Freya Van den Bossche

Freya Van den Bossche

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Freya Van den Bossche is a Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, Flemish
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 and daughter of prominent former Belgian politician Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche is a Belgian socialist politician and father of Freya Van den Bossche.He graduated as a Doctor in law at the University of Ghent in 1970. Luc Van den Bossche was a Member of Parliament for a number of years and cabinet member in several federal and regional governments in Belgium...

. She is member of the SP.a
Socialist Party - Different
' is a Flemish social-democratic party in Belgium. It was formerly known as the Socialistische Partij , which in turn had branched off from the Belgian Socialist Party, itself formed by former members of the Belgian Labour Party.-1978-now:The party was the big winner in the 2003 election, running...

 political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

, and she was Deputy Prime Minister
Deputy Prime Minister
A deputy prime minister or vice prime minister is, in some counties, a government minister who can take the position of acting prime minister when the prime minister is temporarily absent. The position is often likened to that of a vice president, but is significantly different, though both...

 and Minister of Budget and Consumer Protection in the Belgian federal government
Belgian federal government
The Cabinet of Belgium is the executive branch of the Belgian federal government, consisting of ministers and secretaries of state drawn from the political parties which form the governing coalition. Formally, the ministers are appointed by the King...

. She was the youngest ever minister appointed in Belgium.

Education and move into politics


Freya Van den Bossche followed her secondary education at the Royal Atheneum Voskenslaan in Ghent. She studied law from 1993 to 1995 at the University of Ghent, but did not obtain a degree, and ultimately graduated from the University of Ghent with a Masters degree in Communication Sciences in 1999. From 1996 to 1997, she studied at the University of Amsterdam as part of an exchange programme.

In 2006, while she was vice-premier in the federal government, Knack, a prominent Flemish magazine in Belgium alleged that she had not written the obligatory thesis for her Masters degree herself. Rather, due to the complexity of the thesis she submitted, Knack journalist Koen Meulenaere alleged that the thesis had actually been written by Frank De Moor, also a former Knack journalist and a friend of Freya Van den Bossche's father, the prominent socialist politician, Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche
Luc Van den Bossche is a Belgian socialist politician and father of Freya Van den Bossche.He graduated as a Doctor in law at the University of Ghent in 1970. Luc Van den Bossche was a Member of Parliament for a number of years and cabinet member in several federal and regional governments in Belgium...

. Knack posted a version of her thesis online, but offered no other proof. Freya Van den Bossche subsequently submitted a criminal complaint against Koen Meulenaere for slander and defamation. http://www.nieuwsblad.be/article/detail.aspx?articleid=GCTTORA0 In response to a question posed by the Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws on whether she did in fact write her thesis, Ms. Van den Bossche replied: "Would that make a difference? I can show you my notes because I have nothing to hide". Knack ultimately removed the thesis from its website and ceased coverage of the matter. http://www.gva.be/Archief/guid/knack-haalt-thesis-freya-van-den-bossche-van-website.aspx?artikel=def43b1f-ac2b-4def-a539-308118b77196

From 1999 to 2000, she found employment as an Attachée, responsible for communication and drug-related problems, of the Mayer of Ghent Frank Beke.

Freya first came to national attention in Belgium in a televised debating competition between candidates in a municipal election who were the children of well-known politicians. She performed strongly in the debate and was considered by many to be very attractive and articulate. In addition, during the campaign her election advertising included a postcard of a black and white photograph that included her long bare legs that was quite revealing, showing a black slip. Partly as a result of these profile building exercises, Freya polled well and was elected in that municipal poll in 2000.

Federal minister


She was quickly promoted and was put on her Social Democrat Party's list in East Flanders for the federal parliament in 2003, attracting 105,000 votes. On 12 July 2003 she was appointed the youngest minister in Belgium's history appointed aged 28 as Minister of Environment, Consumer Affairs and Sustainable Development in Government Verhofstadt II. In July 2004, she became responsible for Work and Consumer Affairs. After the departure of Johan Vande Lanotte in October 2005 she was again promoted, this time to become the nation's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget and Consumer Affairs. She lost that position in 2008 when the government fell.

In a recent poll she was rated as the seventh most popular politician in Belgium. A Spanish newspaper included her in an internet poll of the world's most beautiful female politicians.

Time magazine wrote about her:

But by the time she ran for national parliament as a Flemish Socialist (SP.A) candidate in 2003, the law required that both sexes be represented in the top three slots on every party list — so her name was placed in a vote-getting position no novice male would have enjoyed. And part of her popularity, it must be said, has to do with her bright blue eyes and throaty voice. Van den Bossche regularly pops up on "sexiest Belgians" lists. "Some people assume I'm here because of my looks or because of parity laws," she says. "My job is to prove them wrong. Maybe these factors have helped, but I hope that in four years, people will be talking about my policies."

Personal life


Van den Bossche has two daughters, Ariane (born 1999) and Billie (born on 30 June 2005), and one son, Moses (born on 29 November 2009). On 29 December 2006, Van den Bossche married Dennis Van de Weghe from Ghent, one of her former cabinet colleagues. The marriage did not last long, with the couple separating shortly after.

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