Atlas Forum

Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion => International Elections => Topic started by: DavidB. on March 25, 2017, 02:29:57 pm



Title: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on March 25, 2017, 02:29:57 pm
I'd like to have a thread on political developments in my neighbors' country. If I understood correctly, federal elections take place once in five years instead of once in four years since 2014, so the next federal election is scheduled in 2019. There will be municipal and provincial elections in Flanders in October 2018; I don't know about Wallonia.

The current right-wing federal government consists of the Flemish nationalist N-VA, the Flemish liberal Open VLD, the Flemish Christian Democratic CD&V and the Walloon liberal MR. The Flemish government consists of N-VA, CD&V and Open VLD. The Walloon government consists of the social democratic PS and the Christian Democratic cdH.

Assistance by our Belgian posters (Rogier, InsulaDei, Umengus?) is highly appreciated, as my knowledge of Belgian political developments is shockingly limited.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Boston Bread on March 25, 2017, 03:27:40 pm
What's going on with the PTB/Workers party of Belgium? They're in 2nd in Wallonia in the most recent poll. I imagine CETA is a contributor?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on March 25, 2017, 05:17:48 pm
I've been hoping someone would set up something like this.

How much do the cross-community parties with the same ideology actually collaborate? For example, how much do the PS and the PS.a have to do with each other?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 26, 2017, 01:56:18 am
I was going to wait for France and the NL to blow over because things are relatively stable and boring here. I'll try and post the maps I found when i get back home.

What's going on with the PTB/Workers party of Belgium? They're in 2nd in Wallonia in the most recent poll. I imagine CETA is a contributor?

CETA was opposed by Magnette, the head of the Walloon government and most prominent PS figure after Di Rupo. Most Walloons think Magnette dealt with it well according to the polls. The few who did think he backed down probably switched to PTB.

PTB are 2nd now largely because PS are facing a corruption scandal in Liège that is on a higher scale that their previous one in Charleroi . Because it also has to do with municipalities, and the next elections are municipal, I think a lot of people are saying they are voting PTB to get rid of the corrupt PS in Liège and its surrounding communities (where the PTB have had their first real breakthroughs last election). I firmly expect the marginal people to switch back to the PS when the federal elections happen, but PTB will do better than last time out if they can maintain momentum.


I've been hoping someone would set up something like this.

How much do the cross-community parties with the same ideology actually collaborate? For example, how much do the PS and the PS.a have to do with each other?

Since the linguistic split and in particular the split in electoral districts, including Brussel-Hal-Vilvoorde, all of the traditional parties (Christian democrats, Liberals, Socialists) tend to focus on their own electorate and only cooperate when they need to ie over how they should govern my city. They do talk about being largest “family” in the country during election period (usually to boost their score against the N-VA) but other than that they tend to do things separately in terms of campaigning and manifesto pledges.

PS and sp.a for example have had major differences since the 2000s when sp.a turned somewhat to the right (including the a in the name which stands for “differently” in Flemish – you can imagine who they are referring to) and also sp.a voted with all the Flemish parties for the unilateral scission of BHV. But they still call themselves a unified political family and usually negotiate together on the federal level because the Flemish sp.a needs the PS and vice versa. Also sp.a have recently elected a left-winger as their head, John Combrez.

The liberals now tend to be more cooperative and have less differences, especially as they are the largest family in federal government. Since MR (French-speaking liberals) have broken up with the FDF(now Défi) over the latest state reforms, I think the MR have more leeway to find common ground with the Flemish parties in general. I would say Open Vld are still more right-wing on social and communitarian issues than MR though, in order to attract beyond their usual electorate. They refused to enter the 2010-2014 government because of the presence of the greens.

CD&V and Cdh have had policy divergences for years and have currently entered completely different coalition formations. They also still refer to each other as a family on election day but they essentially all but broken up. They are linked by having the same associated trade union in their pillar, the ACV-CVC, and the institutional left-wing of the CD&V is perhaps a little more aligned with Cdh as a result.

Ecolo-groen sit in the same parliamentary group on the federal level and de facto the same party in BXL. The Flemish groen is more left-liberal (especially their leader Calvo) whereas ECOLO have a tendency to try and out-PS the PS in terms of dirigiste left-wing government policy.

PTB-go/PVDA are the same party, as the only major party advocating a unitary Belgium this makes sense. Raoul Hedebouw, their leader, is the only politician I know who debates on both sides of the linguistic divide that isn’t Brussels-based.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 26, 2017, 08:49:24 am
RTBF-La Libre have done a barometer of the politicians. In Flanders, the N-VA's Bart De Wever has taken top spot again with 28%, probably due to his recent rhetoric putting the confederalist idea back on the agenda. Confederalism, for those who are unaware of the concept, is the idea that the regions and communities of Belgium would be able to choose what government competences should be federalise and what should be devolved, rather than the federal government itself. Its been dubbed by the hardcore federalists like Défi and the green parties as "Federalisme pour les cons" (Federalism for dummies). The federalist parties are particularly stringent on preserving social security as a form of Belgian solidarity, which would inevitably be the first competence to fall if the N-VA would achieve confederalism.

Next in line is Theo Francken, also of the N-VA, and Maggie De Block, Open Vld. Both were lucky enough to occupy the most popular ministry in Belgium, the asylum and immigration portfolio. Recently, Francken won a case in the European Court of Justice over his ministry's ability to reject asylum for a Syrian family residing in Lebanon - and he was notoriously quite boastful about it.

Flemish polls are fairly consistent : N-VA up top and the traditional parties a fair bit behind. Vlaams Belang recently have risen in the polls as some are dissatisfied with the lack of communitarian agenda on the federal level. CD&V are the biggest losers though due to their left-wing being undermined by their participation in a heavily right-wing government.

()

Black is 2014, light blue is December 2016, dark blue is February 2017.

In Brussels, the previously hegemonic PS seem completely at sea and the most popular figures are the PM Charles Michel followed by his internal rival in the liberal MR, Didier Reynders. Third is Olivier Maingain, who split with the MR after the 6th state reform that was agreed with the Flemish parties. Maingain leads a Défi formation that stands for mocrates Fédéralistes Indépendents, who believe that the current alliance that MR has with the N-VA is the first step towards the eventual failure of the Belgian state. Under its previous identity of FDF, Maingain was notorious for representing the interests of the sizeable francophone minorities situated in the Brussels periphery, under Flemish jurisdiction, including the "ZAFL", 6 municipalities that are believed to be majority francophone and have voted for pro-Brussels mayors. Depending on who you listen to in those parts, Maingain is either the Francophone equivalent of the neo-fascist Vlaams Belang or the saviour of Belgian statehood.  

()

(percentage of francophones in the Brussels periphery)

Brussels polls :

()

Interesting that third place in Brussels varies according to whether the elector votes on a regional or a federal level (PTB on federal, Défi on regional).


Wallonia's favoured son is still Elio Di Rupo, the president of the PS and ex-prime-minister, who is at 30% favourability in the polls despite mounting pressure over his handling of the Publifin scandal in Liège province. Then comes Charles Michel, whose MR now top the polls, and in third, Raoul Hedebouw, whose PTB is surging to second.

()

http://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_popularite-bart-de-wever-charles-michel-et-elio-di-rupo-en-tete?id=9564116



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zuza on March 26, 2017, 03:12:12 pm
Even if it is just a temporary phenomenon, it's still incredible that a paleocommunist party recently led by a well-known Stalin apologist achieved such a success in a Western European country where communism never was a prominent force (except for a very brief period immediately after WW2). Or did PVDA-PTB shift more towards democratic socialism after Martens' death?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 27, 2017, 02:01:59 am
Even if it is just a temporary phenomenon, it's still incredible that a paleocommunist party recently led by a well-known Stalin apologist achieved such a success in a Western European country where communism never was a prominent force (except for a very brief period immediately after WW2). Or did PVDA-PTB shift more towards democratic socialism after Martens' death?

Considerably more, but unlike some other similar parties in Europe they are not really afraid to call themselves Marxist-Leninist when asked. They're definitely not tankies anymore though. 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Max Stirner on March 27, 2017, 01:47:37 pm
how extremist is nva?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on March 27, 2017, 02:36:57 pm
When will Belgium split up?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on March 27, 2017, 02:46:52 pm
Never.

Not extremist. They're soft nationalists and soft populists in style, but in terms of the actual policies they carry out they are just your average center-right party (and, as Rogier aptly said, pretty comparable to the Dutch VVD). They are not euroskeptical and only pretend to be skeptical of non-Western immigration.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 27, 2017, 02:51:38 pm

Short answer : economically the party are neo-liberal Thatcherites (edit : like DavidB says, the VVD is the closest comparison), socially they are modern conservatives with a xenophobic wing, and institutionally they are gradualist separatists who have as the first line of their charter the establishment of a Flemish Republic as an ultimate goal.

Long answer : As a Brusselaar you are asking the wrong person, I'm too biased since the N-VA's claims to Brussels are at best irredentist. The academic debate is whether the N-VA is a populist party of the 21st century mould or merely the successor party (and electorate) to Volksunie, which managed to federate the non-neo-fascist nationalist movement under one banner. Volksunie though struggled to compete with the traditional parties because people in the 90s started caring more about their wallet than the institutional lasagne being cooked up, and both the PS and the CVP (now CD&V) were the engines of Federal decentralisation anyway.

N-VA grew out of the split in Volskunie between the Left and the Right, the Left seceding to become SPIRIT and the Right remaining in Volksunie in what would later become the N-VA.

For me, part of what makes the N-VA so successful is their eclectic message, their ability to generate simple headlines over complex issues like populists do and their ability to get away with certain turns of phrases without making the PS look like idiots if they call the N-VA racist or collabo. So for me they are Volksunie but with better PR and without the Left. That said, one of the more extremist wings of the N-VA, the VNV, is clearly at least an apologist of the collaboration of WW2 and their de facto leader, Theo Francken, has been caught attending the parties of a collaborationist and e-mails with racial slurs.http://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/lees-de-integrale-kutmarokkaantjes-mail-van-theo-francken-b1289ad6/ (http://www.demorgen.be/binnenland/lees-de-integrale-kutmarokkaantjes-mail-van-theo-francken-b1289ad6/) A lot of councillors defected from Vlaams Belang to N-VA to explore a more strategic option towards independence.


The process probably started in 1968 and will end when the next World War happens.


They sit in the same group as the CU-SGP, The DPP, The Bulgarian National Party and they are for a confederal Europe, but they are quiet about it.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on March 27, 2017, 05:22:30 pm


The process probably started in 1968 and will end when the next World War happens.

If it does split up, does Wallonia join France? I've heard it is not too unpopular as an option


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 28, 2017, 12:55:53 pm


The process probably started in 1968 and will end when the next World War happens.

If it does split up, does Wallonia join France? I've heard it is not too unpopular as an option

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_rattachement-wallonie-france-60-des-francais-favorables-39-des-wallons?id=6528413

The last poll the RTBF did has a small sample, and showed that just 36% of Walloons would accept rattachisme, compared to 60% of the french. I imagine in Brussels its even less (especially with the Franco-Belgian tax exiles in Uccle). The political elites certainly don't want it because of the unitary, centralised nature of the French state, Magnette for example stated he would rather join Germany as a new federal state in case of split. Walloon elites fought as much as Volksunie for federalism in Belgium, relating to lack of representation and well as socio-economic governance. I highly doubt they will enjoy being governed by the French conservative Right, of which no serious equivalent exists in Wallonia.

Its hard to say though, because Wallonia has a very dormant national political consciousness since the Dehaene state reforms in the early 90s. Its a sort of post-modern version of what Flanders had from 1830 to the advent of their nationalism somewhere in the interwar period. So the idea that Walloon political identity can be discussed through a poll would first require the existence of a Walloon or "Francophone" political identity, which I still don't believe exists, unlike in the North.


Title: Re: Politics and Elections in Belgium
Post by: Zinneke on March 30, 2017, 02:26:22 pm
Speaking of Rattachisme RTBF have gone full Francophile and polled how Belgium would vote should they be subject to the French candidates. Two things to keep in mind : 1/2 voters would not know how to vote (I imagine these are usually some liberal separatists or the kind of apolitical voter who votes for the parents' pillar). And it was done by internet.

Belgium overall :

Macron 26%
Le Pen 25%
Hamon 13%
Fillon 12%
Mélenchon 8%



Wallonia :

Macron 27%
Le Pen 23% (!!!)

Brussels :

Macron 23%
Mélenchon 17%

Flanders :

Le Pen 28%
Macron 26%


Macron 66% (no matter what region he would win the run-off)


The only surprise is that mainly confirms what I said way back in the Dutch thread, that there is some popularity with the far right in Wallonia, it just doesn't translate into votes due to the high election turnout (with those pillar voters), as well as the Wallonian far right unable to get over their sectarian differences, unlike the far left that merged into PTB-GO!

I'm also going to use this post on the front page to explain a little about how electoral districts on the federal level work for future reference. Belgium, while as electorally divided as our brethren up North, have a voting system that is more similar to Spain's, or to a lesser extent Northern Ireland. There are electoral constituencies (the provinces + BXL) where several members are elected via the d'Hondt method. Here is the breakdown :

()

and here is how a bulletin looks like (you vote for a candidate to make them jump the list or express you preference for them, but you can also vote for the party list) :

()

The result is heavy regionalisation and personalisation of the vote, much like Spain. Parties choose local faces or big hitters in provinces they know they can gain a seat off another or do particularly well in, and fix their resources accordingly. Hardcore federalists like groen-ecolo, Défi and some others on the left advocate a federal district for federal elections, while the traditional parties and the nationalists prefer the scission. The main controversy for some of the francophone parties is again that BHV used to be a federal district where both linguistic groups could stand but now this is only extended to Brussels-Region. The Flemish parties did not want francophone parties campaigning in the Flemish region though, rightly or wrongly, as they already view Brussels as a lost part of their territory.

I'll get into the election results and party profiles in a future post.




Title: Re: Politics and Elections in Belgium
Post by: DavidB. on March 30, 2017, 05:49:48 pm
If I understood correctly you can vote for more than one candidate as long as these candidates belong to the same party. How does this work?


Title: Re: Politics and Elections in Belgium
Post by: parochial boy on March 30, 2017, 06:18:27 pm
Sort of tenuously linked to the langugage question - but what is the political identity of Brussels? Does it see itself as a francophone city, and solidaire with Wallonia? Or does Brussels consider itself to be a separate entity in its own right?

I guess the the same question would go for Halle Vilvorde, do they see theselves as Flemish or Bruxellois? or is it just too messy to say?


Title: Re: Politics and Elections in Belgium
Post by: Zinneke on March 30, 2017, 07:05:40 pm
Sort of tenuously linked to the langugage question - but what is the political identity of Brussels? Does it see itself as a francophone city, and solidaire with Wallonia? Or does Brussels consider itself to be a separate entity in its own right?

I guess the the same question would go for Halle Vilvorde, do they see theselves as Flemish or Bruxellois? or is it just too messy to say?

The simple answer is that the people currently living in Brussels do consider themselves separate politically from Walloons. But at the same time see their existence inside a Belgian state as being reliant on voting for "Walloon" parties (and also largely because Brussels is now 90-10 francophone/dutch-speaking). Because Brussels is a city the political debate is tailored around different issues than Wallonia. And, as you can clearly see, it votes slightly differently to Wallonia (ecolo are still strong here along with Défi and PS, + the Flemish parties' influence that has to govern in the cross-community set-up).

The French-speakers in the periphery identify with Brussels, although keep in mind (i.e the Flemish nationalist perspective) many can also be Walloon immigrants who don't understand why the Flemings are so aggressive on language policy, and just fall back on the grandiose idea of BHV.

It varies with the Flemings, it usually depends on whether or not their socio-economic life revolves around Brussels, in which case they tend to be a bit more cosmopolitan, but still proud of Flemish roots. Then you have the ones desperate not to suffer the "Brusselisation" of their communities. A good indicator is whether the commune building flies the Belgian flag or not (no joke). There are also parts of "North North Brussels" where flying the wrong flag out of your window is a bad idea.

If I understood correctly you can vote for more than one candidate as long as these candidates belong to the same party. How does this work?

Yup, a simple rule. If you vote for several candidates in the same list, then a +1 is made to the party list total. The district's assigned seats are then distributed between the lists, but the actual candidates of the list selected are based on which ones got the most votes and jump the list (just like NL). So by adding +1 to each candidate you like you and your friends can make several candidates jump the list rather than say, focusing on one. If that makes sense.

Also if you vote blanc your vote automatically goes to the largest party list, which for me is a more motivating factor to go out and vote than the potential fine you can incure for not turning out on election day.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on March 30, 2017, 07:44:31 pm
Wow. In the Netherlands people continue to spread the urban myth that your vote ends up with the largest party if you don't vote, but apparently a blanc vote in Belgium does exactly that. Does an invalid vote (e.g. by voting for candidates on different lists) have the same effect?

The rule with voting for multiple candidates makes much sense to me. If I understand the system correctly, if a list gets 4 seats, these seats will simply go to the four candidates that have received the most votes, right? There is no threshold (like the Dutch 25% one in parliamentary elections) that a candidate has to reach before they can jump the list?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: freek on March 31, 2017, 04:37:54 am
Wow. In the Netherlands people continue to spread the urban myth that your vote ends up with the largest party if you don't vote, but apparently a blanc vote in Belgium does exactly that. Does an invalid vote (e.g. by voting for candidates on different lists) have the same effect?


This link (a Belgian federal government website) mentions that blank ballots are treated just the same as in the Netherlands: http://www.elections.fgov.be/index.php?id=3260&L=1


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 31, 2017, 05:40:43 am
Wow. In the Netherlands people continue to spread the urban myth that your vote ends up with the largest party if you don't vote, but apparently a blanc vote in Belgium does exactly that. Does an invalid vote (e.g. by voting for candidates on different lists) have the same effect?

I have just gone over the law, and I just realised its only partly true. Because of the constituency system it strengthens the share of largest party, rather than its absolute numbers, hence why people always say a white or spoiled vote goes to the majority. It strengthens the majority as it enables them to take the bigger share and thus an extra seat when distributed. So still a good enough reason for me to go out and vote. Phew.

Quote
The rule with voting for multiple candidates makes much sense to me. If I understand the system correctly, if a list gets 4 seats, these seats will simply go to the four candidates that have received the most votes, right? There is no threshold (like the Dutch 25% one in parliamentary elections) that a candidate has to reach before they can jump the list?

As far as I understand it yes. You can read about it here :

http://www.elections.fgov.be/index.php?id=3350&L=1

Also there is a 5% threshold per constituency which tends to harm small parties. It explains why some parties used cartels, and smaller parties in Brussels here use cartel systems to transfer votes to a different list should they not meet the threshold. PTB, Pirates and pro-bruxsel had such an agreemenet


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 11, 2017, 12:12:08 pm
The federal coalition has started to show its first cracks, and it appears to be the N-VA undermining their coalition partners, as expected. Zuhal Demir, who was recently appointed Secretary for Equal Chances, has called her CD&V partner a " Muslim party" after recent comments from some of CD&V Limburgish members appealing to Turks who do not feel comfortable after the recent tensions over Erdogan's referendum. Demir, who is also from Genk and of Turkish-Kurdish origin. has previous as an attention seeker, she called for the dismissal of the anti-discrimination agency, was called a PKK-sympathiser by Turkish media and mainly made her name before this posing in lingerie for parliament. Michel has reprimanded her for her latest outbursts but Wouter Beke, the CD&V leader, wants a public apology.


Anyway, time to start the party rundown of the Flemish constituency. Maps are from npdata.be, a website set up by a sociologist Jan Hertogen who posts these maps and gives a detailed analysis in Dutch (even if you don't speak it give his website some hits). His Flemish rundown of 2014 in particular is a more authoritative source than me because I can only understand some parts of Flanders so much (like goddamn Ninove and their 16% for Vlaams Belang), so the Dutch speakers in particular should look it up. His Brussels and Walloon maps don't have as much analysis though so I will try to complete when they come up. And as an early disclaimer, I know next to nothing about the 70,000 strong German minority other than the Northern part is essentially Limburg 3.0 and that the Southern parts speak Luxemburgish German and socially revolve around it too. So I won't be able to give you a detailed analysis as to why the Greens suddenly did so well there while they crashed in the rest of Wallonia, although it might have something to do with the 3 traditional parties being the incumbents of the German Community.

CD&V – Christien Democraat & Vlaams
(Christian Democrats & Flemish)
Party president : Wouter Beke

For years, the CD&V, under its previous name of the Catholieke VolksPartei (CVP), was the dominant hegemonic force of Flemish politics. Its initial success in the early 20th century was largely due to dormant Flemish political identity, allowing it to exploit its societal pillar (verzuiling in Dutch) in the North. Thus, through its media, its mutuality (insurance), its trade union, its university and its grassroots clientalism made it insurmountable, with only the post-war era and the turn of the millennium being times where the CVP/CD&V has been in opposition.
With the advent of a Flemish national consciousness in the late 60s, the CVP became the engine of Flemish demands for federalism, breaking away from their francophone counterpart and consistently finished first election after election until 1999, when the liberals took over as largest party.

Strongholds:
“Rural” towns in Flanders was undoubtedly the CD&V’s stronghold. Fun fact about this: the Christian pillar was responsible for making company cars tax free in Belgium because it was a generally accepted rule in the party that if the rural population were to move to the city to work they would turn socialist or liberal (and now increasingly nationalist). The result is a much more spread out population, and a conservation of village lifestyle in the region.

Your standard CD&V towns are commuter or agricultural towns in the Flemish peripheries like Limburg, West Flanders and the marginaal(not sure there is a translation for this) parts of East Flanders, as well as the Kampen in Antwerp province. These places were seen as the fulcrum of Flemish society and where the vote would swing CD&V, but have recently towards their old cartel partner, the N-VA.

2014 map :

()


Ideology
Economic: Centrist to centre-right, Christian Democrats in Belgium believe in a mutual compromise of capital and labour. They are much more to the left economically than the CDU or UMP. They are comparable to the Dutch CDA, but Belgium’s political orientation is far more orientated to the economic left.

Social issues: Very similar to the CDA in the Netherlands, in that they oppose certain issues like euthanasia but are otherwise reluctant to focus on these kind of issues as priorities in policy making anymore. With the refugee crisis and the N-VA they have upped their immigration rhetoric but previously they were quite mainstream.

View of the Belgian state: The CD&V would like to push forward a new state reform that would fix certain anomilies and ambiguity in the last one and bring back more powers to the Flemish Community & Region (which is one merged government unlike the francophone side). The CD&V officially still remains committed to a Belgian state though, unlike the N-VA, and its pillar has always been seen as a Royalist one. 

Key factions & figures

The CD&V combines two real branches in their party. One is the social Christian branch. They are heavily associated with the largest union in Belgium, the Christian ACV-CSC, as well as the agricultural sector. Since their only time in opposition (1999) however, CD&V have swung increasingly to the right, and have attracted a large, more modern conservative faction that also has strong links with enterprise interest groups.

Kris Peeters : ex-minister-president of Flanders and a popular figure because he is seen as a safe pair of hands, as well as somebody who can federate with the unions and enterprises alike. His handling of the Ford Genk crisis for example, where he guaranteed certain living conditions for the workers who were made redundant there, was universally praised.

Marianne Thyssen : Getting a role in the EU as a Commissioner seems to be a bigger deal in Belgium than anywhere else. Because our federals and regionals are now on the same day as European elections, the federal negotiations often involve one party negotiating who gets to be part of the new Commission’s team. Thyssen was selected, and Peeters reportedly missed out on the PM because of this. She is from the social wing.

Sammy Mahdi : the president of the young CD&V has recently attracted headlines because he was president of the youth wing in Molenbeek and said he "wanted soliders off our streets". He is tipped to be a rising star in the party, especially in attracting confessional Muslim votes.

Yves Leterme : aka the man who sang the French anthem when asked to sing the Belgian one. This was when he was PM of Belgium. To be fair to Leterme, at the time Belgium was going through its biggest constitutional crisis since the late 60s. After the 2010 result in particular, Leterme was forced to stay in office while the longest government formation in modern political history had to be solved. There is talk of comeback for Leterme in the next municipal election, maybe in his hometown of Ypres.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 11, 2017, 12:19:02 pm
Open Vld (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten) (Open Flemish Liberal Democrats)
Party president: Gwendoline Rutten

Open Vld are the standard-bearer of the liberal pillar in the Region, having rebranded from the Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang ( or PVV lol). As currently the largest and only ‘’family’’ represented on the federal level, they are serving as a bridge between the two communities. They have also been involved in various governments, but the only time they have headed one as the largest party was the Verhofstad “Purple” years from 1999-2007.

Unlike in the Netherlands, where liberals tended to oppose the pillar system, in Belgium they embraced it. Thus, the Vld used closely associated with sections of Belgian civil society, such the Vrij Universiteit Brussel, the Liberal union and the liberal mutuality. However, their pillar has weakened considerably compared to the other parties.

Ideology

Currently, the Open Vld is struggling to find political space due to both N-VA and CD&V trying to take up the economic and institutional Right respectively. Vld still claim to be social liberal and progressive on economic issues but put far more emphasis on the liberal than the social their Walloon counterparts insist on. The most salient Dutch equivalent would therefore be the Pechtold-faction of D66: right-wing on the economy, left-wing on minor social issues. Vld still entertain strong relations with both the VVD and D66, and are currently undergoing VVDification to compete with the N-VA on issues like immigration and public safety.  

In terms of the Belgian state, Open Vld are traditionally more moderate and unionist than CD&V on devolution, but advocate it on economic grounds, believing that interregional transfers and social welfare as a federal competence could be devolved to increase regional budgetary responsibility.

