Greens out, nuclear may return

3 June 2003

Greens parties have been severely defeated on May 18 at Belgium's general elections. This means that the new government, a likely coalition between socialists and liberals, may abolish the nuclear phase-out law adopted early this year.

The French-speaking Green list led by former state energy secretary Olivier Deleuze lost 6 of its 11 seats and Flemish green party Agalev lost all its seats. The liberals of former prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and socialists, led by Elio di Rupo, are both more sympathetic to the concerns of Belgium's main nuclear operator Electrabel. In approximately equal share, these two parties won 97 seats at the 150-seat parliament, and therefore do not need the Greens any more.

Many MPs, when voting earlier this year to phase out nuclear from 2015, said they did it because it was part of the governing agreement, but that they would vote its revocation as soon as a government without the Greens was in power, which is now the case.

Nevertheless, Deleuze said that the Greens may be back in the government in 2007, and if the nuclear law is cancelled by then, they would re-adopt it. "The aim is to create uncertainty for investors", he explained, "and the nuclear sector hates uncertainty above all", he added.

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