Thursday, May 21, 2009

Election fever

This is what our hallway looks like. Every single day. Around 10 flyers, leaflets, booklets, posters, etc of election candidates. You also get this stuff pushed into your hands every time you leave the house. And when you park your car somewhere...right, there’s a leaflet under your wiper when you get back.
Needless to say, I’m getting seriously fed up with this. Not to mention that I just cannot take politics in this country serious anymore. Last time, after the federal elections in June 2007, it took them no less than 7 months to form a federal government – and even then it was only a temporary solution for three months.
Moreover, we have so many governments and parliaments in this tiny country, that nobody knows what elections are actually taking place. Is it local? Provincial? Federal? European? Regional? Ask 10 people in the street, and if you’re lucky, one will know the answer. Just to clarify it on this blog: this time we’re voting for the European parliament, for the Flemish parliament, for the Walloon parliament, for the Brussels Capital parliament and for the parliament of the German speaking Community. Are you still following? Don’t worry; none of us Belgians are either.
Even the guy who was supposed to become prime minister last time ended up singing the French Marseillaise when asked for the Belgian national anthem. So why should we feel ashamed if we bluntly admit that we don’t have a clue about what’s going on?

Maybe by now you’ll start to understand why in Belgium we still have compulsory voting (that’s right, we don’t have a choice – we have to vote, or at least show up). And because of this, people have no other way to out their unhappiness than by voting on all kinds of extreme and populist parties. Or they keep on voting for the same old parties without giving it any thought, because they believe that nothing is ever going to change anyway. And who can blame them?
Politics has lost its shine and glory a long time ago in Belgium. And when I look at the little wooden matchbox with my grandfather’s picture on it, from back in the 60s when he was having his own campaign, that really makes me kind of sad.

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