Wednesday, December 7, 2011

There's a new Prime Minister over in Brussels tonight

I told you I wouldn't believe it until I saw it with my own eyes, and now I have. Belgium finally has a government, headed by the ever-smiling Elio Di Rupo. He has only been in office for a day (you can watch him pocket the keys to the government here), but his place in history is already secured, as he is the world's first openly gay male head of government (Iceland has had a lesbian Prime Minister since 2009).

Elio Di Rupo.

Di Rupo's first grand task will be to improve his Dutch. This has been an issue ever since he became a candidate for Prime Minister, and the newly-established opposition is now milking this "unfulfilled" promise, saying that Di Rupo cannot lead a bilingual country as long as his Dutch is in its current state.

Hm. I might put some Dutch lessons on here myself, in case he reads my blog.


  1. Just a tiny correction: Iceland already has had a lesbian prime minister for a while, so Elio's the second openly gay prime minister, but the first within the EU since Iceland is not yet a EU member.

    Also, this is historical for more reasons: first Walloon prime minister since 1974, first ever Belgian prime minister of foreign origin (his parents were Italian and he is the only one of the children born in Belgian, his older siblings are all born in Italy). This hopefully spreads the message that Belgium, a sour minority aside, is a modern open-minded society after all!

    I very much support Di Rupo. My only regret is OpenVLD in this government, the ones who support the rich rather than taxing them extra. As a communist myself, I obviously consider such parties (N-VA is a light version of OpenVLD in economical terms) as ideological counterparts. But the fact we have a socialist prime minister and the Parti Socialiste in control of the Chamber is good news. I have faith in Di Rupo that he will do a good job!

    As for his Dutch: he has an accent, obviously, but few Flemish will speak French without some accent. Nothing wrong with that. When Elio speaks Dutch, I don't need subtitles to understand him. I think it is absurd that there has to be language equality in the government, since we're all Belgians in the end, the government is not a coalition of two separate governments... But anyways, Elio's Dutch is decent enough already and he makes effords. Only 1 of the Flemish ministers did the oath to the king in both Dutch and French. And if we really want to complain about language equality, then where is the Germanophone minister? Let's leave this silly language thing behind and give Elio the chance he deserves, his acts are what matters in the end. That said, his Dutch is decent and very understandable.

  2. Thanks for the input, Gerrit! I personally can't comment on Mr. Di Rupo's Dutch proficiency - which it seems I have done nonetheless. In any case, I'm ready to give him a chance. As a citizen of a healthy social democracy, I can only applaud this development.