But by the time she ran for national parliament as a Flemish Socialist () 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."