Interviewed for May Day with Robert Vertenueil (FGTB) and Jean-Pascal Labille (Solidaris), the president of the PS pleads for “a government of full exercise”. Say “government of solidarity”, slips the president of the FGTB.
The PS does not intend to vote, at the end of June, a second phase of special powers. Does this mean that the Wilmès government will no longer have your confidence?
Paul Magnette No, there is no link with the special powers, which were granted at the end of March for three months, renewable once. But it is true that if at the end of these three months the bulk of the health crisis has passed and it is necessary to start discussing socio-economic measures, it is better to have a government of full exercise rather than to continue in a configuration current affairs. As for confidence in the government as such, Sophie Wilmès explained that she would ask the question no later than next September, that suits us very well. So, no, I’m not saying that you absolutely must ask the confidence question before September. This would allow us to focus in May-June on the health crisis, and after that, once the special powers are removed, to work with Parliament, having parallel political contacts to discuss a full-service government. What matters for the PS is the content: social security, wage increase – think for example of the minimum wage at 14 euros -, capital taxation. This is what we believe should be at the heart of the discussions.
We don’t rule out a return to the polls at the start of the school year. What do you think ?
I understand the reasoning. For us, the next world must really be different from what it was before, we must learn all the lessons from this crisis, not act as if it had been a parenthesis. Therefore, from the moment when we have to make choices that will redefine a real social and ecological pact for the next decades, there would be a political logic to consult the citizens, to hold elections. But we do not know when the complete deconfinement can be organized and we do not imagine organizing elections with 1.5 meters distance between people in the polling stations … For material reasons, this seems impossible. Let us try to form a government on the basis of the existing Parliament. I am counting on those who, up to now, have been saying “We are spending too much”, “We have to save money in health care”, but we have not heard at all for a few weeks. On the contrary, they call on the state to the rescue. I hope they will be consistent tomorrow. In this case, it will be perfectly possible to form a government.
Take the wealth tax, it has been our demand for a very long time, all the more necessary as there will be a huge challenge for the financing of social security in the coming years. I feel like the lines are moving there too. There are a number of economists, particularly in Flanders, who dare to debate.
Is this a condition for entering a future government?
We never put entry conditions otherwise we make negotiation impossible. But it will be a strong demand from the PS, also from the SP.A.
Robert Vertenueil This future coalition, its baptismal name is all found since everyone used this catchy word: “coalition of solidarity”. And when we have said that, we will have said everything.