Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Meanwhile in Belgium....

As the final declaration of one European Parliament constituency, Midlands-Northwest in the Republic of Ireland, has not been made (preference votes are still being counted to decide the final seat there), I will comment on the final results of European elections EU-wide tomorrow, and for now turn to elections happening alongside the European Parliament elections.

So let us turn to Belgium, who held federal and regional elections on the same day it elected its MEPs.

The Belgian federal election was a clear victory for the New Flemish Alliance, which calls for the separation of Flanders from Wallonia, and thus the breaking up of the Belgian federal state. The New Flemish Alliance, despite only running seats in Flanders, managed to win 33 seats, and topped the poll in every Flemish constituency- in 2010, it only topped the poll in the Antwerp constituency, which has a particularly pro-Flemish character, as shown also by the previous strong showings of the far-right Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) party. Antwerp is also interestingly where the hard left Workers Party of Belgium (PvdA+/PTB) received their best result in Flanders, but sadly it was not enough for them to win a seat there.

Vlaams Belang was decimated in Flanders, going from 12 seats in 2010 to just 3 this year. The Flemish Green Party, Groen, managed to gain 1 seat, presumably in West Flanders.

In Wallonia meanwhile, the dominant Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party) lost 3 seats, thanks to the rise of the Workers' Party of Belgium, who I am pleased to say gained their first two seats there-in Hainaut and Liege, although given their good polling in Wallonia I was expecting a better result. Meanwhile in bilingual Brussels, the Francophone Democratic Federalists (FDF), speaking for the French speakers of Brussels, won 2 seats there and impressively finished third in the constituency, ahead of the Greens and the Humanist Democratic Centre party (CDH). The Parti Populaire (PP) won a seat in Liege, and the Dedecker List lost their only seat in the Belgian Parliament.

As for the regional parliaments of Belgium, the Workers' Party gained 6 seats in total-2 in Wallonia, 4 in Brussels, but sadly none in Flanders-although it did increase its vote share from 1.5% to 2.5%, largely in Antwerp where its best Flemish base is. Elsewhere in the Flemish regional parliament, the New Flemish Alliance shot up from 16 seats to 43, taking seats from the Liberals, Christian Democrats, and particularly Vlaams Belang, who lost 15 of their 21 seats. The Greens meanwhile went up from 6 seats to 9 in the Flemish regional parliament.

Meanwhile, in the Walloon Parliament, it was a disaster for the Francophone Greens, who went down from 14 seats to just 4- how did this happen? Meanwhile, the Reformist Movement, the main Francophone centre-right party, gained 6 seats, and surprisingly, the Parti Socialiste did not lose any seats in the Walloon Parliament despite losing federal seats.

As for the bilingual Brussels Parliament, FDF gained 12 seats from a standing start and finished third, just as they did in the federal constituency of Brussels. The Greens lost half their seats in Brussels, going down from 16 to 8, and Vlaams Belang was once again almost wiped out. As for the mainstream parties there, not much happened.

I will cover Irish elections (by-elections and local elections) as soon as I can.





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