André Alen, the Dutch-speaking president at the Constitutional Court, will retire next month. According to the political balance of power, it is up to the N-VA to appoint a successor to Alen. Alen is a former constitutional law professor and has a CD&V stamp.
The N-VA nominates Danny Pieters (63). He has had an extensive political and academic career. After studying law, Pieters became professor of social security law at KU Leuven. Between 1999 and 2003 he was a Member of Parliament for the Volksunie. The N-VA arose from that party and Pieters co-founded it. In 2010 Pieters went to the Senate, where he was elected president.
During the long government formation of 2010, Pieters and then President of the Chamber André Flahaut (PS) tried as an ‘ugly duo’ to get the formation out of the doldrums in vain. In 2013 Pieters left active politics to join the team of Rik Torfs, then rector of KU Leuven, as vice rector.
The replacement is the third of the seven planned for this legislature at the Court, which verifies whether laws respect the constitution and consists of six former politicians and six experienced lawyers. Yasmine Kherbache (SP.A) and Thierry Detienne (Ecolo) were previously appointed. The latter nomination caused a lot of controversy. Ecolo’s first candidate, former co-president Zakia Khattabi, was voted out twice in the Senate.
The Court constantly examines socially sensitive issues. For example, this year it validated a headscarf ban at universities of applied sciences and destroyed the regulation on untaxed extra earnings and ‘cash for car’. Pieters has a rather social profile in the N-VA. The Chamber has yet to approve his appointment.