Strongholds: Brussels periphery, where some of the technocrats and upper social elites in Brussels, Flemish or not, live. Increasingly the francophones here vote for the Vld, when they previously voted MR. And then Gent and its periphery, where the rest of the Flemish upper technocratic or service class tend to live regardless of where they work. Vld also do well in some of the central rich districts of Antwerp but have really suffered at the hands of the N-VA in the province. Their weakest areas are easily rural Antwerp province, Limburg and West Flanders.

()
 
Key figures :

Guy Verhofstadt is still a key intellectual architect of the Millenial Open Vld, more social liberal turn at the start of the century. He was actually nicknamed baby Thatcher as a young councillor in Gent (harshly IMO), but said his views softened after the Rwanda experience, believing in a more positive role for interventionist liberalism, and the need for a European state. He currently spends his days working at the EU level, as head of the liberal ALDE group, writing books on how to fix Europe by making a federal EU. Last EP parliament elections demonstrated how popular he was on both sides of the electoral divide, amassing strong preference vote counts.

Alexander de Croo: the son of Herman de Croo, another pillar of the old PVV, Alexander is also famous for being the stubborn, somewhat more communitarian, figure in the Vld. He collapsed the Leterme II government prematurely over BHV negotiations, refused to enter the Di Rupo I government due to the presence of the Greens and has recently called out Wallonia for the allowing FN Herstal, as state-owned arms company, for selling weapons to the Saudis.

Maggie de Block: As immigration and asylum minister she successfully won the hearts of more right-wing Flemish and Walloon voters alike with her tough stance, and was also praised for her Health Minister portfolio. Along with party leader Gwendoline Rutte, she is leading the "VVDification" of the party as a result.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 11, 2017, 12:28:29 pm
Sp.a – Socialistische Partij Anders

For years, the sp.a were usually seen as the junior partner of the Walloon PS, and a common voice for the progressive, unionist left. But their recent divergences have shown the sp.a to be more flexible as a political force. During the Verhostadt gouvernements, Steve Stevaert, inspired by Tony Blair, ensured sp.a underwent a renewal of party name, communication and policy, with the inclusion of the left-wing of the Flemish Movement, SPIRIT (led by ex-Volksunie leader Bert Anciaux). An excellent communicator (and frequent womaniser, which lead to his eventual suicide), Limburger Stevaert turned the sp.a into a moddernising party to encapsulate the mood at the time –. Like New Labour though, the backlash over the glorificiation of liberal globalisation, has caught up with sp.a. After a rethink, the party has instead turned to a more moderate traditional labour in the form of John Combrez.

Ideology

sp.a’s ideological evolution is comparable to the Dutch PvdA (not to be confused with the Belgian PVDA – who are the communists) or to the German SPD. They have the added pressure of the second largest union in Belgium though, the FGTB/ABVV, and the Walloon and Brussels Socialists being more left-wing than the vast majority of socialist parties across Europe. The recent emergence of groen have also pushed sp.a to elect a left-populist leader who focuses more on economic justice.

sp.a are more unionist than their right-wing counterparts, but still advocated economic federalism after their rebranding, and previously carteled the left-wing of Volksunie (the social-liberal wing under Bert Anciaux).

Strongholds :

Urban Limburg (the closest you will come to a "Flemish Wallonia" - a depressed industrial zone), cosmopolitan/university towns like Leuven and Gent - the latter also because of the Gent industrial zone in the north of the city limits. Then large coastal towns like Oostende, where Combrez´s district is. sp.a’s main losses to the nationalists recently have originated from Antwerp province, where they used to hold Antwerp mayorality under ex-leader Patrick Janssens, as well as the working class Waasland next to the Diamond City.

()


Key figures :
The sp.a is somewhat of a family affair, and was dominated by Louis Tobback in Leuven and Willy Claes in Hasselt in the old days. Their offspring, Bruno and Hilde were seen as natural successors but both fell foul to poor leadership and corruption respectively. Now the party is definitely seen through John Combrez’s mediatic presence.

Another semi-famous figure is Meryame Kitir, a ex-Ford Genk worker who gave a passionate speech on the federal level on behalf of her embattled colleagues when Ford decided to relocate:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFM4Fx2KJCM
(and also subject to a racial slur from an Open Vld member)


Johan Vandelanotte
is the strongman Oostende and the coast. He is known for his more compromising, technocratic style.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 11, 2017, 12:47:37 pm
N-VA – Nieuw-Vlaams Alliantie (Neo-Flemish Alliance)

N-VA are the legal successor to the standard bearer of non-radical Flemish nationalism, Volksunie, what was the political arm of the Flemish movement (Vlaamse Beweging). After the traditional parties broke up along linguistic lines, the Flemish parties fought on Volksunie’s message of federalism and cultural emancipation and construction of the Flemish nation. Volksunie’s reply of social liberalism, under Bert Anciaux, was successful at first but not enough for the party to suffer mid to late 90s drubbings at the hands of the now heavily devolutionist CVP and Open Vld.

Once federalism had been achieved, the left-wing of the Volksunie were suffering an existential crisis, and the right-wing wanted to push forward for Flemish Independence (for a detailed analysis on the demise of Volksunie you can read a pretty good academic article called Volksunie in memoriam or something like that). The result was the separation of the Flemish nationalists under two banners : N-VA and SPIRIT.  

Rather than stand as separate parties though, they both entered cartels, whereby some of their members would join up to larger party’s list. N-VA joined CD&V, as the latter looked to outflank Verhofstadt on state reform issues such as BHV. The result was undoubted success, but after Yves Leterme failed to solve the BHV issue, the N-VA split announcing that it would have to be the one to represent the Flemish interest on the federal level.

The N-VA’s meteoric rise to the first party of Flanders was for me a result of a perfect storm: the traditional parties looked weak in front of francophone stubbornness, the financial crisis was successfully blamed on the public debt (and by default the Walloon PS), and the general fragmentation we are seeing in Europe that allows for populist parties to flourish was a wave picked up by the N-VA, particularly in their communication style.

Ideology :
See my earlier post

Strongholds : the map maker describes N-VA’s Antwerp banana as their main source of success, but a map of electoral Belgium also shows how eclectic the N-VA’s message has been. The N-VA map is misleading because their lowest percentage shown in bright green is about 21% (groen's highest). Only Limburg and West-Flanders really resisted the initial N-VA surge. N-VA have mainly picked from CD&V and Vlaams Belang electorates.  

()

Key figures:
N-VA is arguably the most complex Flemish political party with several clans and factions having emerged, just like Volksunie. Because I don’t have first hand experience with this, I will only go through the two ideological rather than genuine seperations.

Bart de Wever is the uncontested leader of the N-VA. He manages to represent a compromise between the two (broad) ideological wings of the party : the right-wing elements of the Volksunie that sees any policy as a means to an end, that of Flemish independence.  And the pragmatists that were drawn to the N-VA’s socio-economic and philosophical tenants, namely the new Right.

The leader of the right-wing Volksunie faction was Geert Bourgeois. He is minister-president of Flanders and was leader of the N-VA during their conception and eventual cartel formation. A quiet figure, he tries to distance himself from perhaps more extreme “New Right” elements of the N-VA right-wing, such as Jan Jambon and Theo Francken, the two most prominent N-VA federal ministers at Home and Asylum/ respectively. They usually constitute ex-members of the shady NSV (the slightly elitist, anti-francophone, revisionist student union for hard right Flemish nationalists) or even Vlaams Belang.

On the more pragmatist wing you find people like Siegfried Bracke, an ex-public television journalist who entered politics to reform it. He said that independence “doesn’t make him horny” (it sounds a bit more normal in Flemish). These are the people that are frustrated with the Belgian state structures rather than traditional right-wing nationalists.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 11, 2017, 01:03:43 pm
Groen
The Flemish Greens (previously known as Agalev) are a rising force on the Flemish Left after a brief stint at the turn of the millennial in government led them to near oblivion. They started out as a party combining Flemish rural renewal with your standard urban green voters from other advanced democracies – but now they have firmly integrated into the latter category.  
Recently, Groen have found success from two avenues: one, the rightward turn of the sp.a at the turn of the Millennia, and two, being almost consistently in opposition in Flanders since their ill-fated spell in Verhofstadt I, unlike their competitors.

Strongholds
Student cities, as you would expect, but also that Antwerp-Leuven intellectual yuppie banana where lower middle class workers live. Medium-sized Flemish towns such as Brugge, Lokeren or Mechelen (where their leader Calvo plays a prominent role) like groen because of their emphasis on taking care of the city environment, as a sort of small-c conservative left than remains from Agalev.

()

Key figures:

the two I know the most are Kristoff Calvo and Meryem Almaci. Calvo is a Jesse Klaver clone (its actually the other way round but I assume most of you read DavidB’s thread first) who relishes taking on the federal majorities accountable while balancing what he calls “freedom and justice”. He’s also very effective at headline-hugging with either surprising or superficial policy proposals, ranging from forced bilingual subtitles on all TV programs, a federal 1 man 1 vote district or a proposal to liberalise public transport.

Meryem Almaci is more left-wing but both seem very effective in not getting drawn into caricatures once associated with the Socialist family.

Groen also have a small seperatist faction within them.


Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest)


Vlaams Belang stands for Flemish interest, and is the de facto successor of Vlaams Blok, a party that was banned for violating an anti-racism law. Vlaams Blok was a neo-fascist party with links to Voorpost, a militant Flemish-Dutch neo-Nazi association. Before the 80s it was mainly known as a fringe neo-fascist organisation that would organise attacks on specific francophone-populated areas, such as Voeren/Fourons or, of course, Brussels (they murdered an FDF militant while he was putting up posters in North Brussels).  Its main electoral breakthrough came on the so-called Zwarte Zondag (Black Sunday) in 1991, when it became one of the few “winning” parties (that including the pan-Belgian FN and Volksunie) as immigration and the Belgian state reform agenda became key issues. Since then it has had a cordon sanitaire around it, meaning that no party enters power with it on any level, with the N-VA the only major party to have even flirted with the idea.

As an isolated political force with nothing to lose, it has had the leeway to moderate its tone in the mainstream media, while maintaining close contacts with its far right “base” of organisations, and when Volksunie disbanded it became the haven for hardline independence. It finished first in Antwerp in 2003, and became the second largest Flemish party in the locals in 2006. The court case against Vlaams Blok gave it the publicity they needed to survive the transition into Vlaams Belang, but the recent rise of the N-VA has meant that it has suffered a total downslide in the polls as right-wing nationalist voters switch to a choice of government rather than opposition.  2014 in particular represented a major set-back in the party.


Ideology:
Economic : depends on the time of asking, but in general I would classify Vlaams Belang as a social far right party. Their supporters though are usually voting two issues : immigration and independence.

View of the Belgian state : unilateral independence. Interestingly though they have given up on Brussels, but maintain the Flemish status of BHV.
 
Social issues : far right conservative, although Van Grieken is trying to make them more modern as he realises his electorate could be younger.

Strongholds: Antwerp Province. Antwerp suburbs. Antwerp City. But mainly suburbs or peripherals cities (voorsteden) that are home to cheap housing around Antwerp. Wilrijk (officially a part of Antwerp despite being miles from the centre) is the best example of a “brondorp” (fascist village). They also do well in isolated, “marginal” towns where the quality of life in general is pretty sh**tty (Ninove seems to be an example of that).

()

Key factions and figures
Two factions really stand out in Vlaamse Belang : the traditional wing lead by Filip De Winter, that heavily associated itself with other neo-fascist parties around Europe (Dewinter recently spoke at a Golden Dawn meeting in Athens to welcome their newest member). And then the young, more rebellious crew led by current leader Tom Van Grieken. More “intellectual”, more edgy than geriatric (or intelligent), just as dangerous.


Appreciate any feedback from the Flemish lurkers.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Watermelon sin Jamón on April 14, 2017, 07:54:51 am
Fascinating, thanks ! The maps are informative, but only as to distribution of votes within a party, not relative strength with other parties.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 18, 2017, 12:44:58 pm
Fascinating, thanks ! The maps are informative, but only as to distribution of votes within a party, not relative strength with other parties.

Bumping to first thank Watermelon for the feedback (merci ket). Second to keep this on the front page.

They are indeed misleading maps, but the percentage shown (e.g 0.21) in the scale is what they got as a proportion of the vote overall.

If I were to post this map for example (largest per electoral voting district - not constituency):

()

One would assume that the N-VA dominate much like you would maybe think VVD "dominated" their election in NL. In reality it shows the N-VA's eclectic political nature as an uninhibited Right.

Way back on the 2014 thread homely cooking posted this :

()

hope he still reads stuff here.

Anyway, a little update before the Walloon parties are presented,
The Turkish Belgian population is the diaspora that had the largest percentage of Yes votes in the Turkish referendum. As a result De Wever, who previously advocated the right for Belgians abroad to vote in federals, has now said he wants to take away the possibility of having dual nationality Belgian/xxxx. CD&V and Open Vld have somewhat followed the N-VA on this after the policy window opened but Didier Reynders of MR just shut the door on it saying it was unfair on Belgians who adopted a dual nationality.

PS are awfully quiet after the Publifin scandal these days. A lot of internal dissent with both the old generation of PS dinosaurs around Liège and the "modernists" like Stéphane Moreau who basically set the whole thing up. There was talk of Di Rupo resigning as party but his preference votes (178,000+) and local profile in Hainaut (nothing to do with Liège) are really helping his cause. The next francophone personality with more preference votes is cdh President Benoit Lutgen who acts basically as a constituency candidate despite his function.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zuza on April 18, 2017, 02:09:43 pm

This map shows MR winning districts in Flanders (around Brussels), how is it possible?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: MaxQue on April 18, 2017, 02:30:15 pm

This map shows MR winning districts in Flanders (around Brussels), how is it possible?

The BVH (Bruxelles-Hal-Vilvolde) constituency covers Brussels region and 35 towns of Flemish Brabant.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Watermelon sin Jamón on April 18, 2017, 03:44:08 pm
I also love how sp.a won just one commune and it neighbors the Hainaut exclave. Is Wervik FINO ? ;)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 18, 2017, 04:38:51 pm

This map shows MR winning districts in Flanders (around Brussels), how is it possible?

The BVH (Bruxelles-Hal-Vilvolde) constituency covers Brussels region and 35 towns of Flemish Brabant.

BHV as an electoral district was solid gone by 2014. In reality those are zone a facilités linguistiques :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Municipalities_with_language_facilities#Dutch-speaking_municipalities_with_facilities_for_French_speakers

Basically the few priviledged who managed to keep BHV status by virtue of being majority francophone and part of a Flemish-Walloon bargaining process. The francophone parties have to obey specific rules relating to them campaigning in French on Flemish soil though.

I also love how sp.a won just one commune and it neighbors the Hainaut exclave. Is Wervik FINO ? ;)

Well I won't say the facility communes are not historical Flemish territory (lets not talk about Duinkerke oké ;-) ), but that whole little area is a mix of French and Dutch speakers, yes. Both Comines-Warneton and communes within Wervik's electoral district have language facilities. sp.a tend to do quite well in W-FL anyway.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Nanwe on April 19, 2017, 02:09:44 am
Hey guys, if anyone is interested, I've started mapping Belgian elections since 1949's. Should I post them here or is there an appropriate thread for historical election maps?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 19, 2017, 04:37:05 am
Hey guys, if anyone is interested, I've started mapping Belgian elections since 1949's. Should I post them here or is there an appropriate thread for historical election maps?

Post them here! I looked and there was no general thread.

Just out of curiosity, are they by electoral district or by commune?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Nanwe on April 19, 2017, 05:38:06 am
Hey guys, if anyone is interested, I've started mapping Belgian elections since 1949's. Should I post them here or is there an appropriate thread for historical election maps?

Post them here! I looked and there was no general thread.

Just out of curiosity, are they by electoral district or by commune?

By constituency, so by arrondissement, largely.

So I've mapped 1949, 1950 and the referendum on the royal question. The numbers are crunched for 1954 but not the map. The election was done in a two-tiered system where the provinces also served to distribute the seats more proportionately but sadly the Belgian electoral website does not keep track of that tier, instead just the final tally once the second-tier seats were assigned to the constituencies.

NOTE: In 1950 and onwards, in Limburg and Luxembourg the Liberals and Socialists ran joint lists in order to be able to elect anyone given the overwhelming strength of the PSC-CVP in those provinces. The MPs AFAIK who were elected sat with the Socialists.

()

()

()



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 19, 2017, 05:40:48 am
Hey guys, if anyone is interested, I've started mapping Belgian elections since 1949's. Should I post them here or is there an appropriate thread for historical election maps?

Post them here! I looked and there was no general thread.

Just out of curiosity, are they by electoral district or by commune?

By constituency, so by arrondissement, largely.

So I've mapped 1949, 1950 and the referendum on the royal question. The numbers are crunched for 1954 but not the map. The election was done in a two-tiered system where the provinces also served to distribute the seats more proportionately but sadly the Belgian electoral website does not keep track of that tier, instead just the final tally once the second-tier seats were assigned to the constituencies.

()

()

()



Pics aren't coming up. :(

I had a post ready for the Royal referendum because it clearly shows the Walloon industrial belt's total rejection of the "Ancien Regime institutions", as De Wever calls them. Antwerp Province is also an interesting one.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Nanwe on April 19, 2017, 05:43:55 am
Umm, I'll reupload and link them then, just in case.

1949 election: http://imgur.com/A6KuEPL

Referendum: http://imgur.com/2AcW4zT

1950 election: http://imgur.com/yxL4kKy


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 19, 2017, 06:06:46 am
Umm, I'll reupload and link them then, just in case.

1949 election: http://imgur.com/A6KuEPL

Referendum: http://imgur.com/2AcW4zT

1950 election: http://imgur.com/yxL4kKy

Yeah, Imgur is a pain on here. Thank you for these great maps anyway. I´ve been looking all over for these and was about to make them myself (starting from 2014).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 06:31:31 am
()

Population density in Belgium to get a sense of what Nanwe’s maps will mean. Note the high spread in Flanders compared to the very large dense spots in Wallonia’s main urban cities. There’s what I was telling you about the Catholic pillar’s influence in Flanders. Caring for the city/village is a much bigger deal up there, just like in the Netherlands.
Time to do the bulk of Francophone parties before I do PVDA/PTB
The first thing you need to know is that in terms of issue salience, the Francophone political parties are much more orientated towards the socio-economic than any cultural, identity or nationalist politics than the Flemish are. The roots of this was the polarisation of “bourgeois democracy vs proletarian protest” in the early days of Belgian statehood. But recently the entire debate is focused over how to hit the restart button on Wallonia after its fall from grace. Wallonia saw itself, with its de-industrialisation and total reversal of roles with the now prosperous Flanders, as a victim of economic globalisation and general decline in the most populated areas.

The result has been a heavy polarisation between the economic Right and Left, with both claiming to be “economic progressives” or reformists in their own way. The other parties have had to contend with slow decline or poor governmental records. Recently, there has been talk of a centrist cartel or merger between CdH-Défi-ECOLO, the current composition of the Schaerbeek municipality where they work pretty well together. With the victory of Macron and the rise of the PTB influencing Walloon political consciousness, this may happen sooner rather than later, despite key ideological differences.

Brussels, as already discussed, has its own issues. I will dedicate a seperate post to Brussels politics, but an example is that MR focus much more on issues of public security and integration than they do in Wallonia, and resemble a more urban centre-right conservative party in that respect. Another example is the Brussels-Zaventem flight plan, that can make or break party prospects in Brussels-Region. Brussels-Region has 19 communes with 19 mayors and 19 seperate police forces, just to add to the Brussels-Region parlement. So, local fiefdoms and politics play a massive role too. The “Local” politics effects in Wallonia are on the provincial level, which just happens to be the constituencies. Some exceptions include the Champagne-Ardenne region in Hainaut, the places where the local mayors are popular enough to carry it or the German-speakers who have their own government for certain competences.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 06:31:58 am
Parti Socialiste (PS)
The Walloon Socialist Party is seen as the hegemonic force in the region, and its easy to see why the perception of “PS-staat” exists North of the linguistic border: prior to Michel I they had been involved in federal government for the good part of 26 years, and as the de facto party of government in the Walloon Region, and now increasingly in Brussels, they have survived a swing to the right in the North of the country.

PS’s hegemony rises from Wallonia’s economic outlook : far more industrialised than the North, its now depressed coal and steel plants were easy picking for some of the original Labour movements in Europe in the early 1900s. Their decision to mirror the Catholics in creating a “pillar” (with notably their own health insurance mutuality tied to their union) also helped their cause enormously.

In the 70s and 80s, the PS was one of the key advocate of modern Belgian federalism, as it tried to compete with Walloon regionalists that originate from their base. Part of their core argument was the idea that the CVP was focussing too much on developing Flanders with Walloon funds. Along with Jean-Luc Dehaene’s CVP it managed to negotiate the federal state. Since then the PS has been presenting itself (paradoxically) as both the defender against Flemish nationalist attacks on the Belgian state and the chief architect of trying to build a Walloon national consciousness on a federal level.

The turn of the century has been a mixed success for the PS. They have been hit by many corruption scandals, the two biggest being the Charleroi one in 2006 and now the Publifin scandal in Liège, their two traditional strongholds. Nevertheless, the loss of votes over these seem to only harm the PS superficially : generally when PS voters are angry with the party over corruption or policy they switch to ECOLO (whose first major breakthrough was due to disgruntled teachers voting on the PS’s education reform back 1991) or now PTB, and both cannot seriously govern without the PS, and lack the professionalism the PS has gained.

Much more of an existential crisis for the PS is related to their previously unbreakable links with the FGTB, the dominant trade union in Wallonia, and second largest in Belgium. The FGTB had always been a key societal ally in ensuring the PS were strong in their industrial milieu. Now however the PS is increasingly accused of austerity by the union, and defections to the PTB within it pose a real problem.


Ideology
Despite what the PTB say, the PS is much more left-wing than its centre-left counterparts across Europe, at least in rhetoric, but also in the culture of the party (the Internationale is still sung after every election!). Economically they are the instigators of the so called “Marshall Plan for Wallonia”  favouring public spending increases to keep Walloon industries on life support. I’d associate their current economic strategy with Modern Monetary Theory or Post-Keynesianism, only their commitment to the Euro undermines their economic platform somewhat.

You may also remember that the PS blocked CETA with their cdH coalition partners on the regional level. Paul Magnette, head of the Walloon government said he didn’t want to be seen as the pin-up boy of alter-globalism after blocking the EU-Canada free trade deal, but this move was cynically interpreted as being a wink to the PTB’s new acolytes. In reality the rejection of CETA stems from the PS’s support of advocacy democracy over the kind of issues discussed in the treaty, as a way to expand their hegemony beyond the ouvrier class. The PS’s broad network of social movements, NGO’s unions, lobbies, etc. is also what makes it a formidable force (with other parties following suit). In this case, the non-governmental actors in the agricultural and health sectors pulled their weight. Their anger probably stems from having been snubbed for the negotiations by the Comission, while the larger industry representatives were allowed input.    

Socially, they are obviously much more accommodating on issues such as immigration, but I wouldn’t describe this issue as major for PS Walloons.  PS Walloons are far more concerned about social dumping than integration issue. In Brussels there is the issue of public security but the Right monopolise it enough for the PS to fall back on their commitment to the ethnic communities here.

On the Belgian state, they are now federalists, but are regularly charged with being the first to introduce “confederalism” in the political field by the N-VA. Basically briefly host of Walloon regionalist parties emerged and the PS fought on their territory (just like with ECOLO and now PTB) rather than opposing them.

Strongholds

()

The Walloon Industrial Belt (Sillon Industriel Wallon), once the most industrialised urban concentration in the world, is where the PS earn most their corn. Hainaut province, where the PS stronghold of Charleroi and Mons lies, is a historical coal mining district that suffered the consequences of energy transition and outsourcing. Its one of the poorest regions in Western Europe.

Liège-province has a history of revolt. It was a seperate entity from the proto-Belgian Spanish Netherlands, and ruled by a Prince-Bishop. It is in the context of full blown, unhibited Ancien Régime environment that liberal revolutionaries emerged around the same time as in France. The tradition continued with industrial change, and Liège became a culturally left-wing stronghold. The PS particularly does well in the old steel and manufacturing towns around the actual city proper, where MR are more present.


Key factions and figures:
The PS is structured across geographic/provincial lines and these tend to clash. For example, the recent problems in Liège and Di Rupo’s “intervention” have led Liège-based PS members to accuse the Hainaut PS of meddling and hypocrisy over corruption. Recently too, a new cleavage has emerged in the party, between the old generations and the younger elements who believe the former are suffering from institutional isomorphism, corruption and conservatism over certain issues.

Ex-PM Elio Di Rupo remains the poster-boy for the Socialist Party, although his leadership is under severe scrutiny for the moment. The son of an Italian immigrant family, whose father worked in the mines, Di Rupo’s rise to the top political office in Belgium (No, not mayor of Antwerp) is seen as a voting argument in itself for the Socialists. He is mainly representative of the PS in Hainaut, that is a wing quite adverse to change from their traditional message of the 1970s/1980s (avoid de “social blood bath of liberalism” as he put it in his highly successful 2010 federal campaign).

Paul Magnette is the head of the Walloon government, and former PS president, who attracted international headlines after leading the mediatic front against Belgium’s signature of CETA. Because powers of international trade are devolved to the Regional governments (who paradoxically handed them to the Comission without any fuss), the PS used its position in the Walloon government to re-establish itself as a sort of opposition to the currently heavily right-wing federal government. Before this though, Magnette made his name first as a scholar, and then in particular as the one who was drafted to reform Charleroi in the wake of their own corruption scandal back in 2006-2007. He is now mayor in absentia of the coal-mining city. He was perceived as a reformer and moderniser in the PS because of his work there, and has now tried to channel the hard but modernising but non-liberal but confusing Left.
  
