groen moet!

week to go before the regional and European elections and tension is
rising. For me there are two crucial questions : will a racist party get
more than 20% of the votes? and will the green party get over
the electoral threshold of 5%? If you are not Flemish both probably
require some explanation.
A month ago, the extreme right party
‘Vlaams Blok’ was convicted in court for racism and discrimination.
They can still participate in the elections because they appealed and
Belgian courts are extremely slow. Many people think that this
conviction only applies to the party and not to people voting for it. To
me, anyone still voting for a party convicted for racism says “I don’t
care about society, values and the law!” Sadly, I wouldn’t be
surprised if more than 20% of the electorate will broadcast that message
next week. But let us remain optimistic and look at the Vlaams Blog weblogs and their posters ridiculing
the Vlaams Blok propaganda.
Then there is the Flemish green
party groen!.
Usually they got between 5% and 8% of the votes with one exception in
1999 when they obtained 11%. In 1999 they went into government and among
major environmental accomplishments they also voted silly laws such as
introducing an electoral threshold of 5%. In last year’s elections they
were the first party to be hurt by this when they dived under 4% and had
not a single member of parliament left. I have voted green at every
election with one exception : early 80ties the Americans wanted to
install cruise missiles in Belgium and with my twenties-naivety I
thought to be able to avoid this by casting a strategic (socialist)
vote. A traumatic experience because soon afterwards the missiles were
flown in… To me this partly explains the reluctance of groen! to form
an alliance with the socialist party as (sadly enough) groen! is run by
people of my generation (or older). Still, in the long run there is no
alternative but to form one progressive green-red party. So, I hope
that, whatever happens, after the elections competent youngsters such as
Van der Straeten
and Els
will take control of the green party and find equally
driven people in the socialist party (not entirely trivial as they seem
to specialize in babes whose major accomplishment is the introduction of
the sleeveless shirt ministerial look). In case you wonder : I will vote
Van der Straeten
for Europe and Lieve Stallaert for the Flemish

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