June 14, 2010
This story about the election results in Belgium was published by EurActiv on 14th June 2010.
The N-VA, a nationalist party, secured a sweeping victory in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium in national elections held on Sunday (13 June), paving the way for more powers to be delegated to the regions in the country that hosts the EU institutions.
The New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) and their leader Bart de Wever celebrated an historic victory in the poll, winning around 30% of the vote in the Northern, Dutch-speaking part of the country, well ahead of the ruling Christian Democrats.
Flemish nationalist gains were matched by a large victory for the socialists in French-speaking south Wallonia, with both parties now expected to spearhead government coalition talks.
The complex nature of Belgian politics means coalition talks usually take months, with September often cited as a possible date for a new government to take office.
De Wever’s victory in the wealthier north is widely seen as a sign of exasperation among the the Flemish, who have been calling for more powers to be delegated to the regions for years – calls which thus far have always been rejected by the French-speaking parties.
In poorer Wallonia, financial transfers from richer Flanders are seen as tantamount to maintaining the country’s unity and solidarity.
At the centre of disagreements is the future of the Belgian capital, Brussels, which is dominated by French-speakers and enjoys bilingual status despite being geographically situated in Flanders.
Celebrating his victory on Sunday, de Wever firmly put reform of the Belgian state back on the agenda. “We are writing history here,” he said. “For those with a will, nothing is impossible.”
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