Recent elections in Liège have displayed the power struggle in the province, between young and new. After the resignation of the head of the Liègois PS. The PS of Liège cannot be discussed without mentioning the now deceasedMichel Daerdenne, an immensly popular figure in the city rim and inner city who caused friction in the internal PS that lead him being put last on the list but still elected in 2009. Part of it stemmed from Daerdenne refusing to support the inclusion of Stéphane Moreau, a sort of would be Socialist Belursconi, as Mayor of his town in Liège. Daerdenne appeared to be a visionary given Moreau is at the heart of the Publifin scandal and just resigned from the PS.
 
Daerdenne's eventually caught up with him, but his son Frédéric and a few key allies are looking to preserve that somewhat more human, edgy style to Michel’s brand of socialism, as well as kick out the reformists.

Also running in the Liège PS election was José Happart, who is a fossil of the Rassemblement Wallon movement, and used to campaign particularly aggressively in Fourons/Voeren, where major ethnic tensions existed. He is part of a dying breed of Walloon regionalists who joined the PS. He lost along with the “young” challenger, to the PS establishment candidate Jean-Pierre Hupkens.
 
The Brussels PS places itself as a cultural left-wing force, emphasises global struggles (case in point : Saint-Gilles, a commune, deciding to block CETA before Wallonia thought it was cool) with now figures such as retired Molenbeek mayor Philippe Moureaux, but I will get to that when Brussels comes up. There used to be a Stalinist PS guy in South Brussels whose name I forget too.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 06:40:20 am
Mouvement Réformateur (MR) – Reformist Movement
Mouvement Réformateur was initially created as a cartel incorporating 3 right to centrist parties looking to end PS hegemony in Wallonia and Brussels rather than supply it. The traditional party of the Liberal pillar, the PRL. The right-wing of the Christian Democratic pillar, the MCC, led by former PSC leader Gérard Deprez. And the Brussels francophone minority interest party, the FDF. Eventually the three decided on creating a common party structure, although FDF maintained its political identity though its leader, Olivier Maingain, and a few other fiefdoms of theirs in Brussels. FDF eventually split from MR after the 6th state reform in 2012, believing it to be too harsh on francophone interests in the Brussels peripherie, and a potential stepping stone to the end of the Belgian state. They have since rebranded themselves as Défi. Tensions between the MCC and the MR liberal wing were also apparent when the former presented a separate list in Liège, having been snubbed by the largely PRL-dominated party organs for that constituency. But a current federal ministerial portfolio seems to have appeased them.

MR currently sit in the Federal government for an upteenth consecutive term (I think since Verhofstadt I), but now as the sole Francophone party represented and as the largest overall political family with Open Vld. Power in Wallonia, however, remains elusive: they have finished second in every single Walloon regional election to the PS, and their apparent durability in the federal government mainly stems from their ability to negotiate with the more right-wing Flemish parties.

Ideology
MR sits in the Liberal faction of the European parliament and has fundamentally retained its classical liberal roots. An emphasis on fiscal responsible government, low taxes on income and capital, deregulation, etc. However, MR are much more situated, in rhetoric at least. around the social liberal platform, to compete with the PS in unconventional liberal places and the major cities.

On social issues, MR is quite liberal, although its Brussels wing is heavily engaged in public security debates, and considers immigration to be an issue to solve without descending into N-VA’s ambiguous-xenophobic undertones.

On the Belgian state, MR no longer really talk about this issue now that Défi has defected. Their strategy when entering coalition with the N-VA was to “black ball” any communitarian or institutional agenda while the coalition lasts – meaning only socio-economic issues are dealt with this federal government. I suspect that they will want to continue this strategy of avoiding the problem until actually facing it- very Belgian.


Strongholds

()

Brabant Wallon, a.k.a BéWérly Hills. Where the richest parts of Francophone society live, as well as high income earners in Brussels jobs. Places in BW like Charles Michel’s stronghold Wavre where the economy revolves around small enterprise are also easy picking. 
Then if you follow BW down to Namur and all the way to Champagne over Namur province you get a heavily strong trending MR vote. MR also fight cdH in rural parts of Hainaut (usually commuter towns to Brussels, Mons or Charelroi). And then around places in Eastern Liège-province like Spa. A lot of pensioners vote MR around there, including the Flemish ones, and the quality of life there is markedly better.

Key factions and figures:
MR have a social liberal line but the internal party is quite a mix. Recently, the factions that have dominated revolve around the two strongmen of the party, PM Charles Michel and Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Reynders. Michel, son of PRL stalwart and former Comissioner Louis Michel, is more of a classical liberal, supported by a right-wing “Renaissance” faction that was angry with Reynders’s leadership. Reynders is more of a modern centre-right force, and his constituencies of Brussels and previously Liège means he is more of an urban Right that is not afraid to talk about issues such as the “Ghettoisation of Brussels’ districts”, but also quite social. It’s also a clash of personalities and styles as much as perspectives, much like the French Right (ugh).

Apart from that, there is a small social conservative wing that revolves around the MCC and people like the disgraced minister Jacqueline Galant. Because the far right is an utter shambles in Wallonia, MR tend to flirt a little with them, or more precisely, the far right tend to flirt with MR in the hope of changing it into a harder right. The result is a handful of nutjobs like Laurent Louis joining over the years, but they rarely make it up to the higher echelons. Louis defected to PP then made his own party loosely based on the French anti-semite Alain Soral’s Egalité et Réconciliation.

In Brussels, the hard right of the MR is represented by professional carpet-bagger Alain Destexhe, but his antics in Auderghem after attacking the popular Défi mayor Didier Gosuin, and his visit to Bachar Al Assad proved too much for MR so they have stripped him of his current party affiliation in Ixelles. Instead, MR’s key hegemons and rivals in Brussels are Vincent de Wolf (a Michel stooge) and Didier Reynders.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 07:06:58 am
Centre Démocrate Humaniste (cdH) Democratic Humanist Centre
I have to admit I fail to see the point of this party. And there has been rumours of them looking for a merger with either FDF, Ecolo or both in a sort of centrist alliance. With Macron’s victory in France perhaps having an impact here in Wallonia (as I said earlier, a lot of Walloons seem more interested in French politics than their own), they could maybe pull it off. But people gave cdH their last rites in 2014 and they still managed to do well in Wallonia.

Anyway, the centre démocratique Humanistes are the successor party to the old Christian Social Party, which as you can see from Nanwe’s maps was powerful in Wallonia. After a series of routs in the 1990s though, the PSC decided to follow its Flemish counterpart in rebranding and modernising itself, but rather than swing to the communitarian right, they went for the “radical centrist” option, and took away any mention of confessional belief. Nevertheless, they protect the Catholic education system and what is left of their pillar, as well as entertaining strong links with the agricultural lobby.

cdH are largely perceived as a sattelite party for the PS by opponents given that they have helped the latter, even in times when it has lost its majority or had the choice to enter federal power. A large part of this stems from the influence of the Catholic trade union in the party ranks. Furthermore, their removal of any Christian denomination has led to accusation of trying to pander to Muslim votes, in particular, around Brussels.

Ideology
Cdh call themselves radical centrists but are probably more left of centre, due to the utter desertion of their previously right-wing voters to MR. They distinguish themselves from the Socialist pillar by focussing on associative christian social activism rather that the PS’s big state solutions.
Socially, Cdh have been somewhat critical of an overly liberal social agenda, without holding anyone to ransom over it. They are mainstream in immigration rhetoric

On communitarian issues, I would place them as historically more stubborn than MR, and heavily committed to a Belgian identity.

Strongholds

()
People connected to the Catholic pillar are quite spread out. The place where the cdH is most hegemonic (and where their leader hails from) is Luxemburg province, with its agricultural sector. Their work in the Walloon capital Namur on a local level also means they do quite well there, and in general in small Ardennes where people are too poor/scared of change to vote MR and not culturally Left enough to vote PS.

Key figures
Benoit Lutgen is their leader, his heavy Ardennes accent and image as an honest, tell it as it is kind of guy make him a favourite with the rump of the party down south. He has an insane preference vote count down there.

Joelle Milquet is their ex-leader and strongwoman in Brussels. She was known to the Flemish as “Madame Non” because of her stubborn stance on BHV. Melchior Wathelet Jr.’s efforts though on the Brussels flight plan were so hapless that Cdh lost their third place in Brussels to Défi, and its very hard to see a future in the Capital for them.

Maxime Prévot will be bidding to hold on to his Namur stronghold in the next locals and is seen as the new, hopeful generation for cdH.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 07:09:33 am
ECOLO
ECOLO stands for (translated in French) “Confederated ecologists for the organisation of original struggles” - a stunning acronym if I’ve seen one. Ecolo are a Green party that made their breakthrough on Zwarte Zondag/Dimanche Noir/Black Tuesday. Amidst the general support for neo-fascists, paternalists and separatists, ECOLO managed to campaign on the issue of the incumbents’ education reforms in Wallonia, attracted a lot of votes from disgruntled teacher’s. Ever since they have been a useful party for disgruntled left-wingers, although clearly a new generation of voters, potentially across Europe, are identifying themselves as ecologists first and left-wingers second.
Unsurprisingly, the vote for ECOLO comes from the class of low-level technocrats, academia, and a few bobo areas in Brussels, as well as a few specific areas where they tend to do well (outer rim Liège, with places like Ans, that revolve around ex-leader Javaux’s good governance).

ECOLO have stumbled both times they have been near government. Under Verhofstadt I, they were by far the most left-wing party and appeared to annoy the liberal family the most. Both they and AGALEV (groen) suffered losses. And ECOLO’s decision to form a Walloon government around an increasingly unpopular PS in 2009 was badly seen by their ex-PS voters looking for an alternative, and they made matters worse when they ballsed up their Energy portfolio by massively subsidising costly solar panels, only to see their value drop in the private market by 30%, costing the Walloon taxpayer a fair amount of money. This partly explains ECOLO’s poor performance in the 2014 election. Another was their horrific leadership.

In Brussels, ECOLO have been somewhat resilient but mainly benefit from the Brussels flight plan, polution and mobility being such a salient issue.

Ideology
Yeah, I think its easy to guess where these stand. They have quite an eclectic mix but the Walloon ecolo dominates so much that ECOLO is seen as to the left of the PS as opposed to Groen or Die Grunen's ambiguity

As the acronym components suggest, ECOLO does welcome a lot of different advocacy groups.

And they are federalist.

Strongholds

()

They appear to have done well in the German-speaking areas and I think Liège in general is a traditionally good hunting ground of disgruntled PS voters, revolutionary tradition and a cosmopolitan feel. They do really poorly in old mining towns in Hainaut.

Decent scores in Brabant Wallon are due to Brussels commuters (who probably hate the level of infrastructure in the region and the way the RER has been handled), Louvain-La-Neuve (a new city built entirely for the university split – so students and academics), and a general lack of PS presence anywhere there other than Nivelles.

Key figures

ECOLO have a joint leadership system, usually composed of both sexes and both regions of francophone Belgium. Their current female leader is Zhakia Khattabi, from the Brussels district of Ixelles, who impressed in the Community parliament and was rewarded with the task of reviving Ecolo. The Walloon male is Patrick Dupriez, he has less of a mediatic presence, but focuses on the slightly less glamourous issue of agriculture and is trying to target the rural poor and the anti-CETA agricultural lobbies.

Jean-Marc Nollet is their head of faction and Calvo/Klaver equivalent. He suffered from a lot of stick due to the energy commission but seems more comfortable in his role as opposition with Calvo.

Jean-Michel Javaux is mayor of Ans and helps the ECOLO cause in that area. A very popular figure over there I gather.

Phillipe Lamberts is the head of the Green faction in the European parliament (with the German Ska Keller). A former banker and ex-councillor in Anderlecht, he is the old disciple of Verhofstadt-I heavyweight Isabelle Durant before he beat her to head ECOLO’s list last European elections. He recently sparked controversy over the disclosure of how his religious views help him in politics. But he is clearly respect at a local and European level, enough to resist the internal party criticism.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on April 29, 2017, 09:25:05 am
Thanks Rogier, that's fascinating.

What is up with the relative PS stronghold on the French border in Luxemburg province? I had a quick look and there doesn't seem to much there at all in the way of population centres.

Also, I think I read somewhere recently that Wallonia is actually growing faster that Flanders at the moment, is that something that people are starting to experience, or does any sign of revitalisation still seem along way off?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on April 29, 2017, 05:45:16 pm
Thanks Rogier, that's fascinating.

What is up with the relative PS stronghold on the French border in Luxemburg province? I had a quick look and there doesn't seem to much there at all in the way of population centres.

I have to admit I have little knowledge of this area. However looking at the locals in Boullion it appears the PS have quite a strong local candidate, and the area itself is relatively poor, favouring PS-cdH, unlike East Luxembourg which looks more MR-cdH. With those population figures its hard to say, it just takes a few hundred votes to swing one way or some dodgy clientelism. The MR stronghold Northwest of there in the Belgian Champagne region is more interesting. It is home to the French capital gains tax evaders and a tourism industry that favours MR. A sort of rural Uccle.

Quote
Also, I think I read somewhere recently that Wallonia is actually growing faster that Flanders at the moment, is that something that people are starting to experience, or does any sign of revitalisation still seem along way off?

Assuming you mean GDP, the most recent articles I have seen have shown Flanders growing faster because they are much better exporters to Europe in general. Now, there is a lot of potential of growth in Wallonie, but this is really because Wallonia's economy was under-capacity and was in dire need of investment to boost demand. So the PS Marshall Plan (which I think they meant to market as the New Deal) is actually a good idea in theory to reach full capacity.

The real issue in Wallonia is that their industrial strategy is still woefully unsuitable, as the recent Caterpillar closures in Charleroi have shown. Magnette still thinks Wallonia can compete with Germany and Britain in high-level industry (i,e specialist, high human capital intensive) through subsidies but there is still a massive human capital gap and cost of labour that hurts them vis-a-vis these countries. And their service strategy varied from linking Brussels and Luxemburg City, to creating a "Dyle-icon Valley" of internet enterprises in the middle of nowhere, as if internet yuppies would flock to the banks of the Dyle and live in a rural village.

These last two measures are at least better than putting inefficient industries on life support, but Wallonia's infrastructure is so bad its nigh-impossible without major investment. You can imagine who is blamed for the lack of investment in Wallonia. The recent high speed train for example, 368 million euros for Flemish infrastructure, 53 million for Wallonia.
https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_la-wallonie-s-estime-grugee-et-demande-une-revision-du-plan-rer?id=9593382

The kind of policy that made the PS an advocate of confederalism in the 80s.

But blaming is a national sport in this country, so I won't go further.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on May 01, 2017, 09:19:56 am
1rst of may a big day for most Belgian parties due to their links with the unions. They've all unveiled different political plans in the hope of convincing they represent the working man or woman of the street.
The biggest news is that Raoul Hedebouw, the popular spokesperson of PTB, has been stabbed in the arse.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Watermelon sin Jamón on May 04, 2017, 08:53:47 am
1rst of may a big day for most Belgian parties due to their links with the unions. They've all unveiled different political plans in the hope of convincing they represent the working man or woman of the street.
The biggest news is that Raoul Hedebouw, the popular spokesperson of PTB, has been stabbed in the arse.
Is he going to be okay ? What happened ? I've watched a few of his appearances in Parliament and they're always a good watch.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on May 05, 2017, 04:52:59 am
1rst of may a big day for most Belgian parties due to their links with the unions. They've all unveiled different political plans in the hope of convincing they represent the working man or woman of the street.
The biggest news is that Raoul Hedebouw, the popular spokesperson of PTB, has been stabbed in the arse.
Is he going to be okay ? What happened ? I've watched a few of his appearances in Parliament and they're always a good watch.

He's fine, he gave a speech just after, but he's taken two weeks off campaigning to recover from what must be a bit of a shock.

Yeah his speeches are worth checking out, and its funny the way he switches language when his target/mood changes. I think Hedebouw is the bright side of the PTB and its easy to see why they insist on putting him on TV more than the others.

N-VA president Bart de Wever, hence forth BDW, has released a book detailing his vision for confederalism. Its really what he has been describing for years now : two "nations" - Flanders and "Francophones" - deciding on what competences to share. The headline policy is the decision to strip Brussels of its regional status and have Brusselaren decide which nation they should belong to. Confederalism is a win-win for the N-VA because if it fails then they can proceed to argue for independence.

Their main issue though is the current lack of interest in the institutional matters (I think BHV being "solved" helps this, although it will likely flair up again once N-VA/Défi need more votes). And the fact that the younger the demographic the more pro-federalist they tend to be.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 08, 2017, 10:49:22 am
PS Mayor of Brussels(-City), Yvan Mayeur, resigns after a corruption scandal similar to Publifin.

This might be the final nail in the Di Rupo leadership coffin.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Lord Halifax on June 08, 2017, 12:52:45 pm
1rst of may a big day for most Belgian parties due to their links with the unions. They've all unveiled different political plans in the hope of convincing they represent the working man or woman of the street.
The biggest news is that Raoul Hedebouw, the popular spokesperson of PTB, has been stabbed in the arse.
Is he going to be okay ? What happened ? I've watched a few of his appearances in Parliament and they're always a good watch.

He's fine, he gave a speech just after, but he's taken two weeks off campaigning to recover from what must be a bit of a shock.

Yeah his speeches are worth checking out, and its funny the way he switches language when his target/mood changes. I think Hedebouw is the bright side of the PTB and its easy to see why they insist on putting him on TV more than the others.

N-VA president Bart de Wever, hence forth BDW, has released a book detailing his vision for confederalism. Its really what he has been describing for years now : two "nations" - Flanders and "Francophones" - deciding on what competences to share. The headline policy is the decision to strip Brussels of its regional status and have Brusselaren decide which nation they should belong to. Confederalism is a win-win for the N-VA because if it fails then they can proceed to argue for independence.

Their main issue though is the current lack of interest in the institutional matters (I think BHV being "solved" helps this, although it will likely flair up again once N-VA/Défi need more votes). And the fact that the younger the demographic the more pro-federalist they tend to be.

Why do young people like federalism?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 08, 2017, 02:59:47 pm
1rst of may a big day for most Belgian parties due to their links with the unions. They've all unveiled different political plans in the hope of convincing they represent the working man or woman of the street.
The biggest news is that Raoul Hedebouw, the popular spokesperson of PTB, has been stabbed in the arse.
Is he going to be okay ? What happened ? I've watched a few of his appearances in Parliament and they're always a good watch.

He's fine, he gave a speech just after, but he's taken two weeks off campaigning to recover from what must be a bit of a shock.

Yeah his speeches are worth checking out, and its funny the way he switches language when his target/mood changes. I think Hedebouw is the bright side of the PTB and its easy to see why they insist on putting him on TV more than the others.

N-VA president Bart de Wever, hence forth BDW, has released a book detailing his vision for confederalism. Its really what he has been describing for years now : two "nations" - Flanders and "Francophones" - deciding on what competences to share. The headline policy is the decision to strip Brussels of its regional status and have Brusselaren decide which nation they should belong to. Confederalism is a win-win for the N-VA because if it fails then they can proceed to argue for independence.

Their main issue though is the current lack of interest in the institutional matters (I think BHV being "solved" helps this, although it will likely flair up again once N-VA/Défi need more votes). And the fact that the younger the demographic the more pro-federalist they tend to be.

Why do young people like federalism?

I should be more precise : the standard young voter is perhaps not overtly pro-federal, but they want to preserve a serious Belgian state rather than opt for full independence. Its a question of issue salience, they care more about reforming Belgium than the Flemish Movement. Also :

1. They have less memory of the ethnic conflicts in Fourons and Brussels that were far more controversial at the time (60-70s).
2. They are less concerned about an independent Flemish state as they associate it with a hard, conservative right. One major factor was that the N-VA destroyed Bert Anciaux's legacy by defining Flemish political identity as right-wing and non-eclectic. SNP, to a lesser extent Lega Nord and Convergencia have defined socio-economic identity but still make a concerted effort to reach out to non-traditional electorates.

That said, the Flemish nationalist ground game at the university level is very good, especially in somewhat elitist fraternity circles. And the N-VA now means they can join an ambitious, pro-EU, pro-international party rather than Vlaams Belang. There's definitely a strong current of young N-VAers but they are, from my experience, more attracted to the N-VA's economic arguments, and less to the idea of Flemish independence.

At the height of the crisis, just 1 in 3 Flemings wanted independence.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 19, 2017, 02:17:07 pm
BIG NEWS FROM THE MOST BORING COUNTRY IN EUROPE SINCE 2014

The centrist Cdh party has decided to ditch the PS in favour of forming new majorities in both Wallonia and Brussels. The collapse of the Walloon government means an MR-cdH-ECOLO government without any elections being formed. Brussels is more complicated, especially with Défi condeming the move.

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_le-cdh-lache-le-ps-le-mr-dispose-a-dialoguer-sur-l-avenir-des-entites-federees?id=9637984

So far the PS are keeping a low profile but I imagine they will protest the fact that new election were not called or that MR do not have a democratic mandate. I for one would have loved to vote again EDIT : turns out the law has fixed terms now.

PTB#s Raoul Hedebouw has said that it is utter hypocrisy leaving the PS of Samusocial (and Publifin) [the corruption scandals that rocked Brussels and Liege respectively] to go join MR who have their own corruption scandal in the form of "Kazakhgate".

Défi have said that this is a political ploy by the Cdh to still stay relevant in the political field and try to ride on the back of anti-political sentiment. Both they and Cdh are two formations trying to vie for the MacronMania in France and "clean up the political class", but Défi insist the corruption was only in the Brussels-City government and not Brussels-region, and that Cdh was an active participant.

EDIT : confirmed by the fixed parliaments rule that we will have MR led governments.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on June 19, 2017, 08:09:41 pm
And the next election takes place together with the next federal election in 2019, right?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 20, 2017, 03:51:26 am
And the next election takes place together with the next federal election in 2019, right?

Our next regional elections will be held with the federals in 2019, but I predict that if there is a blockage on the Brussels level, then they will make an exception and we will have our regional elections with our communal ones. Most of the corruption scandals have to do with politicians having up to 15 jobs, some in state-funded charities. In Brussels this is particularly the case as we have 19 communes to go with a bloated regional government.

De Wever has already had a pop at the number of public servants in Brussels (despite Antwerp having more per capita). But now even the francophone politicians are saying it would make sense to merge some of the powers the communes have with the Brussels-regional government. 2018 elections would be the best time to do that.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 20, 2017, 04:26:17 am
Update : the noises coming out of Cdh grandees (or what remains of them) tell us that this has little to do with the corruption scandal and everything to do with PS trying hard to compete with PTB by implementing a Robin Hood style hard left platform.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on June 24, 2017, 09:48:21 am
CdH president Lutgen was at Brussels Parliament today to talk to the potential actors for a coalition there. The numbers mean Défi is "unavoidable" and effective king maker in any coalition in both Brussels and Federation Wallonia-Brussels. Together with ecolo (in what is being called the Watermelon clique) they have released a series of demands in terms of governance to the traditional parties, that includes the resignation of several high profile traditional party politicians.

Here are the potential coalitions :

At the Walloon regional level, MR+cdH has a 1 seat majority. This is significant because Wallonia could still easily reject something as high profile as the CETA agreement given cdH members can have links to the agricultural lobby, and PS will for sure vote against it in opposition to counter PTB.
 But I think Blue Orange will be the eventual outcome. cdH will still vote on the budget with PS then vote in the replacement MR-cdH government.

Brussels + the Federation is up to Défi. Either the centre-right coalition, although I believe the personal relations between Défi and MR are so bad that this won't last long. Or Défi invites ecolo to form a government with a PS that promises to hand them the keys to governance reform, as well as a clear run at MR in South Brussels during the locals, to make Défi the only liberal alternative. The only stumbling block I see with the last solution is that ecology will want groen in government, and the Flemish parties in Brussels will want to preserve their own majority. They've been surprisingly quiet.


The really -unlikely but entirely possible in this country scenario is MR-PS taking power and leaving all the others out to "reform" the place themselves. cdH has already said that they had thought of this and realised that it would still benefit them more then staying in coalition with PS. This was really a last ditch attempt for cdH to stay relevant in the political field and it could backfire spectacularly.

PS president Do Rupo has not resigned. Maybe they are waiting for 2018 for him to ride out the electoral defeat at the locals, then let the civil war start.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 01, 2017, 04:12:16 am
New poll. PTB largest party in Wallonia. But overall I think we are finally headed for the kind of electoral balkanisation seen in Flanders + Netherlands. MR being the largest party in Bxl with only 20% says as much.

'14 is last election.
'17 is now.

()

No real change in Flanders, apart from SP.A suffering due to being seen as PS-collaborators.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 03, 2017, 10:08:21 am
PS have had their congress (that was originally scheduled to be the night where Lutgen betrayed them) and it seems they have not gone for total job "decumulation". This major scandal in Belgian politics throughout the years is one that French posters will be all too familiar with. Politicians being supermen capable of holding a large mayoralty, a deputy and also be a major actors in several non-profit organisations, resulting in sometimes up to 15 mandates. Bart De Wever for example is a president of the largest party, a mayor of Flanders' largest city and a member of the federal parliament but hasn't asked a single question or submitted an amendment :

https://www.cumuleo.be/mandataire/11423-bart-de-wever.php

And he is by no means the only one.

