Talk:2007–08 Belgian government formation

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Illegal aliens[edit]

In the last sentence of the paragraph on Letermes first formation period, there is a reference to 'illegal aliens'. I don't speak English good enough to be sure but i guess this is not correct. It should be something like 'illegal foreigners'. For me an alien is something like ET and not an African immigrant. Someone with a better knowledge of English should have a look at it (and maybe scan the whole article).

Actually, that's a prefectly correct use of the phrase in English -- at least in American English, anyway, where the current debate over US immigration policy means you hear it a lot. "Alien" was used to mean "foreigner" in English long before anyone imagined that there might be beings on other planets. For instance, a law pertaining the foreigners in the US passed in 1798 was called the Alien and Sedition Acts. It's a somewhat dated phrase today -- you're more likely to hear "illegal immigrant" -- probably because of the rising association between "alien" and "extraterrestrial" in the last 50 years -- but it's still correct. --Jfruh (talk) 14:31, 12 November 2007 (UTC)
People imagined that there might be beings on other planets a long time ago ; Lucian of Samosata (A.D. 125 - ~180) wrote a satirical novel featuring, for example, people on the Moon who could put their eyes in a ventral pocket and trade them, as a form of money (IIRC), see True_History. The flying spaghetti monster of this time ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:48, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Walk out[edit]

The walk out didn't interrupt the coalition talks (yet). At this point, it's still unsure what the effect of the approval by the committee of the proposal to split Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde will be on the coalition talks.--Ganchelkas 16:19, 7 November 2007 (UTC)


Every single references of this article (but one) is linking to flemish media or english media... Do you think it's a bit strange to reference only one side of the debate? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:26, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

(1) In an English-language Wikipedia it would seem unexceptional to reference a proportion of English-language media sources - many readers will be English monophones to whom neither Flemish nor Walloon sources would be useful. Your question appears to presume that all English-language media necessarily take the Flemish 'side' - have you any reason to suppose this?
(2) If Francophone users feel there is a bias such as you suggest (and there may well be), it is incumbent upon them to add the relevant balancing material and sources - how can non-Francophone users be expected to do so? 11:13, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be very useful if a Francophone user could add more about the views of the French side. The facts in this article are all correct as far as I know but all references to comments do give the Flemish interpretation of these facts. This at least gives the impression that the article is biased (unintentionally) to one side. I'm sure that the Walloons have sometimes a different view/interpretation at the facts. The article would benefit if this was corrected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:28, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Even if the references are correct and cover the assertions, because they are all in Dutch they are not accessible to people who don't speak Dutch. There a lot more people who speak French than there are people who speak Dutch, so adding French references would at least improve that. And there may indeed be something of a bias in the article when only Flemish or Dutch sources have been used; there are very few mentions of how politicians of the Francophone parties feel about this. Aec·is·away talk 16:52, 13 November 2007 (UTC)

State Reform[edit]

The article makes several mentions of "state reform". Apparently this is a sufficiently big issue that, as I understand, the King has intervened to try to take it off the agenda. Can one of you who know about this detail what this entails and perhaps why this is so controversial? 22:24, 12 November 2007 (UTC)

