Right-wing minister reacts to leftist victory by spreading fake news

In Brussels, leftist parties recently won local elections. In response, Secretary of State Theo Francken, a Flemish nationalist, distributed a picture of the celebrating Catherine Moureaux (PS) along with misleading insinuations.

Marjan Justaert
Marjan Justaert De Standaard, Belgium
Source: De Standaard
Right-wing minister reacts to leftist victory by spreading fake news - NewsMavens
Theo Francken, Catherine Moureaux Wikimedia Commons and YouTube

Why this story matters:

Secretary of State Theo Francken (N-VA) was criticized for sharing a picture of Catherine Moureaux (PS), the winner of the elections in Molenbeek, surrounded by men, suggesting that her (Muslim) women supporters had to stay home.

Mathieu Golinvaux, who took the picture, was disappointed by the Secretary of State's actions, and the misuse of his picture. According to Golinvaux, there were many women around at that moment, but they didn't make it on the picture.

It's not the first time Francken makes misleading statements on social media. Prime Minister Charles Michel has already reprimanded him, but he seems to be a slow learner. The new incident provides additional proof that a long-lasting reconciliation between the left and right is unlikely in Belgium.

'Jihadplan on the table'

  • The result of the local elections in Belgium last Sunday, is very diffuse. In Flanders, the northern part of the country, the the far right Vlaams Belang and the ecologists of Groen are clear winners. However, in Brussels it's the (radical) left side who won.
  • In Molenbeek, Catherine Moureaux of the socialist party, daughter of the former Mayor Philippe Moureaux, trumped the conservatives and claimed the victory.
  • Molenbeek, in the middle of Brussels, is a very diverse city and known as the so-called "Hellhole" -- according to American President Donald Trump -- due to links with the terrorists of Paris and Brussels. For the Flemish nationalists of the N-VA, the elder Moureaux is a symbol of "laxity" and coddling Islamic voters.
  • Because it was mostly men who were celebrating Catherine Moureaux's victory, Secretary of State Theo Francken (N-VA) concluded that the women had to stay home. "Future social model of the socialists", he sniped on Twitter.
  • He also made a link with terrorism. His colleague Jan Jambon (also N-VA) developed a "Kanaalplan" to "clean up" Molenbeek, and Francken didn't ease up on the criticism of Catherine Moureaux. "Kanaalplan on the table, jihad plan on the table", he said with sarcasm.
  • The photographer, Mathieu Golinvaux, insisted on giving the whole story. It seems that there were women in the streets of Molenbeek. Golinvaux says (on Twitter) that he has no personal interest in this at all, but he wants to tell the truth and rejects the use of his picture to make political statements.

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