The PS is the worst offender, because of their aforementioned link to advocacy democracy and the man who was at the origin of "cleaning" the most corrupt wing of the PS in Charleroi, Paul Magnette, along with the Youth wing, had heavily lobbied Di Rupo to push forward a total decumulation. But the PS small mayors and councillors have watered the wine so to speak, and put restrictions on. Now only mayors of big cities or communes (50,000+) will have to choose between their mayoralty or their ministerial/parliamentary position. This is interesting as both Magnette (Charleroi) and Di Rupo (Mons) will have to choose between their city or their other positions.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on July 04, 2017, 01:17:11 pm
Why is the MR so strong in Brussel-Hoofdstad? Suburbanites?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 04, 2017, 02:27:42 pm
Why is the MR so strong in Brussel-Hoofdstad? Suburbanites?

They're really strong in South Brussels, which has high income suburbs. Uccle, the Woluwes, parts of Forest, Watermael-Bosvoorde. I was gonna do some big posts but here's an indication with some semi-accurate map:

()

()


They are actually traditionally strong there anyway, as Brussels has quite a liberal tradition. ULB was their pillar university for example, and it does not have the left-wing tradition of Liège. They just really screwed up in the early 2000s partly because of the merger with FDF, which was supposed to make Brussels an MR stronghold, but instead some dissident MR wanted to clash with FDF mayors (like hard right Destexhe vs FDF "pragmatist" Gosuin in Auderghem), and there were also FDF members who were displeased with joint MR-Open Vld lists as they consider the VLD to be flamingant. So yeah, MR were their own worst enemy in Brussels and let PS dominate until now. After that though MR-FDF was an extremely effective alliance in BHV, as I detailed in a post in the 2014 election thread. 

After their split, the Brussels communes FDF/Défi beat MR in were ones where they had prominent mayors (Gosuin in Auderghem, Maingain in Woluwe-Saint-Lambrechts, Clerfayt in Schaerbeek, which is becoming a yuppie district). Otherwise I would say the MR vote held up well.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 07, 2017, 03:49:11 am
Some profiles of PTB and Défi I have written to complete the set. Will do a post on the francophone hard to far right and then get stuck in with the data I found on communal elections, since that is the next election.

 
Défi – Democrats, Federalists, Independent

Défi, formely FDF (for first Front Démocratique Francophone then Féderalistes Démocratiques Francophones), is arguably the most controversial party to characterise. Depending on the linguistic and cultural background of the scholars, you will find this party described as an “anti-Flemish party” or as a “Brussels regional interests” party (depending usually on the mother tongue of the author). I would say both are false, or at least based on previous incarnations of candidates with the FDF tag (read up on Roger Nols and his extremist wing of the party during its early years).

It is not an anti-Flemish party in the sense that it does not, as is commonly said in Flamingant milieux, question the bilingual nature of Brussels, or Belgium, nor the rights of the Flemish minority in the capital, although it does question their over-representation in the parliament. Nor is a Brussels regionalist party since its current stated goal is the merger of Brussels and Wallonia into one federation. This is seen as a way to potentially counter Flemish jurisdiction in Brussels (Flanders merged their Community and Regional government, and put the parliament in Brussels). FDF/Défi also espouse a somewhat irredentist idea of expanding Brussels jurisdiction across its periphery. This would in turn create a legal pathway for Brussels to form a part of what is left of Belgium should the Flemish polity one day separate.

It is a blatant community interests party, with that community being francophones in Brussels and its periphery, and have now turned their strategy to transforming this into some kind of national Francophone solidarity to stubbornly oppose Flemish nationalism at all costs. This communitarian aspect was particularly salient in the “glory” days of Brussels politics, when Vlaams Belang and FDF militants would fight pitched battles in football stands or on the streets. FDF in particular had a carpetbagger and all round racist Roger Nols, who would segregate ballot boxes in Schaerbeek as “Francophone, Flemish, Immigrant” and organise descents on Flamingants militants as far away as Voeren/Fourons. He would later join the PRL and then the Belgian FN, his natural habitat.

Regardless, the FDF eventually merged with the MR, but kept its quasi-feudal links with its support base in Brussels enough for MR to win BHV several times. Its split with MR over the 6th state reform led it to reform as a party looking to replaced cdH as the centrist but stubborn communitarian force in Wallonia-Brussels. It only succeeded in Brussels, and as we will see this is directly correlated with where they hold powerful local candidates. With 19 mayors in addition to the regional government, Brussels politics can be very feudal.

Ideology
As a fully independent party competing across the francophone constituencies, Défi made an effort to construct an economic platform, that they call social liberalism as opposed to MR’s “neo-liberalism”. They also emphasise investment in education and public services rather than what they see as “keeping ineffecient industries alive”. It had some good ideas, and I voted for this on a regional level partly because in Brussels there is a massive education and subsequent youth unemployment issue. But in Wallonia its probably scoffed at or seen as “Brussels blue sky liberalism”. On a broader level they are basically the Dupont to MR’s Dupond though.

On social issues, they are social liberal these days. Immigration is not even mentioned in their issues, but public security is. They were the first to present a Congolese candidate in Brussels, but they also had Nols and a hard right ethno-nationalist faction in the old days. With the MR merger and Maingain’s hegemony in the party, this has all but evaporated. What Défi (or at least Maingain) have tried to emphasise recently though is a conversion to French laicité from Belgian neutralité of the state, and a defunding of religion.

On Belgium, you can guess by their name and what I told you. They also clearly want to create a Francophone political consciousness the same way the Flemish nationalists have. And they are outspoken European Federalists.
Strongholds

()
(note that the 0.1 scale is 10%)

Brussels, specifically the communes where their heavyweights are mayors and are popular figures.  Both Woluwés (Maingain), Auderghem (Gosuin) and Schaerbeek (Clerfayt), are where they beat the competing MR outright. They also poll well in places like Ixelles, Watermael-Boisfort, and of course Brussels’ periphery. Scored well in Rhode-Saint-Genèse, for example, one of the more controversial periphery communes as it links Brussels to Wallonia and is majority French-speaking.
Défi completely failed in their bid to enter the Walloon electoral market, although they got semi-decent scores in Brabant Wallon due to the proximity with the Brussels issues. The cartel with Cdh could have done them some favours, but Défi have some real characters in their Walloon ranks, from a libertarian in Liège to some far right elements in Charleroi. Walloons don’t seem to “get” Défi. They’re not alone. But Maingain’s presence in the media as kingmaker of the French Community is doing his party a few favours in the South.

Key figures

Défi’s politics are dominated by its three amigos in mayoral positions. The first, Olivier Maingain, is by far the most powerful and the one with the biggest mediatic presence, and a pariah for Flamingants north of the border (he is nicknamed “Duivel”). He runs the party quite dictatorially. He accounts for the popularity in Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, as mayor in absentia. His wing is progressive-right, emphasising the role of social justice, and he was the one who decided boldly to join MR, and to split from it.

The second, Bernard Clerfayt, is mayor of Schaerbeek and known for both his technocratic and reconciliatory style. He is much more old school liberal MR, although his father was a pillar of the old FDF. Clerfayt has good relations with Didier Reynders in particular and is a vocal critic of the coalition with PS on the Brussels level. He ousted the PS from Schaerbeek with a Défi-Cdh-ECOLO coalition that he called “the future for francophone Belgium”.

The third, Didier Gosuin, is a minister in the Brussels government and Mayor in absentia of Auderghem. He calls himself a pragmatist and above ideological divides.







Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 07, 2017, 03:54:28 am
PTB/PVDA – Parti du Travail de Belgique – Partij Van De Arbeid (Workers Party of Belgium)

The PTB’s meteoric rise in the South of the country has attracted headlines beyond our borders. As the only unitary party in Belgium, many people joke now that it is “a party for Walloons that is founded and (still) run by intellectual Flemings”. As discussed before, the PVDA/PTB used to be under the direction of a Maoist then Stalinist core and emerged as a critic of the Communist Party of Belgium’s “revisionist” turn. You can see in Nanwe’s maps the the PCB was semi-successful in Hainaut and Liege-Province but their Eurocommunist turn eventually got squeezed by a notoriously eclectic PS. The PTB only really emerged as a serious force when it decided to abandon strange alliances and endless debates over revisionism and Cold War history in 2008, during its 8th party congress. It started adopting the broad ideas of Chantalle Mouffe, with their new leader Peter Martens arguing for a more serious approach to smaller social struggles. This happened conveniently at the time of the financial crisis. Since then there’s obviously been a demand for a leftist protest party and the PTB have slowly found their way by a combination of effective local campaigning and the anti-political sentiment

Ideology

I would say PTB-PVDA are closer to the Greek KKE than say Syriza, judging by their common membership of the International Communist Seminar. They still are somewhat committed to core Marxist-Leninist ideals, but given the success of the latter formation in Greek politics, as well as Podemos and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, they have had to tone it down. Instead, the Walloon PTB focus on setting up food banks, parallel insurance schemes, etc as a sort of counter-weight to the breakdown of pillars and state protection. Their slogan became “people first, not profit”, emphasising a more human approach to their socialist brand, focusing on smaller struggles to build their “proletariat” force for revolution.

PTB-PVDA remain eurocritical but less so than SP and France Insoumise, instead promoting the social Europe over what they see as a neo-liberal EU Commission. On social issues, they are much less Workerist than their Dutch counterparts in the SP, which also means they attract far more cosmopolitan types. They’ve also focused immigration issues on social dumping rather than Islam, and have been very effective at capturing the non-racist anti-globalist “Belgian work for Belgian” types as a result. But it might be a smokescreen.

They are one of the few unitary parties in Belgium and believe that certain levels of government should be eliminated and that institutional “plumbing” is a diversion by bourgeois nationalist politics.   

Electoral strongholds

Starting with their traditional hunting ground, Wallonia, PTB are obviously very effective at challenging the PS in depressed urban industrial zones, particularly in the outskirts of cities like Liège. Places like Seraing, Herstal, Bressoux, with very low income housing. This where they finished second to the PS in previous elections. They do less well in Hainaut, with is more small-c conservative and has a less revolutionary culture than Liège, as well as competing with the far right in Charleroi. We still might see a breakout there and some rural parts of Luxemburg-Province and Namur that are depressed. I think that the 2019 map will look very different as the PTB’s previous success was more due to their local presence.
()
In Flanders, you will notice that they do well in docker-areas of Antwerp, and north of Gent in Zelzate where there is an Arcelor Mittal-factory. PVDA managed to get councillors elected there from the unions and the medical service they provide, and build their way up. They also did very well in Genk in the last municipal elections, but surprisingly poor in student areas.
(remember to look at the scales..PVDA's bright red maximum is 11% compared to PTB's 21%.
()
In Brussels, they do very well in the Canal Zone with 2nd or 3rd generation immigrant communities reside. The Arab areas are sympathetic due to their anti-imp rhetoric and solidarity with Palestine, while the Turkish community in Saint-Josse tend to side more with the PS because of Emir Kir, who is basically their local voice. We’ll only really see how the PS vote holds up against PTB and ecolo in the next election though, but I imagine the Turks will stick with PS or go to a party in the same mould as DENK in the NL (please no).
()

  Key figures

Peter Martens in the President of the party and the most well-known figure in Flanders, and particularly in Antwerp. He was a key architect of the transition from hard debates over theoretical Marxist-Leninism/Maoism to a focus on relevant social issues like pensions, indexation, etc. His book has become a best seller in Flanders, but he remains relatively unknown in Wallonia-Brussels.

Raoul Hedebouw on the other hand has become a household name on both sides of the linguistic border. The son of Limburgish workers who moved to Liège when he was a child, he incarnates both the workerist and cosmopolitan sides that the PTB try to keep together. His command of both languages, straight-talking style, use of sarcastic humour, and at time conveying genuine outrage towards the political class makes him a favourite with the left-wing audience. As well as being party spokesman on a national level, he is also in the opposition of the Liège council and a federal parliamentarian.

Their other federal parliamentarian includes the deputy Marco van Hees, who was a public servant for the Belgian tax collector and adds credibility as a technocratic voice.

There is surprisingly little factionalism inside the PTB-PVDA for the moment as they feel the wind is in their sails. PTB’s attempts however to ally the myriad of francophone left-wing socialist parties into a French-style Left Front (with PCB, the Ligue Communiste Révolutionaire and other parties, under the PTB-GO!, failed somewhat as a concept.  What PTB tend to do though is “open” their lists to other parties from the Left.

The key question though will be: if the PTB does reach the dizzy heights of 20-25% in Wallonia and Brussels, will it ally with PS (and ecolo) to form a hard left government, or will it remain a purely opposition-based party? Undoubtedly some the compromises they would have to make with a PS may drive older cadres outside the party, but on the other hand the PS could do with shifting to the left and then fighting the PTB on the issue of competence rather than ideology.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 11, 2017, 04:44:24 am
A few updates :
Today is the Flemish National Day and traditionally the First-Minister of Flanders gives a speech in Courtrai/Kortrijk (where the battle of Golden Spurs took place) the day before. Geert Bourgeois (N-VA) put the communitarian issues back on the agenda, particularly as he recently commissioned the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) to do a study on the amount of transfers Wallonia receives from Flanders. He’s now explicitly called for a 7th state reform, although I can’t see how the N-VA will ever be allowed near negotiations on institutional reform by the francophone parties. This also comes as two N-VA defectors who were unhappy with the decision to enter a purely socio-economic and non-communitarian deal with the other parties are given an award for services to Flemish Emancipation. It shows the pressure parts of the nationalist civilian organs are putting on the N-VA, no doubt also emboldened by Assemblea in Catalunya pushing through the referendum.
EDIT : here below is a guest list of a Flemish nationalist event today

()

As a reminder, VB are seen to have a cordon sanitaire around them, so this doesn't look good for N-VA. I imagine Catalan nationalists wouldn't want their flag next to the Taal Aktie Komitee either.


An Open VLD member was caught going to an expensive Thai hotel full of hookers, made famous by The Hangover, all at the tax payer’s expense. He’s stepped aside but VLD president Rutten defended him. It is more of a sign of how the political class are now under intense scrutiny, than a genuine scandal.

Benoit Lutgen (Cdh) appears to have announced the collapse of the rouge-romaine PS-Cdh coalition without informing MR, Défi, Ecolo, and even some of his own party members, particularly in Brussels. There’s talk that the Brussels wing of the Cdh (whose strongwoman Joelle Milquet is very close to Di Rupo) might even go against party order and maintain the PS in power. But Lutgen appears to have demonstrated some degree of political amateurism by only starting negotiations after his announcement. At the same time, it hopefully ends the culture of behind closed door deals.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: mgop on July 11, 2017, 12:23:45 pm
New poll. PTB largest party in Wallonia. But overall I think we are finally headed for the kind of electoral balkanisation seen in Flanders + Netherlands. MR being the largest party in Bxl with only 20% says as much.

'14 is last election.
'17 is now.

()

No real change in Flanders, apart from SP.A suffering due to being seen as PS-collaborators.


not really politically correct word


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 12, 2017, 02:02:24 am
Nice WaPo article written by (disclaimer lol) an Antwerper living in Brussels. It touches somewhat upon the neo-feudal nature of the Brussels political scene though.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/07/10/want-to-understand-belgiums-complicated-politics-and-scandals-lets-look-at-africa/


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on July 12, 2017, 12:36:31 pm
This sure doesn't look like a cordon sanitaire to me...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: tack50 on July 14, 2017, 07:40:32 pm
A few updates :
Today is the Flemish National Day and traditionally the First-Minister of Flanders gives a speech in Courtrai/Kortrijk (where the battle of Golden Spurs took place) the day before. Geert Bourgeois (N-VA) put the communitarian issues back on the agenda, particularly as he recently commissioned the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) to do a study on the amount of transfers Wallonia receives from Flanders. He’s now explicitly called for a 7th state reform, although I can’t see how the N-VA will ever be allowed near negotiations on institutional reform by the francophone parties. This also comes as two N-VA defectors who were unhappy with the decision to enter a purely socio-economic and non-communitarian deal with the other parties are given an award for services to Flemish Emancipation. It shows the pressure parts of the nationalist civilian organs are putting on the N-VA, no doubt also emboldened by Assemblea in Catalunya pushing through the referendum.
EDIT : here below is a guest list of a Flemish nationalist event today

()

As a reminder, VB are seen to have a cordon sanitaire around them, so this doesn't look good for N-VA. I imagine Catalan nationalists wouldn't want their flag next to the Taal Aktie Komitee either.


An Open VLD member was caught going to an expensive Thai hotel full of hookers, made famous by The Hangover, all at the tax payer’s expense. He’s stepped aside but VLD president Rutten defended him. It is more of a sign of how the political class are now under intense scrutiny, than a genuine scandal.

Benoit Lutgen (Cdh) appears to have announced the collapse of the rouge-romaine PS-Cdh coalition without informing MR, Défi, Ecolo, and even some of his own party members, particularly in Brussels. There’s talk that the Brussels wing of the Cdh (whose strongwoman Joelle Milquet is very close to Di Rupo) might even go against party order and maintain the PS in power. But Lutgen appears to have demonstrated some degree of political amateurism by only starting negotiations after his announcement. At the same time, it hopefully ends the culture of behind closed door deals.



Yeah, what's with the Catalan independentist flags there? There aren't any Catalan speakers invited, and while they both think that Flanders/Catalonia should be independent, VB's brand of independentism is fundamentally different from ERC's (a lot closer to the Scottish SNP) or even PDECat's (conservative, but far from "alt-right", just mainstream conservatives)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 15, 2017, 02:43:19 am
A few updates :
Today is the Flemish National Day and traditionally the First-Minister of Flanders gives a speech in Courtrai/Kortrijk (where the battle of Golden Spurs took place) the day before. Geert Bourgeois (N-VA) put the communitarian issues back on the agenda, particularly as he recently commissioned the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) to do a study on the amount of transfers Wallonia receives from Flanders. He’s now explicitly called for a 7th state reform, although I can’t see how the N-VA will ever be allowed near negotiations on institutional reform by the francophone parties. This also comes as two N-VA defectors who were unhappy with the decision to enter a purely socio-economic and non-communitarian deal with the other parties are given an award for services to Flemish Emancipation. It shows the pressure parts of the nationalist civilian organs are putting on the N-VA, no doubt also emboldened by Assemblea in Catalunya pushing through the referendum.
EDIT : here below is a guest list of a Flemish nationalist event today

()

As a reminder, VB are seen to have a cordon sanitaire around them, so this doesn't look good for N-VA. I imagine Catalan nationalists wouldn't want their flag next to the Taal Aktie Komitee either.


An Open VLD member was caught going to an expensive Thai hotel full of hookers, made famous by The Hangover, all at the tax payer’s expense. He’s stepped aside but VLD president Rutten defended him. It is more of a sign of how the political class are now under intense scrutiny, than a genuine scandal.

Benoit Lutgen (Cdh) appears to have announced the collapse of the rouge-romaine PS-Cdh coalition without informing MR, Défi, Ecolo, and even some of his own party members, particularly in Brussels. There’s talk that the Brussels wing of the Cdh (whose strongwoman Joelle Milquet is very close to Di Rupo) might even go against party order and maintain the PS in power. But Lutgen appears to have demonstrated some degree of political amateurism by only starting negotiations after his announcement. At the same time, it hopefully ends the culture of behind closed door deals.



Yeah, what's with the Catalan independentist flags there? There aren't any Catalan speakers invited, and while they both think that Flanders/Catalonia should be independent, VB's brand of independentism is fundamentally different from ERC's (a lot closer to the Scottish SNP) or even PDECat's (conservative, but far from "alt-right", just mainstream conservatives)

N-VA's liberals are actually very close to Convergencia . Bourgeois and Puidgemont sometimes go on lobbying trips together like the failed one in Morroco.

But yeah, in this case its the N-VA's hard-liners, VBers and some really dodgy groups like the Taal Actie Komitee (that overlap with a group called Voorpost...google them). And they are giving out Catalan flags...

The real problem though is how nobody in Flanders batted an eyelid, only the Brussels-based media picked it up because some brown-shirt worshipers were throwing a party on the streets. The banalisation of the far right in the Lowlands has almost reached the point where I think N-VA/VB majorities may be used in the next local elections.


In other news, it looks increasingly likely that we are going to have MR-Cdh in Wallonia and the maintaining of the current majority in Brussels (PS-Cdh-Défi-Flemish tripartite). At the Federation level (the Francophone Community), there could be a unity government of the two regions (PS-MR-Cdh-Défi). This mess is due to ECOLO and Défi refusing to dance to Lutgen's tune. 

Its almost as if the francophone political class want PTB to destroy them next election.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on July 29, 2017, 07:01:14 am
SOme stuff happened last week, with the culmination being the formation of the new Walloon government yesterday.

On 21/07 there was the Belgian national day where we celebrate the few things that unite us : the Royalty – yuck -, fries, regional inferiority complexes, the realisation that we do indeed still have an army that doesn’t just patrol train stations and political controversy. Previous occasions have usually been rather embarrassing for Flemish politicians in particular, most notably for CD&V Prime Minister Yves Leterme who sung the French national anthem when asked for the Belgian one.

This time though it was up to the Walloons to cause the controversy in the proceedings by…not showing up. Paul Magnette was still de jure Minister-President of Wallonia but clearly he felt it would be embarrassing for him and the PS if they had gone. As a result, the MR-cdH coalition is now a done deal and all they have just had the official vote in parliament to swear in the next government, led by Willy Borsu (MR), before going on holiday.

The deficit in talent is due to MR already having a lot of their best people at the federal level, with Borsus the only one being drafted in from that level. But the vast majority of reforms will not be economic but about governance. They include :

-   Removal of the Provincial elected chambers. The ten provinces of Belgium are arguably more historically accurate faultlines than the regional divide. But their competences are so weak that it makes no sense to keep them given the 5 other layers of government.

-    200 administratif posts less

-   Help with first house ownership

-   A few other tax breaks as expected of a right-of-centre government.

-   Also interesting to the psephologists amongst you, the introduction of a Walloon-wide electoral constituency that will send 10 directly elected MPs to the parliament.  


()

Borsus (left) and Magnette (right)

I tend to agree with Magnette’s surprisingly objective criticism : the measures don’t go far enough to justify a genuine change of government just 2 years before an election and the subsequent political crisis this could cause, with Brussels and Wallonia now out of sync and the Federation under threat. As such it is a “waste” of alternative government. Still, this kind of rhetoric is vanilla compared to Di Rupo and the rest of the PS, who used blatant fearmongering to win in 2010.

Magnette himself has indicated that he will choose his mayoral post at Wallonia’s most populous city of Charleroi over his mandate in the Walloon parliament. No surprise there. The question is whether Magnette will try to take control of the behemoth that is the Walloon PS when Di Rupo eventually resigns.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on August 06, 2017, 02:47:59 pm
The far right in Wallonia


You may have noticed that amidst the scandals and corruption, Wallonia still has no credible support for a party to the Right of MR, who sit in the ALDE group of the European Parliament and is generally a lighter version of the Open Vld or Dutch VVD. This is despite Wallonia neighbouring regions with similar socio-economic realities (Dutch Limburg, Nord-Pas-De-Calais in France) that have strong right-wing populist party presence (PVV and FN respectively). I already discussed this here in DavidB’s Dutch thread :

Possibly heading off-topic, but why is it that Flanders has a heavy amount of populist-rightism, but Wallonia doesn't?

A few factors i can think of :

1/ No Walloon identity. You will find it hard to find anyone who responds ''Walloon'' when you ask them where you are from here. Completely different to Flanders, which is a homogeous nation. Very little ethnic nationalism, Walloons seem to me to be adherents to the moderate Castillan ''poquito nacion'' concept of only caring about your close environment rather than grandiose forms of nationalism.

2/ Previous "Front National" was a total shambles and dissolved before it could ride on the "Bleu Marine" wave (which is popular here in Belgium, more than you think). Its successors were ''La Droite'' (mainstream new right but claims to be the equivalent of the French centre-right, which is essentially political suicide in Wallonia), Parti Populaire (Wilders-esque rank and file populism with Modrikamen as their cult leader, anti-Islam), Debout Les Belges (Laurent Louis leading the anti-Zionist charge). Basically they are too busy arguing who to hate more (muslims or jews) to form a united ''New Right'' party with at least a degree of sane rhetoric a la Wilders, Le Pen.

3/ In many ways, Walloons who lost out due to globalisation realise that the problem wasn't European integration (that if anything preserved their coal and steel industries), but global capitalism as whole. The conservative right-wing parties like Partie Populaire are openly free market liberals.

4/ Masterful politicking by the de facto party of government, PS, who play any Walloon inferiority complex to a tee on the federal level.


So the reality is that Wallonia probably does an electoral void that could be filled by a party to the Right of MR, especially as they ready themselves to take on governmental responsibilities in the region. But the political figures were either too egotistical or incompetent. The recent alternative was the Parti Populaire, founded by Rudy Aernoudt, a Flemish lawyer who wanted to reform Belgian’s political system on the basis of preserving liberal democracy, and Miskael Modrikamen, a Brussels-based lawyer who wanted a party to the right of MR.

The clash of egos between the two that eventually led to Modrikamen taking full command of the party hides the real differences within the Walloon “hard”, conservative right:
 
•   should they stick up for a Belgian identity and federalism (Aernoudt) or merely for “francophone” interests in the form of confederalism (Modrikamen)?