The state reform involves the status of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde. This consists of monolingually Dutch Halle-Vilvoorde and the bilingual (French and Dutch) Brussels Capital Region. Voters in this district are allowed to vote for Francophone parties, because Brussels is bilingual. But in Flanders, where Halle-Vilvoorde is located, only Dutch-speaking parties are allowed to take part in the elections, and in Wallonia only French-speaking parties are allowed to take part. Flemish parties see this as a violation of the monolingually Dutch nature of Flanders. The Constitutional Court has ruled that the electoral district is illegal and needs to be split, but Francophone parties do not accept a split. Usually, such issues were solved in a compromise. This is the first time that this hasn't happened, that the language groups have clashed. Basically all of the Flemish parties (socialist, christian, nationalist, green, liberal) support the split and all of the Francophone parties (socialist, christian, nationalist, green, liberal) oppose the split. That is what basically makes this controversial. Belgium is divided to the point that its existence is under threat. I'll see if I can incorporate this information into the article. Aec·is·away talk 16:49, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
The Constitutional Court didn't say it had to be split, it only said a solution had to be found. :-) State reform also involves other issues, mainly constitutional amendment and devolution.--Ganchelkas 16:57, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
As far as the Constitutional Court is concerned, the situation is a bit different than we both have said. The Court has ruled that the 2007 elections were allowed, but that any future election could only be held if a solution was found for BHV. A new election under the current structure would be invalid. As far as state reform is concerned: I stand corrected. BHV is the most prominent of the state reforms at the moment, but there are other aspects to it, that might be overlooked in this article. AecisBrievenbus 21:21, 13 November 2007 (UTC)
The Constitutional Court has ruled (in its arrest no. 73/2003 dated May 26, 2003) that the elections may be upheld during the then-running 4-year period as prescribed in article 65 of the Constitution (which meant that at least the 2003 elections did not have to be redone). Whether 10 June 2007 was still within that 4-year period, is contested. Most likely it isn't. However, since those elections were held (even though unconstitutionally), nobody is contesting them now, as long as a solution for the BHV problem is found before the next elections. – Adhemar (talk) 14:47, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Actors section[edit]

Is the actors section, in its current form, really necessary? There's no information in it that can't be found elsewhere in the article. If we are to keep it, I think it should be expanded to include most, if not all negotiators, even the ones that didn't make the press a lot. I also think the section's name should be changed, "actors" and "by order of appearance" make it seem as if this article doesn't cover a government formation, but a comedy series. I know that this formation does sometimes resemble a comedy, a farce even, but I don't think we need to add to that feeling. :-) --Ganchelkas 20:17, 14 November 2007 (UTC)

  • I think the section could be a useful addition to the article. This article is massive, and risks becoming hard to understand for people who don't know Belgian politics. This section could be a quick Who's Who, so that readers will know who the key players are and what their backgrounds are, before they start to read what actually went on. That way, when a name appears later on in the article and they can't remember who the person was, or they start further on in the article, they can go to this section to refresh their memory. I think an alphabetical order would be better though. Aec·is·away talk 13:26, 15 November 2007 (UTC)
Good point, but I do think we should also list other persons involved who were not actually at the negotiating table but who did influence things, such as Caroline Gennez.--Ganchelkas (talk) 10:42, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Separate articles[edit]

I think we should consider splitting off certain sections and moving them to separate articles, such as the section on the exploratory round, which is just too long in my opinion to remain in this article in its entirety.--Ganchelkas (talk) 11:20, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

Gazet van Antwerpen poll[edit]

I notice that sometimes results of polls show up in this article. Like this one "Meanwhile, an online survey conducted by Gazet van Antwerpen revealed 62% of Flemish respondents did not accept the agreement either.[1]" I deleted this, because I have some serious doubt about it that an online survey from Gazet Van Antwerpen (a newspaper which doesn't really represent the population very well, no newspaper in Belgium really does) If you really want to include results of polls in this article, I suggest to include polls from different newspapers who have a different public.


"This was a violation of rules established by the Flemish Government."

I'm not sure whether this is obvious to non-Belgians who read this, but it should be noted that setting these rules is well within the competence of the Flemish Government. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:01, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually, the Flemish Government isn't. Language regulation in the communities bordering the language border can only be changed by a law with special majority (i.e. two-thirds majority in both parlementary chambers, including normal majority in each language group), per article 129, § 2, 1st point of the Belgian Constitution. However, the “rules established by the Flemish Government” (circulaire letter-Peeters) is not considered new regulation, but a clarification and strict interpretation of the existing federal law, reconciling the Law with article 4 and others of the Constitution; and has been recognised and validated by Federal High Court (Arbitration Court and State Council) as such. – Adhemar (talk) 13:19, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Third question[edit]

This edit about the third question was done by me, but I forgot to log in. It replaced the formulation:

Can law proposals for state reform be adopted by a two-thirds majority on the whole without having to ensure two-thirds majorities in each language group, as well? Footnote: The third question is not in accordance with the belgian constitution which states that for changes to the constitution to be accepted a two-thirds majority is required in both language groups in parliament.

