This evening of September 8, he was Cindy Envy. And, on the set of the Flemish private channel VTM, he caused a sensation, disguised as a drag queen during the show “Make Up Your Mind”, imported from the Netherlands. He even won the competition. But what really surprised the two juries, one made up of professional queens, the other of Flemish personalities, was that behind this queen in an orange dress was actually Sammy Mahdi, president of the Flemish and Christian Democrats party. (CD & V). This center-right formation, whose elected representatives in Strasbourg are members of the European People’s Party (EPP), alongside the French Republicans and the German CDU, has a conservative electorate.
If the appearance in a Drag Race of Brice Hortefeux, François-Xavier Bellamy or Manfred Weber – the leader of the EPP group in the European Parliament – seems improbable, that of the president of this party who, since the 1970s, has delivered seven prime ministers to Belgium apparently did not shake viewers too much. Attacks on a member of the far-right Vlaams Belang party (the most popular party in Flanders
currently, according to polls) even before the broadcast of the program did not prevent the program from being a success.
No less than seven hundred thousand people were in front of their screens, ignoring the criticism of those who see “Make Up Your Mind” as a threat to traditional values. “It’s a program feel good, for the whole family, whose message is that everyone should be able to be who they want”, explained the VTM channel director, without however confirming that the experience would be repeated despite the good audiences.
Sammy Mahdi took a few risks by lining up in drag alongside a former football player turned consultant, a television news presenter or a singer. Part of the public may have had difficulty understanding the meaning of his performance, another may have wondered whether it was indeed the role of a deputy and party leader to be there, a third was
recall that, when he held the position of Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, between 2020 and 2022, he did not show particular leniency towards LGBT asylum seekers .
Sammy Mahdi explained afterwards why he wanted to support the “societal message” of the show. “Drag queen shows are banned in Tennessee, in the United States, and in Italy, they are banned on television, he explained. Many acquired rights are sometimes called into question. Today, drag queen shows, tomorrow maybe gay marriage. We must continue to lead this fight and, if I can do it on 20 centimeter heels, it is with great pleasure. »
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