•   Should they collaborate with Flemish nationalism (Modrikamen, who wanted to ally with the N-VA) or oppose it (Aernoudt, who wanted a federal voting district to compete with the N-VA)

•   Should they present themselves as a defender of liberal democracy and an alternative to MR (Aernoudt) or a platform for protest voters who vote “one time ECOLO, another for the Belgian National Front [which is a ridiculously unfounded statement], conservatives and traditionalists who only reluctantly vote for MR” (Modrikamen)

Add to their inevitable split was also the fact that their only federal elected official, Laurent Louis, ended up founding his own right-wing anti-Semite conspiracy theorist party, Debout Les Belges, calling then PM Di Rupo a paedophile, splitting the PP vote and eventually joining the ISLAM party of Brussels. The marginal Walloon hard to far right in 2014 thus was confronted with a split as to who posed the greater threat: “Zionists” or “Islamists” (read : Jews or brown people), an echo chamber with little room for any serious policy debate, and an underwhelming score. Although, to be fair to the PP, some of their manifesto had some propositions ahead of its time on governance, the people it attracted were just too hilariously insane to be taken seriously by its potential electorate.

Their only Walloon parliamentarian, André-Pierre Puget, eventually joined a party called La Droite, now La Droite Citoyenne, that has a more vanilla and less immigration-based brand of right-wing populism, and seem to be keeping a low profile compared to the now struggling PP. La Droite was an idea of controversial businessman Aldo-Michel Mungo, who like Modrikamen is known for his ruthless, ego-centred approach to his own party. Inevitable clashes with his only parliamentarian (on the issue of immigration again) led Puget to sit as an independent, and is currently voting with MR and Cdh to bolster their new majority from one seat to two.

Some other micro-parties, usually surrounding one personality and their ambition to become Belgium’s answer to France’s Bleu Marine movement. And some other peculiar figures like Phillipe Chansay-Wilmotte, a man who used to work in international law and claim to have experienced first hand the “Islamic plot against Europe” when dealing with Arab clients. Some of his facebook posts are priceless :

()

As for their traditional European far right, the “Belgian FN” ended up splitting three ways, largely again based on personality politics and whether to sympathise with the French Bleu Marine FN or the dissident ultra-nationalists and Neo-Nazis.  All in all, the Walloon far right is an absolute shambles, and failed to seize their opportunity the same way the neighbouring regions did.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: mileslunn on August 10, 2017, 11:05:48 pm
Why is the Worker's Party doing so well in Wallonia as they seem way out on the left.  I am not an expert on Belgian politics, but would it be fair to say Flanders leans right and Wallonia leans left as it seems the left tends to win big there and right big in Flanders.  Mind you the Christian Democrats seem fairly centrist so not sure if you would call the CDH or CD&V as right wing parties and likewise Open VLD and Reformist Movement are labeled centre-right, but they same like Belgium's version of the Democrats of the US, Liberal Party of Canada, or Liberal Democrats of UK in terms of where they stand on the political spectrum as opposed to a more market liberal party like the VVD in the Netherlands.  Otherwise correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is they are more like the D66 than VVD.  Also with the Worker's Party doing well any particular reason or is like France with Melenchon and UK with Corbyn you have a lot of dissatisfied younger voters who are attracted to hard left policies without fully understanding them.  Anyone know?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on August 11, 2017, 11:22:06 am
Why is the Worker's Party doing so well in Wallonia as they seem way out on the left.

Tl;dr : its because of PS corruption putting voters off the political class after their 26-year hegemony starting to fade.

The Workers Party’s initial success is compared to the N-VA’s because it is anti-establishment and has a charismatic leader in Wallonia (Hedebouw) but this is a poor analogy. The Workers Party (PTB) had nowhere near as much sudden success nation-wide as the N-VA did and never entered a cartel with government parties to project themselves on to the national stage like the N-VA did.  

I prefer Bertrand Henne’s analogy with the Lijst De Decker (LDD), which was a small libertarian radical right-wing formation that was successful in West Flanders and East Flanders for its ground game, and led by a charismatic leader.  The PTB phenomenon was, like LDD, restricted to 1 region , Liège province, where it built a steady record of social care and government accountability alongside a place known for its, err, revolutionary spirit.

Otherwise, the Walloon PS was actually fairly resilient to left-wing challenges, especially when you see how the Dutch and French equivalents had their flames all but extinguished by the radical left and the social liberal centre. Then the scandals started coming in: local politicians at the head of private non-profit organisations called “ASBLs” tasked with government portfolios funded by federal programs, and they were paying themselves silly money for having 2 meetings a month or, in Liege, overcharging the citizens’ energy bills. The PS is widely held responsible for this culture (see also my part about their pandering to “advocacy democracy” lobbies) even though its true that most parties do it. Anyway, the general anti-political sentiment has helped the PTB and most PS voters have no intention of ever voting to the Right of the PS.  

Quote
I am not an expert on Belgian politics, but would it be fair to say Flanders leans right and Wallonia leans left as it seems the left tends to win big there and right big in Flanders.

Yes, if you insist on analysing it from a purely regionalist/nationalist perspective. It’s an indirect relationship though.

Also keep in mind Wallonia just switched to a centre-right government.

Quote
Mind you the Christian Democrats seem fairly centrist so not sure if you would call the CDH or CD&V as right wing parties

The CD&V considers itself centrist but is now centre-right on the economy with protections for the elderly and agriculture (i.e their vote) and heavily nationalist with a few notable exceptions (such as its associated trade union). So I classify it as centre-right.

The Cdh is much more to the left although recently they have switched from their historical alliances with the PS to a partnership with the MR.  It’s a party that is now facing an identity crisis that is too complicated to explain in one go. Their youth wing for example is pro-Macron but their electorate are (to overgeneralise) small-c conservative farmers, cadres and conservative-religious people of all faiths.

Quote
and likewise Open VLD and Reformist Movement are labelled centre-right, but they same like Belgium's version of the Democrats of the US, Liberal Party of Canada, or Liberal Democrats of UK in terms of where they stand on the political spectrum as opposed to a more market liberal party like the VVD in the Netherlands. Otherwise correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is they are more like the D66 than VVD.


In Belgium the liberals have always been considered the centre-right and the Christian democrats the centrists. Its very confusing because their European parliamentary groups suggest otherwise, and you could argue CD&V is more right than MR, but it shows you that the left-right scale is sometimes an inaccurate measure and usually based on tradition.

VLD and MR are allied with both VVD and D66 in the Netherlands. There is not enough political space for there to be two liberal parties in each region of Belgium (except for our insane enclave of Brussels of course, we have space for three now).

From a purely ideological perspective, for sure VLD is now closer to VVD than when they were under Guy Verhofstadt. MR is a bit harder to say because it’s still a federation of right-wing parties and figures dominated by the liberal pillar, which isn’t necessarily liberal in the US/Canadian sense.

Quote
Also with the Worker's Party doing well any particular reason or is like France with Melenchon and UK with Corbyn you have a lot of dissatisfied younger voters who are attracted to hard left policies without fully understanding them.  Anyone know?

The PTB vote does indeed contain a strong youth element but studies show that the youth vote itself is split across 4-5 ways fairly equally. PTB mainly did well in old ouvriers blue collar districts where the youth are long gone. To categorise their vote as only young idealists with uni education would be a mistake. We'll wait and see what they do but I imagine they'll mainly get support from old PS working class districts, particularly in places affected by corruption.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 01, 2017, 06:59:05 am
Its september so as expected the kids are back to school, and that also goes for the political class and their running soap opera, which has to be reported on. All eyes are on francophone Belgium after Lutgen's bizarre coup, mainly because the Flemish parties are still in the "QUOTE ME ON A REALLY CONTROVERSIAL MEASURE SO AT LEAST I GET HEADLINES"-mode (soooo 2016). This time it was Zuhal Demir's (N-VA) turn to get all the attention by saying that handicapped people should only get benefits if they have lived 10 years in Belgium.

()
Zuhal Demir first attracted controversy for non-political reasons : posing for magazine shoots in parliament.

Anyway, Lutgen (cdH) only managed to change the government in Wallonia, when Brussels and especially the Federation of Wallonia-Brussels (henceforth FWB, whose competences include the hot topic of education reform) are legislatively blocked. The regional government in Brussels seems stable due to the regional cdH refusing to resign its ministers, but the FWB is basically all but blocked.


First man home, the Kingmaker, Olivier Maingain, who starts the new schoolyear with some 80 propositions to MR and cdH in order to form an alliance at the FWB. Basically, he's trying to sue for peace with a small leverage, knowing he won't be listened to. Because Défi know that an alliance with MR-cdH would make no strategic sense (they want to siphon votes from both of them), they're at least trying to make any alliance at the FWB level a "francophone union" of PS-MR-cdH-Défi-ECOLO. He's also been accused of trying to break up the MR-PS alliance of Brussels-City in order to favour his son Fabian in the coming elections. All this while presenting himself as the "Macronist clean renewal" of FWB. 25 years as head of his party and having to be parachuted into a Défi fiefdom to obtain a mayoralty would suggest he is more of a Bayrou.

()
Lutgen and Maingain have been at odds, the personal battle reflecting a cultural divide between the laique city and the catholic-influenced country side in Bastogne where the former hails from. Their rivalry is nothing compared to Maingain's one with the MR Michel faction though


Next, Elio di Rupo, who had to postpone his book release last year after the scandal, chose to release it this month. In his book he details his life story (a heartening one, but told a million times now) and how he will save the PS by veering it to the left with a bunch of "heart-felt" policies. The take-out policy for the media though? The idea that marijuana legalisation would save Wallonia's agricultural sector. Not bad considering the Dutch have only legalised distribution, not production.
()
A comic by Nicolas Vadot showing the uneasy position Di Rupo is in with Paul Magnette waiting in the wings. Its widely expected the latter will let the former will take the bullet in 2019 though as Magnette focuses on retaining Wallonia's largest city, Charleroi.


Next up was Walloon minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet (MR), who tackled what he called the "culture of dependency" amongst Wallonia's unemployed. Hard luck as a radio comedian then pointed out that the new Employment minister "should know all about job seeking given he managed to employ his brother at the Public Center for Social Welfare in his local commune, his wife and his sister-in-law at the Provincial level and his sister as chief of staff of Georges Pire, [a high profile MR politician caught up in the Publifin scandal]".


Not to be outdone by his new liberal coalition partners, the Machiavellian mayor in absentia of Namur, Walloon minister and architect of the cdH coup, Maxime Prévot comes out with a declaration that the cdH would be ready to govern with the N-VA in 2019. Followed by major backtracking to make his party look stupid (Lutgen saying he dreams of a government with no PS and no N-VA being the highlight). Of course, realistically this had to be said, as a PTB plurality in Wallonia come 2019 would mean a Michel II federal government by default, with cdH included. But suggesting you want to ally with the N-VA out of choice is a bad idea with the Walloon electorate.
()
Maxime Prévot is (or was) seen as something of a last hope of the dwindling cdH electorate who dream of a Lazarus-style resurrection in the electoral market. His image as an ideal son-in-law and clean cut helps them in the Walloon capital of Namur, a key battleground.


Given the staggering PR disasters at hand here, it will be very interesting to see the latest polls in Wallonia and Brussels. Once the circus there is over though it will be time to discuss the main battles in the upcoming local elections.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: ¢®🅰ß 🦀 ©@k€ 🎂 on September 01, 2017, 11:00:06 am
What exactly do the linguistic parliaments do?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 01, 2017, 11:33:05 am
What exactly do the linguistic parliaments do?

Amai. Do you have time to read the Belgian constitution? :D

The simple memory technique we learnt at school was that everything not on the federal level that has to do with material goods and the allocation of resources is devolved to the regional parliaments. This is how the PS(!) demanded Belgian federalism should be shaped in order to stop the CVP from favouring Flemish industry over the declining Walloon one.
Here are the competences : https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/government/regions/competence


The linguistic parliament (or communities) deals with non-material issues. Education is the main one, then healthcare, culture, science, tourism, etc. The Flemish demanded this as they saw it as the next logical step towards the creation of Flemish nationhood (same curriculum, and so on).
https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/government/communities/competence


The typically Belgian compromise was having both. Brussels-Region and the German speaking community (Ostbelgien) politicians tended to lobby for regional structures only, with education and economic policy back in their respective hands.

However, a legal scholar would be able to give you more insight into the exact competences, the particularity of Flanders' government merging the two parliaments and essentially making the linguistic one a committee, etc.

tl,dr its a mess.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 08, 2017, 04:39:06 pm
New polls.
()
The Flemish take-aways are that N-VA is taking votes back. Which is strange considering BDW's strategy lately has been to target VB electorates by saying that the citizens of one of his Arab-heavy districts "have the same faces as the Barcelona attackers" after the incidents there. He may be thinking about Antwerp more than Flanders though.

Groen are also the third largest party now, and are on course for their best result.
Vld and spa are feeling the pressure for sure.




Now, for Wallonia, Lutgen's coup has backfired on his party, but seemingly helped the MR consolidate. The PTB is no longer largest but I think the last one was an outlier, and Venezuela certainly didn't help them. So MR, after huffing and puffing, are finally ready to reclaim top spot :
()
I imagine cdH's votes in Wallonia are partly split in between the last remnant of progressive Christians joining ECOLO (a phenomenon that I was surprised to discover started a surprisingly long time ago, and not just in Belgium) and the ones who bought into the "radical centrism" going to Défi.

The big winner is Défi in Brussels, who are now at 18%, remarkable considering the lack of communitarian agenda and the lukewarm response to their re-branding. Maingain's role as a tough kingmaker to handle on governance has certainly helped his media image. I was convinced his gamble would fail considering he epitomises the old school francophone elite to some. But his party is modernising better than expected.
Little is mention of ECOLO overtaking PS, but there is a margin of error to consider. Still bad news for PS.
()



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: The Saint on September 08, 2017, 05:10:46 pm
Did sp.a's poll numbers go down?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 08, 2017, 05:30:31 pm
Slightly, but then the three traditional parties in Flanders leave much to be desired. sp.a are not alone.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: The Saint on September 08, 2017, 05:58:51 pm
Slightly, but then the three traditional parties in Flanders leave much to be desired. sp.a are not alone.

Ah ok


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 09, 2017, 06:00:18 am
One of the top francophone Belgian political scientist Pascal Delwit (known to have a slight left bias but usually objective in the maths) put on his facebook page how he interprets the results in terms of constituencies and seats...
()

PS finishing 3rd in Liège...oh dear...

Interestingly, a Défi candidate commented below this that the reason why cdH wanted a region-wide constituency was because it allowed them to recuperate in places where they now fail to make the threshold. Their 10% region-wide would effectively make up for their protracted losses in their traditional stronghold of Luxemburg-Province according to the poll. To be taken with a pinch of salt though, as Défi are actively trying to finish off cdH as a political force with ECOLO.

Also, it appears the Dutch-speaking Brussels constituency's government formation (CD&V-VLD-SP.a) has lost its majority thanks to a poor performance of the VLD at the expense of the nationalists. They would have to incorporate groen (which is a certainty anyway if ECOLO also keep rising) but that would still deliver a dangerous 10 non-nationalist dutch-speaking representatives vs 7 nationalist representatives (VB-N-VA).

()




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 17, 2017, 02:42:03 am
Last week was a bad week if you were a Flemish separatist.

Not only did the N-VA announce that they would not fight the next election on the "communitarian" agenda (constitutional revision), but Laurette Onkelinkx, the strongwoman of the Brussels PS and favourite scapegoat of the Flemish Right, announced her retirement.

Strange move by the N-VA though, and I can only hypothesise a few explanations, because the scarce N-VA militants I know have had lukewarm responses to this. For one, N-VA tend to take polls and analytics very seriously, so they must have identified that concerns are shifting away from the economic/communitarian debate and more into identity and public security (VLD seem to have realised this too). Another potential reason is that they are happy with the current federal government and do not want to risk losing that much needed "party of good governance" label they want to sell themselves as. They're starting wind up their coalition partners more and more though with Theo Francken yet again attracting attention by announcing arrests of refugees on his Facebook page followed by #opkuisen ("cleaning up"). He maintains the subject it refers to is problems, not refugees.

This is a good time to mention the two federal deputies that belong to no party mentioned previously…"Vuyle & Wouters", two ex-nationalist deputies who quit the N-VA over the agreement with MR to freeze communitarian issue. They've obviously pounced upon this big time, and believe there is a gap in the electoral market opening for a "V-Front" list composed of hardline separatists.

It will be interesting to see N-VA --> Vlaams Belang transfers in the next polls, as well as what happens to the PS in Brussels.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 01, 2017, 05:49:57 am
Federal-level politics is really getting into depressingly, disgustingly poor PR stunts (the worst coming from young ECOLOs reductio ad hitlerium on Theo Francken) and there are local elections coming up soon, so time to dedicate the first post towards the local elections. Inevitably, a lot of attention will be on Antwerp, as they were last time round, where N-VA leader Bart de Wever is the mayor thanks to his stunning victory over Patrick Janssens. His grief in defeat was encapsulated below in a now infamous image:

()
 
The victory really gave the nationalist faction momentum going into 2014, in a city that has been a honeypot by the nationalist Right due to concerns over immigration, public security, and geographic/ economic inequality. Previously, Janssens had led his "Stadlijst" (composed mainly of sp.a and CD&V members) to a close victory over VB in 2006, after the extreme right had won pluralities in the city in 2000 and 1994. He relied on VLD votes in the council to counter the extreme right.

After De Wever required outside support to form the mayoralty in 2012, CD&V broke the Stadlijst to support him with VLD. De Wever´s victory in 2012 paved the way for the transfer of VB to N-VA voters in the federal election, and highlights the way these locals are often also fought on federal grounds (much to the chagrin of the 3 traditional parties who have established networks dating back to the pillars). Antwerp is also Belgium's most populous commune, and usually communes over 50.000 pop there are similar cleavages to the national arena, but with the common multiparty lists (usually under "Mayor's list" for incumbents or another name) and much more frequent defections. Under 50.000 and it gets more about local personalities and issues.

Antwerp is the jewel in the crown because it is a single commune encompassing its urban area divided into "districts", as opposed to the Brussels urban area which still maintains its 19 individual commune system (as if they were separate cities). Here is the district outlay of Antwerp, with population estimates :

()

You can see results per district and map on this website :

http://www.vlaanderenkiest.be/verkiezingen2012/index.html#/district/11102/p_-4/uitslagen

So, on to 2018 now, and it seems the N-VA's support in the diamond city is dwindling, and not at the expense of the VB. Furthermore, Groen made a significant surge, and since the issue of mobility and intercommunity relations in Antwerp is a nightmare, they have pounced upon the more car-friendly policies of the N-VA and De Wever's rhetoric on immigration to propel themselves as the main alternative to the N-VA. So right now it looks like a straight fight between N-VA and Groen for top spot, arguably a taster of what the long-term future of Flemish politics looks like. Here are the polls (from la DH) :

()

What of the other parties going into 2018?

Sp.a's answer to getting obliterated in Antwerp in the federal election and bleeding voters to groen all over Flanders has been…underwhelming. They have maintained their refusal to ally with groen in Antwerp city, and no real personalities have emerged. This new poll shows though that any groen-sp.a cartel would actually reduce their combined scores in favour of the PVDA :

()

CD&V themselves have drafted in Kris Peeters, ex-Minister-President of Flanders, to go head to head with De Wever, to turn Antwerp into a federal debate again. It was largely hailed as a masterstroke CD&V needed to find an identity given their traditional alliance was with sp.a in this city. While Peeters is popular though I would not associate him with Antwerp, and that shows in the polls. They were maybe hoping for a straight fight between Peeters and De Wever because the former can definitely attract centre-left voices and is the most vocal insider dissident on the federal level.  

Open VLD know all about this after last time they drafted in a federal "heavy-hitter" to top their list, Annemarie Turtleboom, and she underperformed massively. I'm not sure how Open VLD can distinguish themselves here but they are not seriously looking to take a commune they never really held in the first place. Its more about whether they'll maintain the coalition with N-VA and CD&V.

The PVDA, who scored very well last time out and do particularly well in Borgerhout, don't seem to be progressing as they'd hoped. Groen seem like a more electable option for left-wing voters.

VB will always have their "voorstad" working class voters in Ekeren or Hoborkem who are fully engrained into their culture. I can't see them winning against the N-VA in other demographics though, and the power struggle between Dewinter and Van Grieken will play out internally. Dewinter in particular feels Antwerp is *his* hunting ground.

I have little knowledge of the district level politics but Antwerp as a whole will definitely be the one to watch.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 15, 2017, 10:12:11 am
So, a few updates for my containement thread.

One is that sp.a and Groen have now decided to merge their lists in Antwerpen despite the polls above showing it wasn't necessary or effective. But sp.a have got an ex-police commisioner from Mechelen in with a background in intercommunity relations to take second in the list, and the first will be Groen's Meryem Almaci. I think this is a very bad move because the sp.a brand is too tarnished (rightly or wrongly). But they maintain that coming first over N-VA is more important, and I'm looking forward to see whether red-red-green works at a local level as it may influence my vote. Here's an interesting article in De Tijd (my favorite source for flemish news) on the difference between an N-VA commune (Antwerp) and an sp.a-groen commune (Gent). Sorry its in Dutch : https://www.tijd.be/politiek-economie/belgie-vlaanderen/Het-Antwerpse-versus-het-Gentse-model/9942612

PS have decided Ahmed Laaouej should be the replacement for Onkelinkx as their head in parliament, potentially making him a favorite to follow her as head of the Brussels PS. He's a very strong parliamentarian and party-official. I also think he is a more compromising figure, given the Brussels PS's historical split between now-retired Molenbeek mayor Phillippe Moureaux (of whom Onkelinkx was a disciple), who was very left-wing and on the other side more "bobo" cultural left ex-Minister-President Charles Picqué. So, as usual these PS power struggles are about internal personality contests rather than visions for their communities. I don't think Laaouej is very inspiring. And amidst all this is the SamuSocial scandal related to PS local politicians paying themselves silly money with a federal-funded homelessness charity for attending two meetings a month. Nice.  

On Wednesday, there was a general strike from the unions over the federal government's general "neo-liberal" policies, without any specific mention to policy, but mainly related to the retirement age about to be upped, the skipping of "indexation" (salaries in Belgium must be adjusted to inflation…which makes no sense IMO but given how capital intensive society is becoming it might help just as they start to scrap it). It was mainly organised by the Socialist unions with close ties to the PS. It also organised a meeting in Namur with Di Rupo, Magnette and Rudy Demotte  that was interpreted by the media as a dictation of the union demands, that if not adopted, would force them to concentrated on helping the PTB. In general there has been strong criticism of the union's political interference, particularly in the North of the country.



Anyway, time to get the teeth sunk into Liège, and Greater Liège in general. Note the differing levels of what I may to refer Liège :

   - The city of Liège, which is Wallonia's second largest commune, and is currently in the hands of mayor Willy de Meyer. Its borders have enlarged considerably
   - Metropolitan Liège, with is a continuous urban sprawl in the Meuse valley/Maasvallei that developed during the massive intensive industrialisation waves, making it Wallonia's largest urban area.  
   - Province of Liège, who borders roughly correspond to the old principality of Liège, a polity that existed for the good part of a thousand years separate from the previous incarnation of "Belgium", the Spanish/Austrian Netherlands. Joined later against the Dutch in 1830, led by future Liberal PM, Charles Rogier, who marched to Brussels with around 200 drunks to join the Flemish/Brabant elite in the fight against Orangisme.

 
   
Liège province is marked by several phenomena that forms its separate political identity. One is the previous allusion to a different identity to the rest of Belgium, and one of the few regions of Wallonia (I would say with Champagne and the German-speakers) to resist what is known as "Belgicism", the idea of a unitary Belgian state and the top-down formation of a centralising Belgian identity. Most of the support of the Rassemblement Wallon was found here, and their strongman José Happart defecting to the PS undoubtedly shaped the regionalist aspects of the Walloon working class in Liege. There's a great interview with Happart where he says his confederal model for governing Belgium was ahead of its time and that Liege should never been a part of Belgium.

Second, the urban expansion of their city along the river Meuse/Maas and its rapid industrialisation meant that, unlike the Flemish towns that were spared such a horror, Liège is known for its incredibly cramped, poorly maintained suburbs built for the waves of local, national then international immigrant workers for its heavy industry. The initial poor working and living conditions made PS labour movement hegemony here a walk in the park. The more bourgeois MR voting areas were largely in the north of the city (Rocourt), outside the Valley, or in the east (around Spa).  

All this to say that federal and local elections alike in Metropolitan Liège are largely linked to the local  political culture and ongoings surrounding the city itself, which was the economic heartbeat of the province. These "ongoings" have recently revolved around the extent of the PS's hegemony and links with the private sector. On the one hand, you had Michel Daerden, a wealthy businessman who was largely deemed a caricature of the Liège PS : charming, popular, also a heavy drinking problem, with shady conflicts of interest. And on the other you had party loyalists like Jean-Claude Marcourt, Alain Mathot or Willy Demeyer, who quietly opposed the antics of Daerdenne and stated that his links to the private sector were too strong and were hurting the party image. Aided by Daerden's number 2, Stéphane Moureau, a "Bande à Cinq" (Gang of Five) essentially deposed him and his son on grounds of conflict of interest, taking his mayorality and his "head of list" position in the constituency. It didn't stop Daerden dad and son getting elected due to their popularity in 2010 and 2014 respectively. The dad has since passed away (here is a highlight reel for french speakers):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kgqco4YSpAQ

Because of the policy overlap between the communes, Belgian law allowed the communes to set up "intercommunales", public holding companies that dealt with local issues (like you energy prices or urban planning in an inter-communal context - as if there were not enough layers of governance in Belgium). It turns out one of them in Liège, Publifin, was a massive honeypot for Stéphane Moureau's Néthys company. He helped set up "fake" meetings where politicians of all stripes would be awarded several hundred grand, and in exchange Néthys was given "portfolios" by the politicians such as energy deals at high prices. So needless to say if you followed the money it ended up with the tax payer footing the bill.

