Monday, October 09, 2006

Belgian local elections

Seven million Belgians and foreigners living in Belgium participated yesterday in the local elections. As usual and everywhere in the world, all the parties claimed to have won. The Socialists, especially the French-speaking ones, because they didn’t lose as many votes as the polls predicted; the far-right Flemish nationalists, because they have won a lot of votes; the Christian-democrats, because they are still the first party in Belgium; everyone, because the far-right stagnated in their fortress in Antwerp… I didn’t vote, as I chose not to register for these elections. Being an outsider, but still concerned, I have my own analysis and I will share it with you.

In the Flemish provinces, Christian-Democrats were the most voted party, with a score of about 31%. Vlaams Belang, the far-right Flemish nationalists, was second with 22%; Socialists and Liberals came right after with 19.7% and 19.4% respectively; and, finally, Greens took almost 8% of the votes. On the other hand, in the French-speaking provinces, Socialists came first with 34%; Liberals were second with 28.6%; Humanist-Democrats took the third place with 19%; Greens came right after with 13%; and the far-right Front Nationale took only 5%. Finally, in the Brussels Region, Liberals came first with 25%; Socialists were second with 21%; Humanist-Democrats had 12% and Greens 11%. The two far-rights parties combined only took 4% in the capital.

In total, and aggregating the parties in traditional political families, we may say that Conservatives won with 22%, Socialists came second with 20.5%, Liberals were third with 19%, far-right extremists got 13%, and Greens scored 8%. No surprise that Belgian politics is such a mess! But these results also confirm that Belgium is a much divided country: in Flanders there is a clear majority of right-wing voters, while in the Walloon Region voters seem to be a bit more into the left. Brussels, on the other hand, seems to follow the almost perfect split also seen at the national level.

In a country which motto is “Unity Makes Strength”, it is a bit worrying to see the results of the far-right nationalist separatist Flemish party, and even though everyone seems to be happy about the fact that it didn’t increase dramatically its votes, I have to say that I find quite disturbing to see that it got almost one million!


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