On Sunday, March 26, Belgium will go to the polls to elect a new Government a year before the normal term of its late Parliament would have expired.
On Sunday, March 26, Belgium will go to the polls to elect a new Government a year before the normal term of its late Parliament would have expired. With less than seven days to go, the election battle between the three contenders - the Catholics, the Liberals and the Socialists - is speeding up.
Speaking at a recent electoral meeting in Mons, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister M. Spaak - who recently resigned his position as Secretary-General of NATO to lead the Socialist Party - scored a great success with the crowds. He is the most popular figure in the campaigns, but it was doubted whether even he could secure an absolute socialist victory.
In Brussels where election excitement is at fever pitch, Mr. Gilson, Minister of Defence, had an enthusiastic reception as he spoke for the Catholic Party. Mr. Stroye, President of the Senate also spoke at the meeting.
It was said that the bad impression left by the recent strikes may be so great that the Catholic Party will be carried forward to an absolute majority in both Chambers and so enable them to set up a one-party Government.
Other speakers at Mons recently included Liberal Party candidates Mr. Vanderschueren, Minister of Economical Affairs, and Mr. De Loze, Minister of Energy. There many interruptions and afterwards the speakers answered questions from the audience.
There has been some thought that the Liberals will reap the advantage of votes cast against the other two parties rather than in their own favour. But it was said that this would scarcely give them a majority.
At Ellezele in Flanders, the Prime Minister, M. Gaston Eyskens and M. Wigny, Minister of Foreign Affairs, both had large gatherings at their rallys for the cause of the Catholic Party, and answered many questions on policy.
It was at a Press conference in Brussels Feb 20 that M. Eyskens, Prime Minister of the Christian Social and Liberal coalition Government, announced King Baudouin's decision to dissolve Parliament forwith and to hold elections March 26 for the Chamber, the Senate and the nine Provincial Councils.
This meant that the present Government would remain in office until the elections and would govern normally.