Thus, the proposed inner-PS "coup" from Daerden's mild hegemonic corruption that was never proved, ended up with a cross-party corruption case that has made the "traditional" parties pariahs in Liège province, and especially the PS led by Marcourt and Moureau. Moureau, as the architect of Publifin, has resigned in disgrace from his mayorality in Ans. But figures such as Alain Mathot are still incumbents in Seraing, and Demeyer is still mayor of the city. His prospects are not looking good though, with a Raoul Hedebouw-led PTB list in their stride :

()

(Also a bit of a shame the small party VEGA have lost out to PTB as I would consider voting for them.
Not sure what happened but I imagine it has something to do with PTB's rise.)

To truly see the salience of the Publifin issue in the province, it will be important to look at how Daerden's son, Frédéric, does in Herstal. If he resists the PTB in this commune, then it should be good news for the PS brand. If not, it means the PS image as a whole is toast in the Province for the foreseeable future. How Mathot does in Seraing is also important, as that place is now probably considered PTB heartland and could be their first major scalp.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Watermelon sin Jamón on October 16, 2017, 04:19:19 pm
What was/is VEGA ?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 16, 2017, 05:25:18 pm

Verts et a Gauche, one of the myriad of parties attempting to fill a void between ECOLO and PTB that unfortunately does not seem to fill up in a region it could do well in. ECOLO has had some tensions in the past and present between "laïque" and "non-laïque" members because of the influx of christian and muslim social movements and thus cdH voters. Its led to their "watermelon" members sometimes attempting to break off and form alternatives. Bernard Wesphael's Mélenchoniste Mouvement de Gauche being the most successful until he was arrested for his wife's murder, later acquitted. And just this week in Brussels two councillors defected towards Défi over concerns with ECOLO´s stance on religion.

VEGA was more grassroots and local than MG though, founded by an ex-Parti Communiste Belge member in Liege and an urban planner who managed to get elected in the Liege commune. It emerged around the same time as PTB due to the absolute mess ECOLO left during their stint in Wallonia's regional government, but I think PTB have just bulldozed the entire radical left.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 17, 2017, 09:44:08 am
It appears that VEGA and Mouvement de Gauche have merged into one movement called Demain. They are headed by Vincent Delcory, who was the most prominent ECOLO defector to VEGA.

Anyway, new polls (pics taken from DeStandaard)
http://m.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20171016_03135078

Flanders
()

Wallonia
()


Brussels
()

At this rate it looks like I'm going to have to vote on the Flemish list in a Brussels regional election. It is worth it otherwise the N-VA with their MASSIVE 3,9% might have to be considered for a coalition. Another fcucked up aspect of Belgian politics.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on October 17, 2017, 10:03:32 am
What's up with the sudden increase in the Ecolo numbers?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 17, 2017, 10:28:42 am
What's up with the sudden increase in the Ecolo numbers?


1. ECOLO and Défi were the big mediatic winners over the summer because they were against the cdH "coup" but managed to offer a list of reforms that are attractive and remain constructive. PTB sort of faded into broken record territory. Anti-corruption is now their salient issue.
2. ECOLO are the party most likely to benefit from leftwing cdH voters unhappy with the new MR-cdH Walloon government.
3. They tend to do better in local and European elections because there is less responsibility attached and they tend to care about the urban planning, environment/ air pollution issues, etc
4. They are leading in Brussels-City polls for the moment; In Brussels local politics, there is the issue of mobility setbacks, and air pollution, as well as PS corruption.

Note for point 1 though that this poll was conducted before the revelations this week of a semi-prominent ECOLO member collecting a salary from an anti-nuclear power NGO when he had not worked for them for several years. Given ECOLO are also associated with a lot of these (ironically named) ASBL there might be more cases like this.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Heat on October 17, 2017, 05:18:21 pm
What's up with the sudden increase in the Ecolo numbers?


1. ECOLO and Défi were the big mediatic winners over the summer because they were against the cdH "coup" but managed to offer a list of reforms that are attractive and remain constructive. PTB sort of faded into broken record territory. Anti-corruption is now their salient issue.
2. ECOLO are the party most likely to benefit from leftwing cdH voters unhappy with the new MR-cdH Walloon government.
3. They tend to do better in local and European elections because there is less responsibility attached and they tend to care about the urban planning, environment/ air pollution issues, etc
4. They are leading in Brussels-City polls for the moment; In Brussels local politics, there is the issue of mobility setbacks, and air pollution, as well as PS corruption.

Note for point 1 though that this poll was conducted before the revelations this week of a semi-prominent ECOLO member collecting a salary from an anti-nuclear power NGO when he had not worked for them for several years. Given ECOLO are also associated with a lot of these (ironically named) ASBL there might be more cases like this.


Another possibility, given that the last few Walloon/Brussels polls have been utterly all over the place, is that the pollster in question (who appears to be new to Belgian political polling) is just as hopeless as the rest of the Belgian polling industry and they're just being indulged by the media which traditionally doesn't understand how polls work and bigs up even the tiniest margin-of-error shift to a genuinely impressive degree.

But I digress.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 18, 2017, 06:00:23 pm
Welcome to the forum and to the thread :D. I'd also be skeptic about some of the polling in Wallonia-Brussels, the most striking example being the "PTB largest party" poll I posted which was apparently garbage that was supposed to grab headlines. Still I imagine most here understand the margin of errors that can make such dreams possible.

This one I just posted though was not conducted by newcomers? It was apparently done by a polling company that has been used by the VRT since 2002 (TNS Kantar). However, the francophone sample is brand new as RTBF/LaLibre are not using their previous samples for comparison, which may be why there is some degree of skepticism to be had.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 26, 2017, 03:56:40 pm
Nice "interactive" map of average incomes per commune as per RTBF's website.

https://www.rtbf.be/info/economie/detail_dans-quelles-communes-les-revenus-sont-ils-les-plus-hauts-notre-carte-interactive?id=9747388


I wrote a big update post but the main takes from this week are VLD breaking away from sp.a at Gent's local level in favour of N-VA, and the re-opening of the Brabant Killings case. Scary stuff.

EDIT : Oh and ECOLO have now been caught up with a similar corruption scandal to Publifin. Some elected official paid 25k for 8 "meetings" in a public-funded intercommunale.

Time to get rid of them all.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on November 15, 2017, 04:03:03 pm
Introduction to Brussels
 
()
 
Some news from here that might actually reach the press (other than harbouring the Catalan Premier - but that is a whole other can of worms). Riots in Brussels after Morocco qualified for the World Cup and in Place de La Monnaie today. Morroccan-Belgians rioted in the Bourse/Beurs square, and an apparently planned riot near Gare du Midi. While it doesn't have the scale of some previous events (the 2006 riots), it was in central Brussels and has opened policy windows on public security. And then of course there is the controversy over the mayor's response.    
 
The mayor of Brussels-City, Phillippe Close, has been criticised for his lack of response to the riots, apparently instructing the police not to engage. Close is a party apparatchik that inherited the mayoralty after the unpopular Yvan Mayeur was caught up in the SamuSocial scandal, where Mayeur was being paid 5 figure sums of federal-funded money for meetings that did not exist. SamuSocial is a homeless charity that he helped set up alongside Pascal Peraïta, another PS politician implicated in the scandal.  
 
()
 
 
Close's competences as mayor include the management of the police. Now, this is where we start to enter Brussels surrealism : the 19 communes all used to have their own police zones. I was indeed once mugged in Ixelles as a teenager. When I went to my police station, the answer was : "could have happened in Jette for all I care". Why? Because Belgian policing is funded based on how many crimes you rapport. The less crimes, the more funding you get. Start to see the problem?
 
 
At one point the Brussels political class did start to see the problem.  So they merged the police zones into 6, but not the communes. The Constitution still afforded the communes the same powers over policing. So now some policing matters are decided by several mayors in council with each other. Close however has the bulk of responsibility for his police zone, that is basically Brussels-city and Ixelles.
 
()
 
  
The 19 communes
So we get to the situation we have now : a regional government with an artificially bloated number of representatives due to the "Flemish" minority, along with 19 mayors, all with their own interests and massive egos, 6 police zones, and a myriad of "ASBL" charities like SamuSocial that operate as parallel public services. Brussels is an institutional mess.    
 
Why do the 19 communes exist in such a small metropolitan area? Simply because the political class in Brussels-region, like everywhere where such systems exist, use the communes as fiefdoms to clientelise their electorates. Some communes even have these neo-feudal family networks, where a name is enough to get you elected. There is also the communitarian aspect. You see, unlike the Brussels regional government, Flemish parties do not have a guaranteed amount of seats in the communal colleges (but do have executive influence). Thus, francophone parties see the communes as the last line of defence against Flemish encroachment over Brussels. Finally, richer/well managed communes mainly in the South East of Brussels do not want to subsidise the poorer communes, some of which are in severe debt.
 
 
What are the 2018 local elections going to be fought on if all stays the same? Governance reform, mobility and public security/immigration - fairly similar to what a federal election in Brussels is fought on. Thus, the tribunitien parties, the traditional party "rebels" that get put "down the list" and Flemish parties will all be looking to distinguish themselves from the traditional Brussels party apparatchiks like Clos.
 
The challengers
ECOLO-Groen and Défi already made a pact on governance reform in Brussels when that policy window shattered open in the summer, but you can expect Défi to want to maintain the 19 communes because of their clientelist networks and, it must be said, their good work in Auderghem and Schaerbeek benefiting them in federal and regional elections. They (ECOLO and Défi) are probably going to be the big winners in Brussels-city, that is currently governed by PS-MR. They'll also be looking to regain a foothold in the Canal communes (Molenbeek, Koekelberg, Anderlecht) where they have done poorly in the past few elections given their potential there.  This is how they looked in 2014
 
()
 
()
 
 
NB  You can really see the correlations the communal elections on their later federal scores for small parties. Watermael-Boistfort became ECOLO´s only mayorality, and FDF/Défi seem to only do well in places they have mayors.
 
 
PTB is also a potential force in Brussels, albeit a different character than in Wallonia. Brussels polls show PTB does particularly well with the high educated, low paid young voters. Unlike Wallonia, Brussels urban proletariat has by and large disappeared, so expect the bobo/alternative areas of Saint-Gilles - a major communist think-tank on its own- , Ixelles, Forest and parts of Schaerbeek as PTB places. The question is really how they can turn their federal profile into a local one in Brussels, where they are not as well implanted as in Liege.
 
()
 
 
cdH are mainly present in the North west. There's a high concentration of catholic schools, catholic educated and its just a traditional client-based relationship. But who knows what is going to happen to them, particularly in Brussels where their stance has been to oppose Lutgen´s coup against the PS. This north-west area is also home to the largest flemish-speaking minorities. So the Flemish parties tend to also do better here, getting up to 17% of the vote according to npdata.be :
 
()
 
Note however that Flemish parties are starting to be chosen by francophones. This phenomena started in 1999 when VB ran a francophone head of list on anti-immigration platform and secured a plurality in the Flemish college. Local elections should mean the phenomenon is harder to pull off this time round, but all the Flemish parties now know they have to appeal to the whole electorate, and must start now as there is not a better opportunity.
  
 
The end of PS-MR rule in the inner city-outer city?
For PS, it will be about holding on to what they have. Already the cracks started to show when they lost Molenbeek to MR after years of immigration mismanagement from Phillippe Moureaux, who initially was elected saying he would stop the numbers - only to end up encouraging them. Remember, this is the commune where not one but two major terrorist attacks were planned by Djihadis, and the Beavis and Butthead of the Lowlands' far right, Wilders and Dewinter, wanted to do an islamsafari last week. Molenbeek has some quite affluent districts though, that was enough to help MR over the line with an "anyone but PS" vote. PS may see their vote collapse though in non-suburban Brussels : Old Molenbeek, Brussels-city (old PS/sp.a strongholds Marolles and Daensart), Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, Anderlecht, inner Schaerbeek. This could be terminal for the establishment figures in Brussels PS.    
 
()
 
MR will no doubt duke it out with Défi in their traditional richer, heavily francophone communes in the South East, as well as upper Brussels-city, the right half of the Hexagone that forms the medieval town.
 
()
 
 Although, as it should be noted, every commune in Brussels seems to have its own story, its own personal grudges and gentlemen's agreement. Even the Brussels party federations often cannot control what goes on in their local branches, at all. So, I will wait until the lists are published and the campaign starts to do a full profile of each commune. Hopefully I have confused you enough to get a feel of Brussels politics.
 
All maps from npdata.be For the Dutch speakers, its worth checking out his post on Brussels after the 2014 election and his post on how the immigrant vote will count double in communal election :
 
http://www.npdata.be/BuG/227-Verkiezingen-2014-2/Verkiezingen-2014-2.htm
 
http://www.npdata.be/BuG/372-Verkiezingen/Verkiezingen.htm
 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: ¢®🅰ß 🦀 ©@k€ 🎂 on November 15, 2017, 07:46:59 pm
Aren't there a handful of Muslim parties in Brussels?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on November 16, 2017, 03:46:58 am
Aren't there a handful of Muslim parties in Brussels?

One to my knowledge, the ISLAM party, which had 1 councillor elected in Anderlecht and 1 in Molenbeek in the last locals. It garnered 2% overall in Brussels last federal election. There has also been a bunch of parties relating to islamic community interests in the past, one amusingly called PCP, and another that the PTB, back when it was a Stalinist sect, allied itself too and lost half its councillors. There is also a DENK equivalent in Flanders now led by an ex-sp.a member, they might have a run at the Flemish college in Brussels where it would be easier to get elected.  

However, what you do find is a lot of local party branches try to pander to more religious driven groups by being very lax on issues such as freedom of religion (animal welfare, for example). ECOLO is Brussels suffered the two defections I mentioned because they thought that the party was going too far into a defence of the Islamic community rather than sticking to their core values. Specific wings and local branches of the PS and cdH have also been guilty of this for some time now. But it varies from commune to commune.

With regards to the riots though (I am not saying you are linking Islam to this, but I can imagine some inevitably will), the first one seems to be linked to a Belgian-Morrocan rapper calling on his local fanbase to go wild*, and the second one was because some French snapchatter comedian asked people to come "put the fire"* with him at Monnaie. A group of 12-15 year olds turned out in numbers and reacted badly to the police being there after Saturday.  In this case, and the case of the Borgerhout troubles in Antwerp it has little directly to do with the Islamic issue and more to do with specific micro-level communities in the cities (the plurality of which are Belgian nationals whose parents are from rural Morrocco with no education and even less qualified to be parents, that bring their kids up in bubbles).  

*The way they phrase it in French slang makes it ambiguous as to whether they mean violence or just going wild (as in to party). In the case of the rapper its probably the former, the comedian the latter.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 02, 2017, 07:00:11 am
A few developments.

Corruption in Antwerp
The N-VA are now facing their own corruption scandal in Antwerp. Basically, their ties to a construction company were just a little too tight. De Wever is at the centre of it, with him and his entire team attending a birthday banquet of a leading constructor in Antwerp, who as it turns out had one of their employees become a member of De Wever's staff, just as De Wever waved through a plan for a high rise that said employee designed, and would technically be illegal.

The sp.a leader in Antwerp came out with an editorial criticising what he called "immocratie" at the local level in Antwerp : the proximity of the relationships between the construction sites and the mayors who approve the urban planning is much too close.  This applies to much of Belgium local politics though, a lot of stuff gets done through "pots de vins" lobbying - nice expensive gifts - and a revolving door to put your mates from the private sector in positions of power.
   
PS realignment
The PS needed positive headlines so they decided to converge and have a discussion over politics rather than personal feuds. The result was a conference where they set out 170 policy propositions as part of their shift towards the economic left (they are preparing for opposition). You can read them here in French : https://les170engagements.squarespace.com/

More interesting that their vague promises is the fact that some provincial branches of the PS are now starting to fall back on its previous regionalist identity, just as its Brussels wing (who are obviously opposed to this) are in disarray after Onkelinx's departure.  


Communitarian violence turns into communitarian squabbling
Finally, the fallout of the riots has been that the Flemish parties are now seizing the policy window opening to propose the fusion of the communes, and at the same time reignite the communitarian flames over Brussels. It is being increasingly suggested that as part of a state reform there should be police zone and commune mergers in Brussels while simultaneously asking for a scission of the justice system between Brussels and its periphery due to the overload of cases. This of course will reignite the periphery debate that plagued the 2007-2012 political crisis.

sp.a have already started their Brussels campaign on reforming the mess, while the N-VA are also getting into election mode for Brussels as a way to divert from Antwerp. They have already indicated that they will not enter any regional government that doesn't address the commune system. It’s a bad strategic move from the Flemish parties and particularly the N-VA IMO for two reasons : one, it entrenches the francophone parties, that, although hated just as much by the Brussels population, can regroup if they present the debate as "Brussels being governed by N-VA and friends vs Brussels being governed by us".

Two, by radicalising itself and by standing just before local elections on institutional matters, N-VA is actually harming Flemish party representation more than helping it. In heavily francophone Auderghem, for example, where Didier Gosuin's Défi has an absolute majority, the "Samen" party for the Flemish only just reached the threshold to obtain a seat, and Gosuin allowed them to obtain a place on the CPAS/OCMW (public assistance) board. If the N-VA syphons votes from the Dutch-speaking cartels across Brussels, while these continue to ask for a commune merger, all of the Flemish parties will be personae non grata to the francophone parties. Only Groen now, who adopted the sensible tactic of forming a bilingual list with ECOLO, are not in danger of being excluded from local executives and majorities.  


Taxation in Belgium

A little post I wrote a few weeks back on a recent diplomatic squabble with our Northern noisy neighbours, over Mark Rutte's "Belgian has no multinationals left" claim.

While Belgium has quite high income tax for top brackets of labour income, its taxation on sitting capital is notoriously low, thus attracting a sizeable population of French and Dutch tax exiles, but as Dutch PM Mark Rutte pointed out (only in a ridiculous manner), its taxation policy on mobile capital (such as dividends tax) means it has lost out to its neighbour somewhat. Then again, Rutte maybe needs reminding that its easier to provide high quality public services and low taxation if you have natural gas reserves.  

Anyway, the federal government set out to reform this and make multinationals more open to coming in Belgium, but also some relaxation on labour income tax for employees, so as to not look like total corporate whores. However, It has emerged that the taxpayer will only benefit 30-50 euros per month to the average household, a somewhat underwhelming figure. This is because the economically liberal parties in government have now realised that tax cuts on labour income and tackling the budget deficit are incompatible policies when Belgium already has one of the highest public debt-to-GDP in the Eurozone. The only way to fund a tax cut was to shift the income tax from employment to idle capital, hence the tax shift.

 So the issue with the tax shift from the economic Left's perspective is that it is mainly benefiting big multinationals rather than the employees themselves, and that money might simply benefit shareholders rather than create jobs. On the other hand, the federal government has made some interesting incentives for job creation, particular if you're just entering the labour market. They've effectively managed to preserve a reasonable income for graduate jobs compared to the more Wild West zero-hour countries, in exchange for tax breaks on the first employee hired.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 10, 2017, 05:31:19 am
New polls are out and they are largely similar.

VB are up and sp.a are melting away in Flanders.

The ECOLO surge is a little down, epsecially in Brussels, and there is too much volatility in Wallonia-Brux to make any solid conclusion. N-VA look likely to dominate the Dutch electoral college in Brussels, although I think this is a reaction to the riots. MR have also lost top spot due to the mismanagement of several dossiers including the "Eurostadium".

Small parties actually make a staggering 11% in Bxl and 13% in Wallonia but the pollsters still don't want to take notice.

More interestingly, Delwit has released this as a potential seat distribution.

()

Note how the small party surge doesn't translate to seats, because, like white votes, if they don't meet the threshold they are discounted altogether, benefiting the larger parties.

We would probably end up with another right-wing "Swedish" coalition with cdH outside support, even though this party has again clearly indicated it is not comfortable governing with the N-VA.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: tack50 on December 12, 2017, 06:17:17 pm
Not sure how relevant this is, but according to polls Belgians don't seem to care much about the Catalan issue even with Catalan regional president "exiled" there. Other than that you get Flanders being more sympathetic, probably as expected, and Belgians overall siding with Spain, but specially not knowing much (without opinion is the real winner).

Dans la crise catalane, soutenez-vous la position du gouvernement espagnol ou de Puigdemont ?

()

()

()

http://www.lesoir.be/128952/article/2017-12-12/grand-barometre-les-belges-peu-seduits-par-le-projet-catalan


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 13, 2017, 06:46:20 am
Its both an indication as to how sedentary and provincial-minded the political culture still is in Belgium, and why the N-VA claimed to have abandoned state reform : people don't care as much as they did.

So, while there is a lot of bleeding heart sympathy for the "poor Catalans vs the Francoist police" (we are also a separatist state after all, and even our capital has a peripheral inferiority complex), it will never go as far as to actively mobilise for a revision of Europe's borders, because most people don't have that political animal within them, and the others are diehard Flemish nationalists who have a different conception of how to go about state breakup.

Flemish nationalism is a top-down elite-driven, gradualist operation that, in the words of both Yves Leterme and De Wever, strives for a situation where one day Belgians wake up to find that Belgium no longer exists, but do not notice it in their everyday life.  Its telling that the Catalan nationalists managed to mobilise 45.000 people in the freezing rain and wind in the "Flemish capital", when the Flemish national movement has barely ever mustered a single mass demo at the height of the political crises here in Belgium.

Contrast that with the Catalan nationalist bottom-up fervor for an electoral exercise to determine independence, a subsequent declaration and a "Day of Independence" for them to celebrate. This may partially have to do with the fact that the only way for Catalan nationalists to change the Statute is to either have a supermajority in the parliament (nigh-impossible) or, as they are trying to do now, force constitutional change via such a demonstration of political will. Flemish parties will always have a much greater say in the political future of their region, and thus prefer to bide their time. But Catalan nationalism is much more revolutionary.


Federal government crisis over energy accords
Anyway, the N-VA has rejected the plan drawn up by the four energy ministers of Belgium (yes, Belgium has 4 energy ministers, 5 if you include the EU Commissioner).

For the moment, a large part of Belgium´s energy mix originates from their two nuclear power plants in Flanders (Doel, where there is also an abandoned town for those who like Urbex) and in Wallonia (Tihange). The latter in particular has been a source of great political controversy, since environmental lobby groups from across the Euroregion it is based in (Aachen, Dutch and Belgian Limburg, Ostbelgien*, and to a lesser extent Liège-Province) believe that it is a security risk, and want it shut down immediately. This could also explain the pretty staggering results for ECOLO in OstBelgien. Just a quick glance at the Belgian energy mix shows that immediate shut-down is unrealistic.  

()
(in the pie chart, pink is nuclear, green is renewable, red is gas, coal is black and at a measly 2%)
source : IEA

N-VA have historically opposed the plan drawn up when the Greens were in power under Verhofstadt I, that is to phase out nuclear in the medium term. The current timetable has Nuclear being phased out by 2025, and the N-VA believe this target is unrealistic without a price hike and potential shortages (which I am inclined to agree with), especially as diesel-powered central heating will also be illegal by then.

However, the uncertainty that the N-VA causes by having a "flexible timetable" on nuclear power means that renewable energy investors are reluctant to enter the Belgian energy market. And with all the francophone parties coming out with their own brand of "eco-socialism/humanism/liberalism", it’s essentially a dig at them and Groen by claiming that their intention is to put more euros on the end of month energy bill.  

EDIT : and here is a NYT article explaining the corruption found in the energy sector and the power of the nuclear lobby.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/12/world/europe/belgium-electricity.html

*This is the term the German-speaking cantons want to be referred as from now on. Bless them.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 15, 2017, 10:57:52 am
https://www.politico.eu/article/pascal-smet-brussels-is-like-a-whore-says-minister/


Controversial Brussels mobility Minister Pascal Smet is under pressure to resign after comparing the city to a "whore" and saying the leadership (presumably his own cabinet colleagues) are "dinosaurs". This comes after Juncker singled out Brussels as the only capital he knew that wasn't liked by other citizens in the country. (Who is going to tell him about "ach Berlin", Michel Onfray, Lega Nord, the Catalan crisis, etc?).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 16, 2017, 11:06:16 am
Looks like ex-PM Di Rupo is on the brink of losing the PS leadership before he could lead them to electoral defeat, after a prominent Solidaris member (Socialist mutuality) called for him to step down and Thierry Bodson, the head, agreed (without being explicit because he can't be seen to be interfering).

The contest will most likely be between Paul Magnette and, I predict, Jean-Claude Marcourt. The former is in the Hainaut PS, has a very left-wing program and experience as head of the Walloon government. His main problem is he doesn't get on with the "labour aristrocracy" that controls the PS. The latter is more of a "liberal socialist", an architect of Liège-style Belursconism but is good mates with the union leaders, the press and the private actors so he has this on his side. He will inevitably be linked to the Publifin scandal but he's always managed to present the Liège PS as the Calimero of the PS organism, so may get support from the PS branches who think the Hainaut PS is too dominant (they seem to always take the big portfolios).



In Gent, N-VA have demoted well known figure Siegfried Bracke, to the bottom of the list. He is a popular ex-TV journalist who is President of the Lower Chamber but he got caught with his hand in the sweet jar when it emerged he was being paid a 5 figure sum to sit on the board of Telenet while the House he presided was trying to regulate the telecoms industry (which is a partially state-run duopoly in Belgium, and most politicians have shares in them somehow). His demotion in Gent seems to be because N-VA have a bit of an identity crisis there. sp.a should hold on to this commune, with a popular mayor in Daniel Termont, but have suffered from small scandals and too close proximity with construction companies (to build their shiny new fishbowl they call a stadium for example). Instead, some are looking more towards VLD's shiny young product Matthias DeClerq. Both he and Termont are looking to secure CD&V suport for a mayoral bid.