(where the question was misrepresented, and the footnote factually incorrect, see below) with the formulation:

Can law proposals for state reform be adopted by any constitutional two-thirds majority, without extra conditions, as well? Footnote: Most likely referring to a two-thirds majority consisting of the parties of government (which is expected to have a simple majority in both language groups) with additional parties from only one language group.

Source: Le Soir and others, who speak of "classical two-thirds majority". What does this mean?

  • This implies constitutional ones. This is, in both parlementary chambers: a two-thirds majority, including a simple majority in both the Dutch and the French language group (art. 4 of the Constitution)
  • Some French parties (e.g. CDH) wanted as extra condition an "equilibral two-thirds majority", being two-thirds in each language group, or at least one other major party (next to the ones of the governmental majority) in each language group (i.e. support of the PS in Wallonia).
  • Reservations were also made against any two-thirds majority which would not be a two-thirds majority without the support of Vlaams Belang.

Adhemar (talk) 13:46, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Orange-Blue Coalition?[edit]

For those of us less familiar with Belgian politics, the "orange-blue coalition" frequently referred to in the article should be explained somewhere. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd expect it to be a Flemish (Dutch-speaking, and therefore Orange) and Walloon (French-speaking, and therefore Blue) coalition government, but I'm far from sure, and there's nothing obvious in the English-language sources. Patrick O'Leary (talk) 21:08, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Though looking at the Partition of Belgium page, if the color codes are correct, it appears to be a Center-Liberal coalition. Help! Patrick O'Leary (talk) 21:22, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the terms actually apply to the colors associated with the Christian democratic parties (orange) and the liberal parties (blue) on both side of the linguistic divide. Belgian governments have always been coalitions between both Flemish and Walloon parties since the parties broke up along linguistic grounds in the mid-20th century. You can see the color-coding in the charts and graphs on the Belgian_general_election,_2007 page. You're right that this should be made explicit in the article though. --Jfruh (talk) 21:40, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Future articles[edit]

Now that it appears likely that Belgium will have a Federal Government by Christmas, I think we should consider starting a new article for the communautary negotiations that will take place after the formation of an interim government, something along the lines of 2007-2008 Belgian communautary crisis.--Ganchelkas (talk) 11:18, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Maybe we should just rename this article, as it seems like the material here would be a necessary prolog to those future events. --Jfruh (talk) 14:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
What are communautary negotiations? Also, does the interim government mean the formation crisis is over or postponed until 23 March 2008? -Rrius (talk) 03:18, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
It's over. Leterme takes over on 23 March. Therequiembellishere (talk) 05:26, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
From what I've understood, the formation crisis has been more or less postponed, because the government that would take over in March hasn't been formed yet. The formation of Verhofstadt-III means that there will be a full government in place to take care of important matters during the formation, rather than the outgoing caretaker government that Belgium had since June. AecisBrievenbus 12:57, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
2007-2008 communautary negotiations in Belgium might be more suitable, avoiding the word "crisis".--Steven Fruitsmaak (Reply) 14:32, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
I suggest 2008 Belgian government formation to be consistent. "communautary" is not an English word! AndrewRT(Talk) 00:19, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

And the Flemish Socialists?[edit]

Why the Flemish Socialist Party is not part of the government coalition? I think it is the first time ever that a party is not in government while its sister party is. Why did that happen? --Checco (talk) 00:43, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

One more thing... I just noticed that the intro does not reflect this and instead speaks of FDF and N-VA, while ignoring the role of the Socialist parties, one of which finally was part of the government. --Checco (talk) 00:46, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
So what about the intro which is to be improved? --Checco (talk) 00:12, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

Regional or Language-related classification?[edit]

Is Brussels in Flemish Region? No. Is Brussels in Walloon Region? No. Problems in Belgium are based upon language. It's a linguistic issue, not an "ethnic" issue.

