Faithful lieutenant of Bart De Wever, sober and discreet: who is Matthias Diependaele, the trainer of the Flemish government?

Faithful lieutenant of Bart De Wever, sober and discreet: who is Matthias Diependaele, the trainer of the Flemish government?
Faithful lieutenant of Bart De Wever, sober and discreet: who is Matthias Diependaele, the trainer of the Flemish government?

Matthias Diependaele, determined, with his sleeves rolled up, walks with a determined step, alongside Bart De Wever, who looks at him and points his index finger towards him. Is the photo, taken this Tuesday in the corridors of the N-VA HQ on rue Royale in Brussels, a premonitory sign? Barely 10 days after the election, informant Bart De Wever handed over to him in order to start negotiations for the formation of a government in Flanders. A real challenge for the man nicknamed the architect of the Jambon government’s budgetary austerity policy during the previous legislature.

Bart De Wever delivers a negotiating note to CD&V and Vooruit: “We’re not there yet, but miracles can happen in 24 hours”

Matthias Diependaele is not very well known in French-speaking Belgium. However, this faithful lieutenant of Bart De Wever could well become… the next Flemish minister-president. Even if he was quick to point out that “we negotiate better with an open mind, without having in mind what awaits us next”. The trainer will be assisted in his mission by the outgoing Minister of the Environment, Zuhal Demir, by the outgoing Minister of Education, Ben Weyts as well as by the alderwoman of the port of Antwerp and MP, Annick De Ridder.

On June 9, this jurist, specialized in international law, garnered 47,000 preference votes as head of the list in the Flemish parliament, thus achieving the fifth best score for his party. Matthias Diependaele is considered to be a man of numbers, who manages the accounts like an accountant. With discretion and sobriety.

Vooruit is ready to start negotiations for the formation of the Flemish government

Born in 1979 in Saint-Nicolas, Matthias Diependaele lives in Zottegem, where he is the mayor. He loves his region bathed by the Dendre. This husband and father of four children comes from a flamingo family. His grandfather Renaat was a senator and mayor during the German occupation. His father Baudewijn (with an “a”) was an N-VA provincial councilor.

He entered politics as advisor to N-VA MP Frieda Brepoels in the European Parliament. In 2009, he ran in the Flemish elections. Elected at the age of 29, he was among the youngest deputies sitting in the chamber and became leader of the N-VA group in the Flemish Parliament. In the 2012 municipal elections, Matthias Diependaele drew the N-VA list in his municipality of Zottegem. On October 2, 2019, Bart De Wever appointed him Minister of Finance, Budget, Housing and Real Estate Assets in the government of Jan Jambon. Before, perhaps, becoming number 1 in the Flemish government.

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