()

Polls for Gent here : https://www.hln.be/nieuws/binnenland/peiling-gent-winst-voor-open-vld-socialisten-zien-af~a923c968/


In Mechelen (Malines in French), equally popular mayor Bart Somers (Open Vld) launched his stadslijst with Groen leader Kristoff Calvo. Somers was awarded prizes for his work in turning Mechelen into a grubby commuterzone to Antwerp with communitarian problems to a charming Flemish town. Journalists have noted how his cartel with groen is similarly themed to the Samen one in Antwerp : similar colours, emphasis on grassroots social movements, ecology, etc. He'll be up against an sp.a led by Caroline Gennez and the N-VA, but he should hold on easily with Calvo in support :  

()

Also, PP leader Mikael Modrikamen has been allegedly caught misusing European funds. He claims its a political hit-job by the establishment.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on December 23, 2017, 06:59:56 am
Immigration and Asylum minister Theo Francken (N-VA) is under pressure to resign after he co-operated with the Sudanese secret service to deport Sudanese migrants trying to get to the UK. It turns out that some of these people ended up being tortured. Not only did his ministry not go through the correct procedures to ensure no torture would be used against the migrants, it was up to PM Charles Michel to assure the annoyed parliament that "no deportations to Sudan will happen until the end of January, so that we will have cleared up the facts of the case"

Francken took issue with this and on Flemish media he claimed he was made a scapegoat from the PM because "no deportations to Sudan were planned for January anyway", essentially calling Michel a liar when he is the one who fed this information to the PM. It turns out that there were deportations planned, and that he essentially both withheld information from the PM and lied to the Flemish media to cover his ass.

Francken probably feels untouchable though, and the N-VA know this, so they are defending him tooth and nail. He has apologised but MR do not seem to be as bothered as the two "rivals" of the N-VA, CD&V and Open VLD, who want Francken gone for withholding information. If you want to know why MR are/were not considered a serious alternative to PS in Wallonia, this episode illustrates exactly why : they often come across as lightweight (especially compared to "characters" in the PS) and only interested in their tax returns over any kind of values. Even when their PM is dumped into excrement they'd rather keep it quiet.

This was the kind of thing that would collapse a government 10 years ago but I doubt the parties can afford to do this for various reasons.

Merry Xmas.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on January 09, 2018, 06:32:09 am
Michel dumped into further excrement by his coalition partner. De Wever, who said that if the majority wanted Theo Francken gone the N-VA would withdraw from said majority. CD&V are the most vocal government opponent with regards to Francken staying on, with Hermann Van Rompuy's brother calling Michel a "puppet" (a slur usually only used by Michel's francophone opponents). Their president Wouter Beke was quick to put the flames out, but the damage is done.

This explicit threat seems to point towards the N-VA wanting to collapse the government early. After all, if they focus the theme of the election on immigration it should be an easy win for them, and they would be able to combine this with the locals too. They already know that regionalist aspirations are dying (see : Catalonia) and the corruption scandals in Antwerp are handily shelved too.

For Michel it’s a massive blow as it confirms the theories his opposite numbers in Francophone Belgium have been saying from the start of the Swedish Coalition. And now he is in the media forced to defend the N-VA's program rather than his own. But the Flemish nationalists may have missed a trick here : MR are the only ally they have on the other side of the linguistic divide. Weakening them may "block" the state, but history shows that if you are Machiavellian enough to deliberately block Belgian institutions it can backfire (just ask Alex De Croo, or Joelle Milquet). N-VA though have a much bigger "siege mentality" and the personality cult around Theo Francken and De Wever is strong.

Meanwhile, let's remember that the origin of all this is human beings being delivered to torture tables...something that goes completely over the head of the same electorate that once had Vlaams Belang as their 2nd party I guess.

I'll be adding a profile of the electorates in 2014 to my previous party profiles, based on a "stemgedrag" I found in the KU Leuven and UC Louvain, followed by the state of parties going into 2018 election year and with what demographics they can realistically make progress electorally.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on January 17, 2018, 07:43:05 am
The Samen cartel in Antwerp has split following a corruption case against sp.a's leading figure on the list, the same guy who was on texting terms with the construction company lobbyist who worked for De Wever. One happy family up there.

One of the more ridiculous decisions I have ever seen from Groen was the creation of that cartel. I make it a point that if the Greens in any country, let alone Belgium, want votes they should disassociate themselves from any so-called social-democratic party until after an election.

Still a long way to go but the nationalists and De Wever look safe in Antwerp for now. 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Heat on January 19, 2018, 02:08:19 pm
The Samen cartel in Antwerp has split following a corruption case against sp.a's leading figure on the list, the same guy who was on texting terms with the construction company lobbyist who worked for De Wever. One happy family up there.

One of the more ridiculous decisions I have ever seen from Groen was the creation of that cartel. I make it a point that if the Greens in any country, let alone Belgium, want votes they should disassociate themselves from any so-called social-democratic party until after an election.

Still a long way to go but the nationalists and De Wever look safe in Antwerp for now. 
I regret to inform you that Paul Magnette has chosen to open his mouth on this topic.

http://www.lesoir.be/134719/article/2018-01-18/paul-magnette-les-wallons-sont-de-petits-arnaqueurs-en-comparaison-avec-la


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on January 20, 2018, 08:43:39 am
The Samen cartel in Antwerp has split following a corruption case against sp.a's leading figure on the list, the same guy who was on texting terms with the construction company lobbyist who worked for De Wever. One happy family up there.

One of the more ridiculous decisions I have ever seen from Groen was the creation of that cartel. I make it a point that if the Greens in any country, let alone Belgium, want votes they should disassociate themselves from any so-called social-democratic party until after an election.

Still a long way to go but the nationalists and De Wever look safe in Antwerp for now.  
I regret to inform you that Paul Magnette has chosen to open his mouth on this topic.

http://www.lesoir.be/134719/article/2018-01-18/paul-magnette-les-wallons-sont-de-petits-arnaqueurs-en-comparaison-avec-la

The return to communitarian politics after being the so called defenders of Belgian integrity during the political crisis is really the most worrying thing about this behemoth of an excuse of a "social democratic, internationalist" party. But then what to expect from a party that had Happart, Van Cau, Moureaux and other regionalists. I did expect better of Magnette though.

Anyway, some funny developments in Mons/Bergen, an old provincial city in Hainaut nearby the NATO SHAPE headquarters, and deeply divided. Here, former PM Elio Di Rupo has had a fairly strong power base for 20 years now. Its at the heart of the coal mining Borinage region. But Mons itself has been slowly trending towards the right over local issues, including the new train station, seen as a vanity project. Di Rupo formed a coalition with MR, but found the latter's rising Reyndersien star there Georges-Louis Bouchez to be too disruptive and kicked MR out of the majority, taking cdH instead.

Fast forward to this week and now cdH's own rising student star in Mons, Opaline Meunier. announced that she would present herself on Georges-Louis Bouchez's list Mons en Mieux without changing party affiliation. This is despite a vote by the local cdH branch to forbid any association with the list until after the election. Lutgen, the party president, who is seen more and more as powerless due to how the Brussels cdH did not follow his lead, has kept just as quiet about this, despite calls to kick her out.

This fight is an interesting one because it will be generational as much as left-right. Mons is a changing city, its modernising itself, getting more students and it has quite a clear geographical split between the "new" city and the "old", with one.
What's more a loss for the PS here, seemingly unthinkable a few years ago, would spell the end of Di Rupo and his faction's chances in the nation-wide PS altogether. Their vote share also largely depends on how ECOLO do with left-wing students and more progressive left-wing voters.



In Liege-city, ECOLO, Demain, another citizen's movement and the Pirate Party have decided to present a single list called "Vert Ardent" (Liege is commonly known as "Cité Ardente"). Remains to be seen whether they can get a strong head of list to compete with PTB's Hedebouw.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on March 10, 2018, 06:03:29 am
Bumpity-bump with some really insignificant polls given the margins of error. 

Wallonia :



()

PS back on the rise but here is the margin of error

()

Flanders



()


Brussels



()

 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on September 06, 2018, 03:01:51 pm
Quite the scandal in Belgium at the moment: the identitarian Flemish nationalist youth movement Schild en Vrienden, which received quite some press over the course of the last months with as high point a meeting between their leader Dries Van Langenhove and Viktor Orbán, was the subject of a documentary by the Belgian public broadcaster. S&V tended to present themselves as a highly respectable "metapolitical" movement aimed at strengthening the Flemish youth and instilling them with conservative family values. However, the Belgian public broadcaster had been given access to their secret Discord server, in which highly racist, antisemitic, violent and pro-Nazi messages and memes were shared, alongside the intention to make a "long march through the institutions". A number of members had high-ranking positions on certain boards, and others were local candidates for the N-VA in the upcoming election in October. All political parties have distanced themselves from S&V, the N-VA have sacked almost all candidates who were S&V members, and leader Van Langenhove was expelled from Ghent University.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 06, 2018, 06:16:11 pm
There was a report on their militant actions some months ago, plus their violence in Ghent. And a very strange case particularly related to an ultra-Catholic school in the Brussels periphery. That this blows up now is surprising to me. This was always an open secret. And at the same time S&V are a laughing stock compared to the old 80s Flemish nationalist youth movements, that were bona fide Nazi cultists from very deprived backgrounds, very present in football hooliganism and shooting ranges. In contrast S&V are boy scouts with a bit of edge.

Still, people who are part of the old Volksunie guard knew S&V were a scandal waiting to happen within the N-VA. Given that S&V acted as Theo Franckens personal security at his events, my tinfoiled laden conspiracy is that the leading figures in the party, including perhaps De Wever, Saw that Franckens approval ratings transcended the party. They then wanted a bigger "dossier" to leak to the VRT, in order to get out what is undoubtedly one of the traditional Volksunie nationalists biggest pet peeve in their own movement: the revisionist far right. Francken's political capital is definitely harmed by this. I can't see the N-VA's electoral score changing as much though.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 07, 2018, 04:59:36 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on September 07, 2018, 05:27:19 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 07, 2018, 07:31:52 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...
Which controversial thing did I say?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Heat on September 07, 2018, 07:43:28 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...
Which controversial thing did I say?
It's not controversial at all, that's the point. At this point you are simply boring.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 07, 2018, 07:45:11 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...
Which controversial thing did I say?
It's not controversial at all, that's the point. At this point you are simply boring.
Well, fortunately I'm not posting here to please particular posters. So if you find me boring I invite you to either put me on ignore or to kindly **** off


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Heat on September 07, 2018, 08:01:19 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...
Which controversial thing did I say?
It's not controversial at all, that's the point. At this point you are simply boring.
Well, fortunately I'm not posting here to please particular posters. So if you find me boring I invite you to either put me on ignore or to kindly **** off
Si seulement tu étais capable de plaire à quoi qui que ce soit. Je suis vraiment désolé que tu n'as pas eu assez d'attention de la part de tes parents, et je vais suivre ton conseil. :)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 07, 2018, 08:09:57 pm
When will Belgium split? This country never made any sense to me. The best would be to partition it between the Netherlands and France.
See, this is why people don't like the French...
Which controversial thing did I say?
It's not controversial at all, that's the point. At this point you are simply boring.
Well, fortunately I'm not posting here to please particular posters. So if you find me boring I invite you to either put me on ignore or to kindly **** off
Si seulement tu étais capable de plaire à quoi qui que ce soit. Je suis vraiment désolé que tu n'as pas eu assez d'attention de la part de tes parents, et je vais suivre ton conseil. :)
Honestly I find this personal attack quite petty but that obviously doesn't affect me.
Just a remark, "quoi qui ce soit" is inaccurate, "qui que ce soit" is the appropriate version.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on September 08, 2018, 05:43:07 am
Well, um, I was going to make a tongue in cheek point about how the French think that they basically own the whole of la francophonie but, uh..

Anyway, the principle point is that most Belgiums actually feel Belgian, and afaik there is actually a tendency towards accepting more refederalisation by the Flemmish at the moment; where even segments of CD&V are starting to be open to the idea


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 08, 2018, 05:53:06 am
Well, um, I was going to make a tongue in cheek point about how the French think that they basically own the whole of la francophonie but, uh..

Anyway, the principle point is that most Belgiums actually feel Belgian, and afaik there is actually a tendency towards accepting more refederalisation by the Flemmish at the moment; where even segments of CD&V are starting to be open to the idea
Belgium's creation history isn't based on nationalism but based on the English wanting to keep Antverp out of French control. It's 2 completely different areas, one composed by francophones who gives often high scores for socialists and farleftists parties, and the other by dutch speaking who vote in high margins for conservative parties.
The existence of Belgium is literally similar to the previous country of Tchekoslovaquia. I believe the best is to simply split up this realm into 2 areas with both of them choosing to either join France/Netherlands or remaining independent.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: parochial boy on September 08, 2018, 06:42:36 am
Plenty of countries are artificial creations made to suit elites; which is part of the reason why nationalism is a scourge - but it doesn't mean Belgium is less of a real country than any other


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on September 08, 2018, 08:26:08 am
Plenty of countries are artificial creations made to suit elites; which is part of the reason why nationalism is a scourge - but it doesn't mean Belgium is less of a real country than any other
It is less of a real country than others like France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.

But yes, other countries' borders should have their borders fixed like Iraq for example.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 08, 2018, 10:11:08 am
Yeah, got to agree with Heat there. its not offensive at all, just boring debate at this point. Even a Flamingant rolls their eyes at that overused fantasy/joke.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 13, 2018, 05:55:35 am
Stunning start to the local election campaigns across the board. In the fall out of the VRT documentary over their very own Sturmabteilung several N-VA candidates already taken off lists for racial slurs (one in Brussels-city for complaining about ''negro music'' outside his house) in order to clean the image of the party.

The best drama though is in Bastogne where Benoit Lutgen's absolute majority is under threat by...his brother, successful businessman Jean-Pierre Lutgen, who has managed to unite all the other major parties for a common list against the under pressure cdH president. Another great detail, Belgian local electoral law means they can't even sit in the same communal council should they both receive enough votes, meaning a winner takes all scenario. And now there are accusations of criminal records, and Défi having to review their strict policy of not supporting any candidate with one.

This could be the biggest political casualty of the election.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 17, 2018, 11:41:15 pm
In a month, we have elections: mayoral and provincal elections... Next year in spring, we have European, regional and federal elections, so lots of elections upcoming in Belgium (almost all of them in the next 9 months, looking forward to it).

I expect in general N-VA (nationalists) will keep their lead (and grow in local elections). CD&V will lose in local elections, and possibly a bit in the elections next year as well. The social democrats will lose heavily both in local elections and elections next year... The Greens will do well. The PVDA-PTB will also gain ground in both elections. The far-right / populist party (Vlaams Belang) will also gain votes. Liberal party will be status-quo (possibly making slight gains in local elections, and losing slightly in federal elections next year).

In french-speaking Belgium, the far-left and greens will win votes. Far-right / populist (but not sure what political party exactly) and Défi will also win votes. French-speaking liberals will be status-quo. French-speaking social democrats will lose bigly. French-speaking christian democrats will also lose heavily.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 17, 2018, 11:53:04 pm
Why is the Worker's Party doing so well in Wallonia as they seem way out on the left.  I am not an expert on Belgian politics, but would it be fair to say Flanders leans right and Wallonia leans left as it seems the left tends to win big there and right big in Flanders.  Mind you the Christian Democrats seem fairly centrist so not sure if you would call the CDH or CD&V as right wing parties and likewise Open VLD and Reformist Movement are labeled centre-right, but they same like Belgium's version of the Democrats of the US, Liberal Party of Canada, or Liberal Democrats of UK in terms of where they stand on the political spectrum as opposed to a more market liberal party like the VVD in the Netherlands.  Otherwise correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding is they are more like the D66 than VVD.  Also with the Worker's Party doing well any particular reason or is like France with Melenchon and UK with Corbyn you have a lot of dissatisfied younger voters who are attracted to hard left policies without fully understanding them.  Anyone know?

I'm a Worker's Party voter myself and active in the local party organization (so i might be biased), but there are a few reasons... Many people are disappointed by what social democrat parties have done. They've been involved in a lot of corruption scandals, while lots of social democrats also aren't really socialist anymore, leaving space on their left flank to be exploited. In Flanders mostly by exploited by the Greens and in Wallonie where there is much more space, the PVDA-PTB.

Wallonia is left-leaning, is quite socialist, because it's a poor region compared to the much richer Flanders, and there is increasing polarization between people in Flanders mostly voting right-wing and people in Wallonia voting left-wing, resulting in people who don't want to vote for both the right-wing (which is seen as favouring Flanders, supporting the current government, which has high approval ratings there, because only the right-wing french-speaking liberal party participates in it) and for social democrats (which were involved in a lot of corruption scandals and are being seen as greedy for power). The Worker's Party however did really some good opposition work which could be credited for removing the (asocial) Turteltaks. And is also opposed to raising the retirement age. Many french-speaking belgians also don't see an alternative and vote Worker's Party as a protest vote, because they've lost trust in the social democratic party, and won't vote. PVDA also has some strong politicians which are popular in french-speaking Belgium. Especially the region of Liege seems to have shifted a lot to the Worker's Party (Seraing, Herstal, Liege and to a lesser extent cities like Verviers).

- The Christian Democratic Party is also seen as greedy for power, as flip-flopping on the issues too much, and as possibly participating in the next right-wing government.
- Défi has gain votes as well, which could be seen as a more french-speaking regionalist party, which  represents the french-speaking population better and is liberal. (they've gained a lot of support, esp. in regions like Brussels as well).
- French-speaking Greens are another alternative and have won some votes as well.
- Pollings might underestimate or trouble estimating the chances of populist parties in french-speaking Belgium, but they might win some votes as well.

-> CD&V is on social issues centre-right and on economic issues centre-left
-> Open VLD is on social issues centre-left and on economic issues centre-right, and imo even have shifted to right-wing.
Both parties would mostly be Democratic yes. Even some voters of N-VA (Nationalist) would probably vote Democratic in the USA. The N-VA didn't want to endorse both Clinton or Trump in the elections. All other parties endorsed Clinton, except for the far-right which supported Trump, and the far-left supported Sanders, and opposed both Clinton and Trump.

Open VLD is a combination of D66 and VVD but imo leaning towards VVD. Lots of people who would vote for D66 in the Netherlands would vote Green i believe.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 18, 2018, 12:02:13 am
Plenty of countries are artificial creations made to suit elites; which is part of the reason why nationalism is a scourge - but it doesn't mean Belgium is less of a real country than any other
It is less of a real country than others like France, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.

But yes, other countries' borders should have their borders fixed like Iraq for example.

I disagree... I believe only 10% is supportive of Flemish independence. More support status-quo or confederalism though. Most people though feel Belgian, and not Flemish in the first place. The performance of our national football team on the world cup football increased our national unity as well. As long, we have a good national football team, independence isn't going to be an issue, and most people have seen that radical political stances aren't always good, as we've seen with Trump and Brexit, so i think that many undecided people or insecure people would eventually not vote for Flemish independence.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 18, 2018, 08:49:44 am
Welcome to the forum, Lakigigar! Thank you for the posts.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 19, 2018, 10:18:31 am
Some new pollings in northeastern Dutch-speaking province of Limburg for the mayoral elections.

Hasselt (13th largest city of Belgium, largest of Limburg)

()

N-VA (Nationalist) - 28,8% (+3,3%)
Red-Green (socialist / green cartel) - 24,3% (-8,7%)
CD&V (christian democratic) - 21,6% (-1,1%)
Flemish interest (far-right / nationalist) - 8,2% (+2,4%)
Open VLD (right-wing liberal) - 7,8% (-2,1%)
PVDA (far-left) - 6,8% (NEW)
Others - 1,3%
15% undecided
Leefbaar Hasselt has suspended their campaign meanwhile.

Genk (18th largest city of Belgium, 2nd largest of Limburg)

()

CD&V (christian democratic) - 29,2% (-11,8%)
N-VA (nationalist) - 25,5% (+7,3%)
ProGenk (socialist) - 13,1% (cartel with greens had 16,77% in 2012)
Flemish Interest (far-right / nationalist) - 10% (+0,7%)
PVDA (far-left) - 8,4% (-0,4%)
Greens - 7,5% (cartel with socialists had 16,77% in 2012)
Open Genk (right-wing liberals) - 4% (-0,4%)
A local list - 2,4% (+0,9%)
15% undecided


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on September 21, 2018, 12:06:16 pm
Welcome, Lakigigar, and thank you for your contributions! Always eager to learn more about the neighbors' politics.

Can you (and/or Rogier) help me understand MR better? Are they generally to the right of Open VLD? Is it just generally middle-class people who vote for them? To what extent do Walloon and Flemish socialists, Christian Democrats and liberals coordinate their actions?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 22, 2018, 06:16:05 am
Welcome, Lakigigar, and thank you for your contributions! Always eager to learn more about the neighbors' politics.

Can you (and/or Rogier) help me understand MR better? Are they generally to the right of Open VLD? Is it just generally middle-class people who vote for them? To what extent do Walloon and Flemish socialists, Christian Democrats and liberals coordinate their actions?

On this subject (although this dates from a few months ago, but still after my post on them)

http://www.lalibre.be/actu/politique-belge/willy-borsus-pas-de-place-en-belgique-pour-ceux-qui-combattent-nos-valeurs-5ad03df7cd709bfa6b55ee09

(Walloon Premier Willy Borsus, basically saying no place for people in Belgium for people who don't share our values)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_chastel-mon-liberalisme-n-a-pas-besoin-du-mot-social?id=9335382

(MR president Chastel dropping the social liberal line from the 2000s)

This is a pretty clear indication that the MR is slowly starting to swing to the right with the immigration debate in full force in Belgium (I talked about how they opened their lists to certain hard right figures, but this was rarely adopted at leadership level until now). But they cannot be described as right-wing compared to the the Flemish right-wing parties in media rhetoric, etc.

The DNA of that party, given that FDF is gone and MCC is a one man clown act, is a successor party of the PRL that defended the Liberal pillar, and all its associated civil society and economic actors for a good part of a century. Note that the Liberal pillar (like many liberal parties/actors in central/nordic Europe) was not based on a classical liberal ideology but a defence of bourgeois and independent classes and a commitment to secularisation of the state.

As a certain political scientist Paul Magnette wrote, there is a key difference in modus operandi between parties that are the patriciens parties (derived from the pillars) who use a quasi-clientelist arrangement with their different constituencies, largely based on syndicalised professional classes, and on the other hand you have tribunitiens parties like Défi/FDF and ECOLO that have no solid base outside where they have popular mayors but rely on a plural group of civil society actors to counter specific issues such as Flemish nationalism, corruption, ecology, etc. (and you also have testimonial parties like PTB-PVDA or Vlaams Belang/PP who try to influence the general federal debate by veering it one way or another). Power is essential to the patricien parties in order to protect the privileges of their class and civil society actors at the social dialogue level from the threat, more so than ideological consistency or even debates such as the levels of migration.

While MR are not as bad as the Christian pillar in litteraly defending the interests of their pillar above all ideology/principle, (as demonstrated by the Arco scandal), as a light patricien party they are still fundamentally reliant on their lifelong voters from civil society actors based on class/profession, and then only in a second measure on culturally right-wing voters interested in politics who might be tempted by anti-immigration or whatever. For them, thus, having some measure of power in the social dialogue to defend their class's priviledges is all they need, not an engagement in existential debates about European identity or immigration that could prove costly*.

Because of the nature of Flemish society, Flemish political and economic modernisation in the 1990s and the VB then N-VA rising, Open VLD had to compete on some areas there, as did all the other parties. Nevertheless, your affiliated healthcare mutual and union is still the key predictor of how you vote in Flanders (see KUL stemgedrag). Its just the nature of Flemish society has more "independents", or white collar workers not affiliated to trade unions, and thus less of a class/profession divide in political debate. Nevertheless, Wallonia is also slowly moving towards the political revolution Flanders saw at the turn of the millenium.  

Brussels politics and the Brussels MR, is sui generis, like most Brussels-related things.


*The PS are, of course, no better despite significant grandstanding. Magnette understands this having written about it, and he and is trying to turn them into something of a more modern party, but encounters resistance from the old guard.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: EPG on September 22, 2018, 06:45:08 am
I feel I've learned more about Belgian politics & pillarisation than ever before. Thanks.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 24, 2018, 12:37:26 pm
To what extent do Walloon and Flemish socialists, Christian Democrats and liberals coordinate their actions?

On this particular point, there was a nice article on this (in french), based on a journal article that can be found in English

https://absp.be/Blog/2018/07/13/y-a-t-il-encore-des-partis-freres-en-belgique/

Short summary and translation, the first part details how, organisationally, they are now completely seperate parties (for the reason I explained on the first page of this thread). They used to share think tanks, etc but now everything is seperate. Informal organisational links are also gone : parties are not bound to go into coalition with their "brother" party anymore. They do however sit in the same European groupings, although that could change this year.

The second part talks about their denominations, but that is irrelevant (in my view). The name changes at the turn of the millenia were superficial ways of trying to renew or modernise the ideological bile that is needed to service the socio-economic interests of the pillar parties in the wake of the "White March", the rise of ecologists and VB - and in cdH's case it was a rather blatant attempt at building an islamo-democratic constituency.

The third part is the most interesting one, given its a survey of the legislators of the party families on who they colloborate more with : their own linguistic group or their brother party. They asked them who they worked with the most : other legislators from the "brother" party, other legislators from the same linguistic group, or neither. Both the Christian Democrats and the Socialists clearly work with elected members from their own linguistic group more that their "brother" party, so far are the differences in interests. VLD and MR tend to work more together.