The opposition in Belgium is between French-speaking people and Dutch-speaking people. Not between Walloons and Flemish people. For example, you are telling people that FDF is a Walloon political party. FDF isn't even present in the Walloon Region, it's only present in the Brussels-Capital Region and the Flemish Region! The people who are voting for FDF are French-speaking, not Walloon and they won't ever present themselves as Walloons.

Same thing for the Flemish parties : they are present in Brussels so they can't be presented as "Flemish only". Except of course if they are nationalist parties but most of them aren't.

Furthermore, speaking about "Flemish people/parties" isn't even more precise than speaking about "Dutch-speaking people/parties". Actually it's more ambiguous. Are you speaking about the Flemish Region, the Flemish Community, East-Flanders, West-Flanders, Flemish dialects, Old County of Flanders, Flemish Nationalism, etc... Same thing for Walloon.

Beside, a lot of people in Flemish Region don't present themselves as Flemish. I have studied one year in Sint-Truiden. You would present them as Flemish, they would answer they are Limburgians. Again, French-speaking people in Flemish Region are Flemish because they live in "Flanders" and it wouldn't be a problem if they weren't asking for linguistic rights. I can be presented myself as "historically/ethnically Flemish", like lots of people in Northern France... our mother languages are still French and Picard. Not Dutch or Flemish dialects.Auseklis (talk) 21:54, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I do not agree with you, but I don't want to start a long battle on a issue that is not so important for me. I will ask anyway to some friend users their opinion. --Checco (talk) 23:22, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd use Flemish for simplicity, frankly. —Nightstallion 23:42, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
In the Flemish-speaking media I read the parties are referred to as "Frenchspeaking" and "Flemish" (see for instance this article by the VRT), the French-speaking media speak of "Neerlandophone" and "Francophone" (see this article by RTL), the BBC mainly uses "French-speaking" and "Dutch-speaking", but also dabbles in "Flemish" and "Walloon" (see this article). The Flemish-speaking parties are called "Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten", "Vlaams Belang", "Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams" and "Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie". I would tend to go for "Flemish" and "French-speaking", mainly because that's what the Flemish-speaking media do.
But this is really a rather far reaching issue (what should wikipedia call Flemish, Walloon, French-speaking and Dutch-speaking?): I would ask the advice of the Wikipedia:WikiProject Belgium or the Wikipedia:Requests for comment. C mon (talk) 09:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
In the meantime, I will revert the last edits of Auseklis, as it seems to me that there is no actual consensus on them. --Checco (talk) 11:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I too think the original page was better than what User talk:Auseklis changed. The use of adjectives "Flemish" and "Walloon" are far more explicit than Dutch-speaking and French-speaking. Nevertheless, we could use the term "Brusseler" to speak of the FDF, as Brussels is its main area of propaganda. Stephane.dohet (talk) 14:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
I agree with you on everything you said and I ask to everyone of you to read the article and eventually correct the bad translations. In the meanwhile, let the discussion continue! --Checco (talk) 14:54, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Belgian political crisis[edit]

I think it would be a good idea to reform this article to, or write a new article, called 2007-2008 Belgian political crisis, as it's becoming clear - by Leterme's resignation - that these negotiations did not solve the (roots of the) crisis. Sijo Ripa (talk) 19:44, 15 July 2008 (UTC)


Now there says that it was the second longest in Europe after the Dutch record from 1977. But then, what was the info that said it was the world record, and the previous record was held by the war-torn Iraq? It must have been different measure (other than counted from the election) since I remember it had been going on over 300 days at some point... (talk) 16:48, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Found it. It was further down in the Belgium article. One should read all before commenting like this... (talk) 16:51, 15 May 2012 (UTC)

Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:2007–08 Belgian government formation/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

Substituted at 21:32, 26 June 2016 (UTC)

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