Fainting in Coyles
An occasional letter from the Heart of Euroville

Thursday, June 10, 2004  

Let and favour - Elections in Brussels

One aspect of electioneering here in the city that has had me puzzled is the way in which the posters are displayed. I have already written about how commune workers have been showing a level of bias in which poster go up and where on the official commune poster boards. These boards appear in every square and most major junctions and have clearly defined areas for each party. Looking at them from left to right we start with PS, (socialist) getting a couple of yards of width, then VLD (Flemish Liberal), MR (French Liberal) CdH (sort of Christian Democrat) CDV (sort of Flemish Christian Democrat) Spa + Spirit, and on to the smaller parties, Greens , the Party of Young Muslims (a fine henna-bearded chap) then on a sliver we have the really small parties like the FNB (National Front francophone) MFW (Wallonian nationalists) Trots and last, and in this case defiantly least the Vlaams Blok.

But that is only the official state sanctioned poster sites. What happens in the private domain is a different matter. There are a few, very few, posters up in private homes, but thousands in shop windows.
In part of town, Schaerbeek has a large immigrant population. So much so that when my wife told her fellow students that we were buying a house there the response was.

“So you are leaving Brussels”.
“No, we are moving to Schaerbeek”.
“That’s what we mean you are leaving Brussels and moving to Morrocco”.

What is interesting is that all the shops have posters from at least 3 or 4 parties displayed. The candidates there advertised are all from the immigrant population but for parties across the spectrum – though no VB or FN round here. Speaking to a few shopkeepers the reasons are very simple. They are frightened that they will be discriminated against by the elected members if they get support the losing side, so to cover their backs they support them all.
To me this is an example of how corrupt the governmental system is here. The fear they display is not the response of people who trust government in any way. They do in fact fear let and favour.

posted by Eliab | 10:44 am
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