By Steve Dellar   |  09-15-2018   News
Photo credit: Het Belang Van Limburg

With Swedish elections over and done with, Europe is looking forward to the next voting appointments taking place in October. Two Eurozone member states in the west are next on the list: Germany (which has regional elections in the South) and Belgium (which has communal elections for the whole country).

Belgium is a peculiar case as the state of the current economic engine is so good (it is expected the current right-wing government will simply continue) that the issues surrounding this year’s elections are quite minor, though there have been some noteworthy side-stories.

<b>Racism</b>

Two peculiar cases of racism are noteworthy. The first happened at the end of August during the famous ‘Pukkelpop’ festival where some Belgian youngsters (of Congolese origin) tried to get to the front of the venue and pushed some others aside. The latter group responded by singing a song which reminds of Belgium’s colonial past in ‘Congo’ where hands of the Africans would be chopped off if they didn’t pluck the rubber fast enough.

The lyrics ‘Handjes kappen, de Congo is van ons’ (chopping off hands, the Congo belongs to us) made every newspaper.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="nl" dir="ltr">&quot;Handjes kappen, de Congo…&quot; is dom en getuigt van bijzonder weinig goede smaak. Maar waarom &#39;eren&#39; we in dit land dan wel de organisator van deze praktijk met pleinen, straten en standbeelden? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/leopold2?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#leopold2</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/hypocriet?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#hypocriet</a> <a href="https://t.co/hDpXnnoKz5">pic.twitter.com/hDpXnnoKz5</a></p>&mdash; Hans Verreyt (@HansVerreyt) <a href="https://twitter.com/HansVerreyt/status/1031811695558230016?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 21, 2018</a></blockquote>

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The second incident followed a few weeks later when a Walloon weather presenter (again of Congolese origin) received a Facebook message stating that one of the viewers couldn’t see the map of Belgium because of her skin colour and her ‘large’ ass. She cried in response and got a lot of sympathy from some of the Congolese-origin football players of the Belgian national team.

<b>Communism</b>

Whereas in the Dutch speaking northern part of Flanders all eyes will be on Antwerp (more on this later), the French speaking southern part of Wallonia is looking forward to see whether the communist PTB can conquer some cities from the socialist PS (Parti Socialiste).

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="fr" dir="ltr">Et aujourd&#39;hui, qu&#39;en est-il??? A Liège en tous cas, les gens ont compris et se mobilisent contre ceux qui leur ont pourri la vie, mais nous verrons… <a href="https://t.co/sRw80Fjj27">https://t.co/sRw80Fjj27</a></p>&mdash; Leemans Eric (@LeemansEric) <a href="https://twitter.com/LeemansEric/status/1039826838061768704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 12, 2018</a></blockquote>

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As the socialists have gotten caught up in multiple corruption scandals in the past few years and the Flemish nationalists of the NVA became the largest political party in the country, the Walloons have reacted by shifting to the extreme left, towards the communist PTB.

<b> Cocaine</b>

The eyes of Flanders will be on the mayor’s race in Antwerp (the main port city in the north). As no Walloon would ever accept anyone of the Flemish nationalist party NVA to become Prime Minister, Belgium’s de facto leader, the nationalist Mr Bart De Wever, gladly stepped aside and awarded the title of PM to Mr Charles Michel of the Walloon Liberal party who has governed with 3 Flemish parties ever since, without any major hiccups. It is widely expected that the same parties will win the elections.

Everyone in Belgium knows that Charles Michel is the Prime Minister, and Mr Bart De Wever the one pulling his strings.

This same Mr De Wever now faces a battle for his position as mayor of Antwerp but polls indicate he will hold on to this title without much of a fight.

The only strange attack thus far was from one of his government’s coalition partners, the centre-left CD&V (Christian conservatives) who claimed that when Mr De Wever brought up the issue of the cocaine trafficking in Antwerp (which due to its central position in Europe has become the main entry point for cocaine into the Eurozone), he should have handled this growing problem better himself as he was the mayor.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="nl" dir="ltr">Je leest hier toch wat… Antwerpse <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/CDenV?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#CDenV</a>-kandidaat opgepakt met drie kilo cocaïne. <a href="https://t.co/jS7BJ6ISGh">https://t.co/jS7BJ6ISGh</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/infiltrant?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#infiltrant</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Antwerpen?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Antwerpen</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/warondrugs?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#warondrugs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/bijdebecker?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#bijdebecker</a></p>&mdash; Bram Vandamme (@VdammeBram) <a href="https://twitter.com/VdammeBram/status/1039048129318989824?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">September 10, 2018</a></blockquote>

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Funnily enough, one of the CD&V politicians was arrested three days later with 3 kilograms of cocaine.

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