EU president's family battles in Belgian election

EU President Rompuy may have left Belgian politics, but other family members, including his anti-capitalist sister, are lining up to take his place.

EU president's family battles in Belgian election

 

European Union President Herman Van Rompuy may have left Belgian politics, but other family members, including his anti-capitalist sister, are lining up to take his place.

Herman was Belgium's prime minister for just under a year until he stood down last November to take his new job.

His sister Tine of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PVDA+) and his Christian Democrat son Peter are candidates in Sunday's parliamentary election for the Senate upper house, albeit with little more than their name in common.

Tine, 54, is the leading Senate candidate of the PVDA, a party not expected to win parliamentary seats.

"We have a different vision," Tine told Reuters comparing herself to elder brother Herman, known for his love of Japanese-style haiku poetry. "He is defending capitalism, with us that's not the case. There is a great difference."

Tine's website www.tinevanrompuy.be features a rap with the lyrics "Vote Van Rompuy Tine, the more socially minded sister".

Peter is standing for his father's Flemish Christian Democrats, although being eighth in the party's list of potential senators, the 30-year-old recognises he will need a "half miracle" to win a seat.

The Van Rompuy name can be seen on posters across Belgium's Dutch-speaking Flanders region in what is Peter's fourth election bid.

"Through my family I have always been interested, but my father did not force me into politics," he said.

 

Family politics 

Both Van Rompuy candidates said politics did not dominate discussions at meetings of family, also including Herman's brother Eric, a member of the Flemish regional parliament.

"Then politics is far away," said Tine.

Peter agreed the family did not discuss politics.

"Families serve to bind, but politics divides," he said.

Belgians will vote for upper and lower houses of parliament on Sunday.

The Flemish N-VA, which wants to split Belgium, could win the most votes and leave the country struggling to form a coalition that delivers both reform of the state and debt reduction.

Belgium in effect holds two elections. Separate parties compete in the French- and majority Dutch-speaking parts of the country, and majorities from each side of the language divide are usually required to form a coalition government.

Reuters

Last Mod: 12 Haziran 2010, 09:56
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