The Open Vld held a “necessary” party office

The Open Vld held a long party office on Saturday in order to explain the events of the past week to all fractions and stakeholders.

Several participants wondered about the search for a secretary of state outside their own party. Others reassured Eva De Bleeker about her future in the Flemish Liberal Party. But all agreed that the meeting was necessary for the violins to be tuned again.

Eva De Bleeker, state secretary for the budget and consumer protection, resigned on Friday after her post became untenable due to some errors in the budget. Her successor, Alexia Bertrand, was immediately designated and then appointed by the King. She comes from the French-speaking MR and notably cut her teeth as Didier Reynders’ chief of staff when he was a minister.

Eva De Bleeker was profusely thanked during this party office, confided one of its participants. “Almost all the speakers assured her that there was still a future for her within the party”. Everyone however also indicated that a time of reflection was first necessary.


Another person present described the mood of the meeting as “emotional”. “There were a lot of questions about attracting someone from outside the party. You have to have faith in the abilities of your own people.” According to another Liberal, many were understanding that a very specific profile had to be sought in the short term, as it was assured in the House on Thursday that the budget tables would be finalized in time for the budget to be voted on. before Christmas. “Alexia Bertrand knows how to draw up a budget, had good relations with the other chiefs of staff at the time and is well known within the Open Vld.”

Most members of the liberal party agreed that Eva De Bleeker’s position had become untenable. After Thursday’s House session, its way of functioning had become “a problem for the entire majority”, slips a source. “But it’s also clear that more played into it (in the decision) than the issues of last week,” said another.

A possible move for Alexia Bertrand – Antwerp and Flemish Brabant are mentioned – was not yet discussed on Saturday. However, this worries several strong local personalities, who fear him. Others believe that the new Secretary of State will simply remain in Brussels, as the strong woman of a future joint list with the MR.

In any case, the atmosphere between the Open Vld and the French-speaking liberal party would not have deteriorated further after Friday. The two presidents had a rather serene telephone conversation.


Departure of Eva De Bleeker: the N-VA “doubts that the right person has resigned”

Alexia Bertrand joins the Open Vld… without leaving the MR

Secretary of State for the Budget Eva De Bleeker resigns, Alexia Bertrand succeeds her

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