IThere is no disagreement in the government on the subject, ”Prime Minister Alexander De Croo assured Thursday evening before the House following his statements in parliament on the appointment of a government commissioner and statements who followed on the social networks of Minister David Clarinval (MR).
The file was discussed in a select committee on Thursday morning due to the opposition expressed by the MR to the designation, a few months ago, by Secretary of State Sarah Schlitz (Ecolo) of a government commissioner for the Institute for equality between women and men, in this case Ihsane Haouach, woman wearing the Islamic headscarf.
Two options were available to the government. Either the decision was maintained, or initiatives were taken to modify or cancel it, briefly explained the Prime Minister in response to arrests from Peter De Roover (N-VA), Barbara Pas (VB) and Catherine Fonck (CDH) ).
“In the end, the decision was not called into question,” he added. “There was no proposal to review the decision.”
Who is telling the truth?
Earlier today, the head of government had already replied on the subject to a member of the N-VA that no party around the table had questioned the decision. The president of the MR, Georges-Louis Bouchez, and then Minister Clarinval caused confusion and gave the impression to the opposition and to many commentators that the French-speaking liberals contested Mr. De Croo’s response.
“In KERN this morning, as representative of the MR, I clearly expressed our opposition to the decision taken, without consultation, by Secretary of State Sarah Schlitz (Ecolo) to appoint Ihsane Haouach as the new government commissioner” , said Minister MR.
These remarks led to the return of Mr. De Croo in the evening before the assembly.
“To see a minister accuse his Prime Minister of lying to parliament and therefore to all Belgians is serious. It is not a question of majority and opposition, it is a question of the credibility of the government, ”asserted Ms. Fonck.
The Flemish nationalists were not more lenient. “Who is right? You, who say that no party has questioned the decision taken? Or the tweet from Mr Clarinval that clearly says he opposed the decision? ”Asked Mr De Roover.
The Prime Minister’s short response did not convince the opposition much. “Your government is starting to look like a political brothel,” said the leader of the N-VA group, while Ms. Fonck attacked “hypocrisy” and “manipulation” of the MR. “It doesn’t make politics great,” she continued.
Silence of the majority
No member of the majority spoke. On Twitter, Mr. Bouchez clarified his words. “As the royal decree designating a woman wearing a convictional sign has already been adopted by the Secretary of State without consultation with the government, we would need unanimity to have a new royal decree adopted which designates another nobody. We do not have this unanimity, ”he stressed.
Tensions were palpable Thursday afternoon in the majority in the House. Informal caucuses brought together the majority group leaders. From good sources, it was also confirmed that within the executive, in the Flemish ranks, deputy prime ministers had expressed their weariness on Thursday morning in front of the attitude of the president of the MR.