 
  15. ^ Poj, [Source: Belga] (11 July 2016). "'Bourgeois is de zwakste minister-president ooit'". De Standaard. Retrieved 15 July 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kris Peeters
Minister-President of Flanders
2014–present
Incumbent