View Full Version : Flemish separatists "win" general elections in Belgium

14-06-10, 22:55
The NV-A (New-Flemish Alliance), a party wishing the dissolution of the Belgian state and monarchy and the independence of Flanders, has won a record 18.5% of the votes at the general election on Sunday, thus becoming Belgium's largest political party. 30% of the Flemings voted for the NVA, and another 5% for the extreme-right separatist Vlaams Belang.

Despite this good score, the NVA is conscious that they cannot split Belgium or even form a government with only a fifth of the votes. It is inevitable in Belgium for governments to be formed by an alliance several parties (4 or 6 being common), considering that there are 6 major parties in the Dutch-speaking region and 5 major ones in the Francophone part.

The leader of the NVA, Bart De Wever, as the winner of the election, was asked by theKing to form a new government. This was a highly ironic situation given that De Wever wants to put the king in early retirement and dismantle the country.

Mr. De Wever said that he did not want to become Prime Minister. He hinted at forming an alliance with the French-speaking Socialist Party (PS), who won the most votes in Wallonia (although not in Brussels). This is another turn of irony since Bart De Wever has often criticised the PS for representing everything that is wrong about Belgium (and he is right about that, in my opinion). In other words he is proposing to build an alliance with his worst enemies. There are already rumours that Elio Di Rupo, the president of Francophone Socialists, might become the next Prime Minister.

One could wonder why Mr De Wever refused the position that should be any politician's dream, becoming Prime Minister. But this would mean pledging allegiance to the king and swearing to protect the country, two things that he is adamantly opposed to.

Mr De Wever is clever, perhaps cunning even. He knows that an alliance with the PS is bound for failure. The two parties couldn't be more diametrically opposed. Besides the separatist argument, his NVA party wants to tighten immigration laws and cut down on social security benefits, especially unemployment benefits, which currently last for a minimum of 3 years and can run for decades in some cases. The PS is the most immigration-friendly party, and being socialists also strongly support state support for the unemployed. The NVA has a hard stance against corruption, which make it look with contempt at the PS, whose members have been repeated accused and condemned for corruption scandals for decades. This is an alliance doomed from the start. And this is surely what a separatist party would want, by demonstrating once again that the Flemish and Walloons are irreconcilably different, and that the two states must therefore go their own way.

He is far too soon to know if this strategy will work. The new government won't be formed before September at best. In the meantime the exiting government still hold the reins. This is not a bad thing in light of the fact that Belgium will preside the European Union from July to December this year. With a bit of luck the new government won't take office before 2011. The problem with that is that the new budget cannot be voted, and that Belgium can hardly afford the same budget in 2011 as in 2010. As usual solutions and compromises will be found. That's the Belgian way, even if it is far too complicated to understand for most people, let alone outsiders.