Belgian far-right leader in landmark audience with the king
The Associated Press05/29/19, 04:59
Belgium’s King Philippe has received the leader of the far-right, anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang at the royal palace, the first time the party has been granted such an audience.
The meeting Wednesday with Vlaams Belang president Tom Van Grieken is a landmark for the party, and comes after it made huge gains in Belgium’s northern Flanders region in Sunday’s elections.
The result looks set to complicate efforts to form a national government.
As usual after elections, the king meets party leaders to help ease coalition talks. But Belgian monarchs traditionally respect a “cordon sanitaire” — a symbolic political fence erected by mainstream parties to isolate Vlaams Belang.
One mainstream party leader, Maxime Prevot, said “just the idea of seeing (Van Grieken) arrive at the palace sends shivers down my spine.”