Misery. That is what is hanging over the Antwerp liberals. It doesn’t look like Willem-Frederik Schiltz can become aldermen in Antwerp, resulting Open VLD has to decide whether it will leave the Antwerp coalition.
‘If you think you have to play games with Bart De Wever, don’t be shocked that you will get a boenk in return.’ This can be heard in the corridors of Antwerp’s city hall. Some see with dismay – others with glee – how Open VLD has got itself into trouble and mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) is driving his coalition partner to a choice between the plague and cholera.
Mayor Bart De Wever is pushing his liberal coalition partner to a choice between the plague and cholera.
It doesn’t look like the bomb will burst anytime soon, but by January 1 at the latest, the choice for the liberal will become inevitable: will they drop their leader Willem-Frederik Schiltz from leaving the Antwerp coalition? The result is the same twice: the liberals threaten to disappear below the waterline in the next elections – certainly after the abolition of compulsory voting.
- Mayor Bart De Wever is pushing his liberal coalition partner in Antwerp to a choice between the plague and cholera. Either Open VLD drops Willem-Frederik Schiltz, or the party leaves the Antwerp coalition.
- After the fall of Sihame El Kaouakibi, Schiltz came to the fore to put the liberals in Antwerp back on the map with a D66 story.
- Due to an ultimatum from Open VLD chairman Egbert Lachaert, De Wever is sitting in a seat. He waits to see what the Liberals will do when the ultimatum has started on Monday.
- To escalate the Antwerp situation to the Flemish government.
What is it about? At the start of the Antwerp coalition, the date agreed between the dealmakers Bart De Wevermine Kerbache (sp.a) and Philippe Backer (Open VLD) is that the socialists from Vooruit will hand over one of their three alderman’s seats to the liberals halfway through the coalition. Claude Marinower only have one ships.
Marinower had to sign all his resignation letter, resulting in criminal lawyer Erika Caluwaerts – the only Open VLD star in the Antwerp city council – can move on and become alderman. According to the deeds that have been signed, she will receive a double hat. She takes over the powers for Economy from Marinower and she is responsible for the OCMW, which is currently still with the Karim Bachar (Vooruit) alderman. Vooruit then falls back from three to two ship posts.
At Open VLD, the plan was to double Erika Caluwaerts’ powers and to plan a second liberal ship next to her. That would be Sihame El Kaouakibi, who had to put the liberals in Antwerp back on the map. After Annemie Turtelboom and then Philippe De Backer had gone wrong twice with a centre-right story, Open VLD – under the impulse of Bart Somers – wanted to present a D66 story in Antwerp.
Open VLD wanted – under the impulse of Bart Somers – to present a D66 story in Antwerp. After the fall of Sihame El Kaouakibi, Willem-Frederik Schiltz came to the fore.
After the fall of El Kaouakibi, Willem-Frederik Schiltz came to the fore. He has never been a voice gun, but he does fit in the casting for a D66 story. But Schiltz soon made himself impossible. De Wever couldn’t help but find out in the press that he was bombing himself into second ships. That hadn’t been discussed with Marinower either.
Schiltz, who was under internal pressure to come out more and to profile Open VLD, took on the role of opponent within the majority. He started playing political games against De Wever, for example by making a fuss about the nuisance on Sint-Jansplein. He is also seen as the whisperer who encouraged Flemish Minister of Mobility Lydia Peeters (Open VLD) to play smart solo in difficult Antwerp files, such as that of the Turnhoutsebaan.
Schiltz thought that little could be made of nothing, because everything was arranged at the start of the coalition. And you don’t break a given word. Certainly not if you accuse someone else of the same, as De Wever accuses Open VLD chairman Egbert Lachaert of having submitted ‘treason’ in the federal government negotiations. In addition, it is up to each side to decide who moves them forward.
The nomination deed of Willem-Frederik Schiltz as signature becomes legally vertical and politically almost impossible.
Yet Schiltz did not have strong cards in his hands, because he needs the support of the majority if his deed of nomination as alderman has to be signed. This is made impossible for legal interests and politically. No one in the N-VA group seems willing to sign the deed yet. There is also little enthusiasm at Vooruit to deliver their third alderman’s mail.
Open VLD chairman Lachaert, who was caught by those maneuvers in the dark, promptly drafted an ultimatum of a week. Dated De Wever in an armchair. He is now waiting to see what Lachaert and co. do if the ultimatum ends on Monday. Either OpenLD drops Schiltz, or the party leaves the Antwerp coalition. Both suit De Wever well, but it is twice as much misery for Open VLD.
The danger is that the situation in Antwerp to the Flemish government.
The Antwerp department did not think it was a good move that Lachaert thought on the Antwerp stage. He imported his national feud with De Wever, open VLD Antwerp has always made every effort to keep national politics out of ‘t Schoon Verdiep. There is a danger that the situation in Antwerp will escalate to the Flemish government. Although Open VLD is not expected to put all that at risk for Schiltz.