The fourth part is the observation that despite these differences, both their electorates and their elected officials largely have the same sociological characteristics and ideological views respectively. You see that through percentage of catholics, level of education, and then positions on intervention of the state and the role of the federal government. So the authors conclude that they still somewhat exist as brothers (also because everybody still talks about them as such).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on September 24, 2018, 12:40:02 pm
Many thanks for your insightful responses. Will look at the articles: my French should be good enough.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 28, 2018, 07:00:58 pm
Lots of pollings in Belgian cities, i'll make multiple posts to make my life a bit easier, focusing on lots of Flemish cities. This is the polling in Ghent

()

s.pa - green (social democrat / green cartel) - 37,2% (-8,2%)
Open VLD (liberals) - 23,4% (+6,9%)
N-VA (nationalists) - 13,4% (-3,7%)
PVDA (far-left) - 7,9% (+5,0%)
Flemish Interest (far-right) - 7,4% (+0,9%)
CD&V (christian democratic) - 5,1% (-4,0%)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 28, 2018, 07:10:00 pm
Polling for Antwerp:

()

N-VA (nationalists) - 29,9% (-7,8%)
Greens (greens) - 19,2% (+11,3%)
s.pa (social democrats) - 16,0% (-12,6% - though were in cartel with CD&V in 2012)
Flemish Interest (far-right) - 11,6% (+1,4%)
PVDA (far-left) - 8,3% (+0,3%)
CD&V (christian democratic) - 7,1% (-21,5% - though were in cartel with CD&V in 2012)
Open VLD (liberals) - 5,8% (+0,3%)

Coallition talks will be hard. N-VA, Open VLD and CD&V have stated they don't want to enter coallition with either PVDA or Flemish Interest. The Greens however have said they will never enter a coallition with N-VA. It is possible, it could take months or even a year to create a coallition that would work for Antwerp, especially because federal and regional elections also take place next year, and what happens in Antwerp, will have consequences for those elections.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 28, 2018, 07:55:54 pm
Leuven

()

s.pa (social democrats) - 24,9% (-6,5%)
Green (greens) - 23,6% (+8,1%)
N-VA (nationalists) - 21,4% (+2,1%)
CD&V (christian democrats) - 10,8% (-7,7%)
PVDA (far-left) - 6,0% (+3,2%)
Flemish Interest (far-right) - 5,8% (+2,1%)
Open VLD (liberals) - 5,7% (-2,1%)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Heat on September 29, 2018, 02:04:05 am
I'm surprised PVDA are standing still in Antwerp but seemingly gaining everywhere else.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 29, 2018, 06:02:36 am
I'm surprised PVDA are standing still in Antwerp but seemingly gaining everywhere else.

Probably because the left-wing is in opposition in Antwerp, and because 6 years ago, a vote for PVDA would be seen more as a protest vote to s.pa-cd&v (the list of the incumbent mayor of then - who lost to the nationalist). The result six years ago was surprising and really a good one, and it might be hard to improve that, because they've done a great job six years ago. It might in some way be the cap. People who dislike the incumbent mayor might prefer voting for the Greens because they have a real chance to dethrone the incumbent mayor. The s.pa (socialists) have been involved in some scandals in Antwerp and are losing. They changed their candidate, and initially had a cartel with the Greens but the Greens didn't trust the s.pa anymore and the cartel was done.

In other cities, PVDA is making that breakthrough while in Antwerp, they've already done it.

(also, it's a polling, i suspect they will do better).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 29, 2018, 06:33:25 am
What Lakigigar said + mobility being a seemingly genuine issue in the political debate in Antwerp, that probably cost N-VA more than their corruption scandal did. Greens seem to perform strongly on that issue for obvious reasons. If this election debate had federal undertones maybe PVDA would be doing better in Antwerp.

Antwerp and Leuven look like very interesting fights. Ghent on the other hand...does the Open VLD poster boy still have a shot? Also 7.4% for VB, in a local election in Ghent?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 30, 2018, 01:38:10 pm
The far-left and far-right have a few opportunities to serve their first mayors. The far-right has a shot in Ninove (a middle-sized city), while the far-left has a shot in the industrial city of Zelzate. In Wallonia the far-left is expected to do well in both Hainaut and the Liège agglomeration, and they have a shot to become the biggest in Seraing, which opinion pollings suggest, and are 2nd in the cities of Liège and Charleroi. Paul Magnette (PS Mayor) hasn't ruled out forming a coallition with the PTB in Charleroi.

A few more pollings:

Brugge

()

Mechelen

()

VLD+Groen+M+ = progressive cartel of greens and liberals

Hasselt

()

Ostend

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 30, 2018, 02:01:21 pm
More pollings of Flemish cities:

Sint-Niklaas

()

N-VA - 25,7% (-2,8%)
Vlaams Belang - 17,7% (+6,0%)
Green - 14,4% (had 25,7% in cartel with greens)
CD&V - 13,5% (-2,1%)
s.pa - 13,1% (had 25,7% in cartel with greens)
Open VLD - 9,9% (+2,7%)
PVDA - 4,2% (+2,4%)

Kortrijk

()

CD&V - 22,7% (-10,3%)
Open VLD - 20,6% (-0,7%)
N-VA - 16% (-0,3%)
s.pa - 10,9% (-3,4%)
Green - 10,3% (+2,9%)
Vlaams Belang - 9,6% (+3,5%)
Other parties - 5,5% (including PVDA which had 1,2% last time)

Aalst

()

N-VA - 27,2% (-3,9%)
Open VLD - 15,8% (-1,5%)
Vlaams Belang - 14,6% (+3,8%)
CD&V - 12,7% (-4,6%)
Green - 11,2% (+5,3%)
Lijst A (s.pa dissidents) - 7,8%
s.pa - 5,4% (-11,0%)
PVDA - 3,1% (+1,9%)


Roeselare

()

CD&V - 30% (+2%)
N-VA - 20,6% (-8,6%)
Vlaams Belang - 15% (+5,9%)
Groen - 13,1% (+4,6%)
Open VLD - 9,2% (+0,8%)
s.pa - 8,9% (-5,3%)

Turnhout

()

Vlaams Belang - 17,6% (+7,5%)
N-VA - 15,6% (-10%)
TIM (local party with incumbent mayor) - 12,6% (-3,7%)
Green - 12,2% (+1,5%)
CD&V - 11,6% (-3,5%)
Open VLD - 9,8% (+4,5%)
s.pa - 9,3% (-2,1%)
PVDA - 6,7% (+4,7%)

Genk

()

N-VA - 29,8% (+11,6%)
CD&V - 27% (-14%)
s.pa - 11,5% (had 16,8% cartel with Greens)
Vlaams Belang - 11,5% (+2,2%)
PVDA - 6,6% (-2,2%)
Groen - 6,1% (had 16,8% in cartel with s.pa)
Open VLD - 5,3% (+0,9%)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on September 30, 2018, 02:37:13 pm
Looking at those potential results...I know this comes up every local election but given the current European context and the N-VA's dead end with the other parties, its time to start questioning the cordon sanitaire's resilience again.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 30, 2018, 06:29:36 pm
There is now controversy on what the Antwerp candidate for the socialist party has said in a newspaper, when she had a double interview together with Antwerp candidate for the far-right party, in which she minimalised what he was (i won't call him a racist), while he is widely seen as one of the hardliners of the far-right party, and as a real fascist. Of course, this created a backslash on social media and alienated some social democrats, not something you can use two weeks before the election.

()

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: tack50 on September 30, 2018, 07:42:37 pm
Wait, I thought Vlaams Belang was the real far right party while N-VA was just anti-inmigration but not really far right?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on September 30, 2018, 09:58:42 pm
Wait, I thought Vlaams Belang was the real far right party while N-VA was just anti-inmigration but not really far right?

Filip De Winter is part of Vlaams Belang and a hardliner, one who was part of it's even more radical right-wing past during the 1990's and early 2000's.

N-VA however is indeed right-wing and conservative-liberal but anti-immigration, but among some of their members it has far-right tendencies which was recently revealed in a PANO documentary (the Schild & Vrienden scandal).

N-VA has also more & more becoming a traditional party, and some of their disappointed members are returning to where they originally originate from: the Vlaams Belang, which is seen in opinion polls. N-VA however seems to be recruiting from the two other governing parties: the liberals and the christian democrats. The Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are losing votes to the Greens. PVDA claims most of it's new members used to be N-VA voting members, and probably also recruits people disappointed with social democrat rule. I also believe a small part of their new influx used to be a Green. Someone active in our local branch was previously active for the Greens, and i've shifted more to the left as well, where i used to favour Green and even have voted for CD&V and Open VLD in respectively regional and federal elections. The environment & climate are my most important issues, and i've realized that we won't make any progression on that, as long we don't overthrow the capitalist system and the system of multinational monopolies all over the world. The PVDA also has a much more ambitious climate program, and some of it's members are ecosocialist (similar to what Naomi Klein advocates). The Greens have indicated once in an interview that their visions align more with the liberal Open VLD than with us, and because the actions of VLD when it comes to energy & environment are really disappointing (in fact they serve the minister of Energy & Environment), have alienated me.

Belgium is right now not decreasing it's environmental output, in fact it even has increased, and it's rate of increase has increased compared to the previous government, while in fact we are part of the Paris agreement, all parties but Vlaams Belang claim to be pro-environmental action, and that we all believe climate change is an important issue of our time. But not enough action has been taken. I mean, what's the difference with the Trump cabinet in the US. The communication is very different, but in reality we aren't that different (especially since local governments inside the US seems to take environmental action to the same degree we do). Ironically, more authoritarian nations seem to be able to have a bigger environmental effort, like China and some Latin American nations. Liberals will only enact environmental measures that won't hurt the economy (which is basically never), and they'll always prefer building new industrial zones over maintaining / creating new green zones (even while claiming to be pro-environmentalist). This partly made me realize i can not longer support the Green party, and made me shift left.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-26/belgium-faces-winter-blackouts-as-aging-nuclear-plants-falter (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-26/belgium-faces-winter-blackouts-as-aging-nuclear-plants-falter)

Our minister of energy has done a terrible job on other things as well. This was all over the news last week. Belgium could face blackouts this winter, especially in november, and the region i live in, is most likely going to be one of the first regions that won't be provided with power if we don't have enough power, which is increasingly becoming likely. To be fair, it's the result of multiple decades of terrible rule, since this is something we could see coming for years, and nothing has been done on it.

In my belief, energy should be re-nationalized again, and we should prioritize on building green infrastructure (which would create jobs, lose our dependency on other countries for gas, electricity & energy, be good for climate & environment, and it will have to be done sooner or later, so you better do it soon).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on October 02, 2018, 07:51:04 pm
Some interesting news:
1) Yesterday a polling among the youth leaked out, and it said the youth didn't trust politics in general, have a negative association with politics, didn't knew basic answers like who governs or who's the mayor of their city. 24% of the 18 to 23 year olds also said they prefer an authoritarian leader over a democracy. Among lower-college educated people, this rises to over 50%.

2) https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/02/candidates-with-nazi-sympathies-exposed/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/02/candidates-with-nazi-sympathies-exposed/) 15 people of the 3000 candidates for Flemish Interest were accused of nazi sympathies, based on their behaviour on social media. Some of them had sympathies for a terrorist group that aimed for the creation of a white Flanders state, and to achieve that they wanted to trigger a civil war. One of the acts planned was to kill the far-right icon Filip De Winter for tactical reasons.

3) Yesterday, a social housing crisis in Ghent in which the bad state got indicted in a tv show based on the upcoming elections, the local city government (social democrat, green and liberals) had to admit that they knew off this situation and that nothing was done yet. Political experts have stated that this might abruptly change the local results, similarly to what happened in 1999 after the dioxin crisis. Social housing might instantly become the main theme / issue of the elections in Ghent, where it used to be mobility and transport. I estimate this might cause people to swing to the opposition (N-VA), especially people who were centrist and thinking of voting liberals. But a lot of people (and i mean a lot - esp. green and social democrat voters) might actually swing to the far-left, especially because it's a leftist theme (and the left is criticized for it), and the news report was shocking.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on October 04, 2018, 05:30:03 am
()

Title: "how mold might help the PVDA-PTB to win the elections in Ghent."

Here is an article that suggests the housing crisis in Ghent will affect the local elections here. My english isn't good enough to summarize it well enough, so excuse me for that, but in short it says that the social democrats and greens responded very badly on it, and that 10 days before the election, this is something that will hamper their electoral performances. The liberals - who are in the coallition as well - couldn't profit from it to take the "momentum", and it's doubtful the nationalists that suffer from credibility issues in Ghent, will win from this situation. The article concludes that the far-left party that made from housing it's main focus on the election and campaigned on it (on the streets and locally, but aren't invited to talkshows and debates on television). The left-wing coallition felt the heat of the far-left. The breakthrough of the far-left was something we've expected, but now it is a certainty.

(couldn't find an english article that exactly said what it's all about)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: DavidB. on October 04, 2018, 09:15:33 am
How about this new Muslim party? Are they going to run anywhere?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on October 05, 2018, 09:57:02 am
How about this new Muslim party? Are they going to run anywhere?

There are more parties, because there are lots of divisions in the immigrant vote. We have like two Turkish parties (because they couldn't agree to form a party together, similar to DENK in Netherlands, which have in common that they are left-wing but pro-Erdogan) and the more radical ISLAM party. I haven't heard about the latter one, but I heard the Turkish party had troubles with even getting enough good signatures and finding enough candidates to even get on the ballot in some major cities, like they had trouble in Antwerp and also in Beringen (a city with a huge population of Turkish immigrants), one of those parties failed to submit a list.

What i've heard so far, it seems like the elections will be very disappointing for the immigrant parties. What differs in Belgium from the Netherlands is that there is no united immigrant party and that we have a electoral threshold of 5% which is rather rough, and makes it hard for new parties to arise on the political field, so i can almost certainly say they'll not have a breakthrough in Flanders.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Umengus on October 05, 2018, 12:21:20 pm
Antwerp poll

NVA 32
Groen: 20
SPA: 13
VB: 12
PVDA: 8
CDV: 7
VLD: 5

It's not a bad poll for De Wever because VB is strong and so NVA is unavoidable.

Considering the polls, VB seems to to a come back at the expense of the NVA.

Flanders level

NVA 25
CDV 17
Groen 14
VLD 13
SPA 12
VB 11
PVDA 4

Brussels

MR 19
Defi 16
PS 15
Ecolo 13
PTB 9
CDH 6
PP 2
ISLAM 2

and for flemish parties:

NVA 6
Groen 2,2
VB 2

Wallonie

PS 23
MR 20
PTB 13
ECOLO 11
CDH 10
Defi 7
PP 7

VB 2





Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on October 05, 2018, 02:00:45 pm
A bit surprised s.pa and CD&V still have such high scores... I definitely don't believe it in the case of CD&V after they've done a terrible campaign and were very inauthentic... Candidate of the CD&V suggested multiple times he wanted to become mayor (with only 7% in the polls). Both Greens and N-VA have said that they would never let him become mayor. He moved to Antwerp specially for the elections to become a mayor, and made a gaffe during spring when a Jewish candidate was chosen to be on the list and declared that he refused to shake hands with women (he left the list and was replaced with a different representative of the Jewish community).

s.pa after it's scandals still seem to be around 15% while PVDA only has 8. Worth mentioning though that the PVDA polled at 3,2% a week before the elections in 2012, and eventually had 8%, so i'm still hoping for 10%. Would be disappointed with less.

Antwerp City government seems like it will be a N-VA / VLD / Green or N-VA / CD&V and Green coallition. I think the N-VA & Green coallition seems inevitable especially since the incumbent stated at least twice that their program on mobility is almost exactly the same except for one thing, and he is remarkably mild for the Greens (while he used to be harder for them before).

I've checked which coallitions would be possible...
N-VA / VB coallition isn't enough. They need CD&V. This will never happen.
CD&V / VLD / Green / s.pa need PVDA. I doubt it will happen, because even Green weren't enthuasiastic about such a coallition. VLD won't let this happen. CD&V might, but only if Peeters would become mayor, which won't happen either. Coallitions with 4 or 5 parties tend to be unstable and not preferrable.

N-VA / Green do have enough, but who would become mayor. Greens won't join a city government in which De Wever (as biggest) will stay mayor, unless De Wever makes major concessions, but even than forming a coallition will be hard, because there are elections next year, and what happens in Antwerp often does have consequences for 2019. Green might get reckoned off if they get into a coallition with N-VA because they're basically the anti-N-VA vote. I would be glad if such a coallition would happen (honestly), because it would probably mean that the PVDA in particular will do even better next year (Greens will almost certainly lose lots of votes in this scenario).

An alternative might be a N-VA / s.pa / CD&V and Open VLD city government though, but that will be unworkable and unpreferrable as well, and both N-VA and s.pa might get reckoned off for such a coalition. I believe greens and the far-right would profit from such a coalition. One additional reason of why this might be an unlikely coalition is because in this scenario, all the four parties will have lost votes, and all the "losers" of the election will join a coalition to govern. It will only happen if they're quite hopeless about forming a city government and the politial parties feel like they've to take respnsability, but i don't think this scenario is something any of those parties would like.

It's possible that if this polling will eventually be the end result on sunday 14 oct that negotiations in Antwerp will take at least 6 months, because i can't see something working out. There is no clear winner in that case, both the left and the right are quite even. It might be similar to the political crisisses Spain experienced lately, but than to a local level here. Though in Belgium - just like in Spain - it was always quite hard to form a government, partly because of the linguistic/cultural divide between north and south.

*i would also suggest not to take those polls to literally because 1) a lot can happen in one week / two weeks in politics (as we've seen in Ghent -> that poll is probably outdated), 2) they're still polls (and even local polls, and just like state polls in USA they're less reliable than nationwide polls 3) still lots of undecided voters 4) margin of error with 3-4% leaves room for error and can mean a huge difference for certain political parties.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 07, 2018, 05:48:07 am
How about this new Muslim party? Are they going to run anywhere?

There are more parties, because there are lots of divisions in the immigrant vote. We have like two Turkish parties (because they couldn't agree to form a party together, similar to DENK in Netherlands, which have in common that they are left-wing but pro-Erdogan) and the more radical ISLAM party. I haven't heard about the latter one, but I heard the Turkish party had troubles with even getting enough good signatures and finding enough candidates to even get on the ballot in some major cities, like they had trouble in Antwerp and also in Beringen (a city with a huge population of Turkish immigrants), one of those parties failed to submit a list.

What i've heard so far, it seems like the elections will be very disappointing for the immigrant parties. What differs in Belgium from the Netherlands is that there is no united immigrant party and that we have a electoral threshold of 5% which is rather rough, and makes it hard for new parties to arise on the political field, so i can almost certainly say they'll not have a breakthrough in Flanders.

For the case of Brussels, where the party would inevitably be more successful due to the demographic makeup and the way the debate over Islam has been salient in the city since the Abdelsalam attacks and Brussels bombings, you can see by Umengus's poll that they are improving slightly enough to potentially get 2 seats at regional level. Their campaign has honestly been very low key, I have only just seen their posters this week, and clearly they know which districts to target. They may still be benefiting from the hype that Theo Francken and others in the N-VA created around their case, but how they carry inevitable momentum and how the media covers them will be vital.  

I think a more threatening case is when mainstream parties seem to present crypto-Erdoganists (ECOLO members making Grey Wolves salutes in Saint-Josse for example) or other members of certain immigrant communities who have no interest other than to import their struggle back home onto the Belgian political debate. Demir - who is Antwerp based - going to Genk being a fantastic example of how to stoke the flames of an already hot fire. Sure, she's managed to piss off Erdogan in the right way. But should Genk local elections really be a referendum on what you think of Turkish integration in Flemish society? Most of the Limburg-based Turks were Bulgarian and had little interest in diaspora politics until the political entrepreuners, both foreign and domestic, wheeled in with their identity complexes. Belgian identity complexes for Belgian people, god damn it!


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Laki on October 10, 2018, 10:30:19 am
In Ghent, there are apparently three Turkish minor parties that apparently fight for the Turkish vote. They all have one thing in common: they are very pro-Erdogan and criticize Turkish immigrants that are on the lists of Belgian political parties for not being pro-Erdogan enough. Apparently, the campaign is very dirty and nasty i've seen in an article. There are basically three parties, two are basically split-off from social democrats (and similar to DENK in Netherlands), but there is also a right-wing socially conservative Turkish immigrant party and the party is very populist / extremist (with many Grey Wolves on their list). In my belief, this isn't a good evolution. I would prefer my political party to never work together with those fringe political parties, and i would rather support the Flemish right-wing than immigrant parties, and i would also encourage immigrants to work throughout our own political parties. We don't have any need for an immigrant party that would split the vote even more and would have the opposite effect they actually want (bringing the right in power). We already have a social democrat, democratic socialist and a green party. I think that's enough. There is maybe room for a left liberal (similar to D66) or a left-wing nationalist party (similar to SNP or M5S), but that's about it.

I don't have sympathy for parties / people that bring Turkish issues into our own local elections, and make this election all about: pro-Erdogan, anti-Gulen, anti-Kurds and go on and on... People like this don't belong in our society.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections
Post by: Zinneke on October 13, 2018, 04:45:58 am
Results will be released at 15.00h tomorrow. If David or a mod can edit the title to indicate this is happening that'd be cool.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 13, 2018, 04:53:13 am
Results will be released at 15.00h tomorrow. If David or a mod can edit the title to indicate this is happening that'd be cool.
Done.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 13, 2018, 06:59:56 am
Results will be released at 15.00h tomorrow. If David or a mod can edit the title to indicate this is happening that'd be cool.
Done.
Thanks a lot.

Another article you and french-speakers might find interesting from BePolitix with a nice run down of how the parties in WalloBrux are shaping up heading into tomorrow. Its very different case to Flanders though because only something like 40% of the communes in Wallonia have the same party configuration as the federal level, compared to 80% in Flanders.

https://absp.be/Blog/2018/10/08/les-elections-communales-en-wallonie-et-a-bruxelles-au-prisme-de-la-fragmentation/

Happy to translate for others if there is interest, but I imagine it should be fine with a translation app.

For me the key things to look out for in the context of next year's federals:

1/ How PS does in Liege and suburbs vs ECOLO and particularly PTB.
2/ How Défi splits the MR vote in major Walloon cities
3/ Whether Lutgen can survive his mayorship and a potential slide in the provincial elections (Luxemburg provincial results and his own personal battle with his brother)
4/ the final breakthrough of the far right, although given something like 6 far right parties are running in Charleroi alone, it seems unlikely they will ever unite. PP have aggressively campaign and even allied with Steve Bannon of all people to try to get funds and legitimacy.

I guess the most publicised/battles are still Mons/Bergen, Bastogne for the Lutgen face off, and Namur which is always a close battle between the traditional parties and now has the added surge of Défi. Schaerbeek should provide drama as it always does every 6 years in Brussels.

Otherwise it has been a relatively low key election compared to the last.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 13, 2018, 11:56:52 am
I'll probably be present here as well. Coloniac, i assume you're from Brussels or the Southern Part of Belgium. My coverage from these regions is less clear because i'm from Flanders, and the Flemish television only discuss results from the northern part of Belgium and possibly Brussels (not sure about that), and occassionaly we will get a result of the southern parts of Belgium. I think it works like this. it's been a long time ago we've had elections and i almost forget. I'm more used to watching CNN, BBC (for british and american election coverage: 2016 election, British elections of 2015 and 2017 and Brexit and indyref vote) and dutch political tv-shows. I've watched (parts of) the political shows of 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and possibly 2014, but not sure about that. I've probably followed coverage of 2014 elections way less than the coverage of British and American elections.

What i will look out for:

1) i'm curious to how PTB/PVDA will perform in Zelzate, Ghent, Kortrijk, my home city, Antwerp, Genk, Leuven, Sint-Niklaas, Mechelen, Turnhout, Bruges, Ostend, Hasselt, Brussels (and agglomeration), Liège and agglomeration, Charleroi, Verviers, Namur, Mouscron and Tournai.
2) Will the far-right have their first mayor ever in Belgium (look to what happens in Ninove)
3) What will happen in Antwerp (the key battleground). Political deadlock. Nationalist win or Green win? Most likely a political deadlock.
4) What will happen in Ghent. How will the recent leaked coverage of the poor state of social houses in Ghent influences the election. How will the nationalists and liberals perform and how much are socialists / greens going to lose.
5) Will the PVDA take power in Zelzate and/or Seraing?
6) How well will the Greens perform?
7) How much are the traditional parties going to lose everywhere (especially CD&V and s.pa)?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 13, 2018, 12:34:14 pm
Results will be released at 15.00h tomorrow. If David or a mod can edit the title to indicate this is happening that'd be cool.
Done.
Thanks a lot.

Another article you and french-speakers might find interesting from BePolitix with a nice run down of how the parties in WalloBrux are shaping up heading into tomorrow. Its very different case to Flanders though because only something like 40% of the communes in Wallonia have the same party configuration as the federal level, compared to 80% in Flanders.

https://absp.be/Blog/2018/10/08/les-elections-communales-en-wallonie-et-a-bruxelles-au-prisme-de-la-fragmentation/

Happy to translate for others if there is interest, but I imagine it should be fine with a translation app.

For me the key things to look out for in the context of next year's federals:

1/ How PS does in Liege and suburbs vs ECOLO and particularly PTB.
2/ How Défi splits the MR vote in major Walloon cities
3/ Whether Lutgen can survive his mayorship and a potential slide in the provincial elections (Luxemburg provincial results and his own personal battle with his brother)
4/ the final breakthrough of the far right, although given something like 6 far right parties are running in Charleroi alone, it seems unlikely they will ever unite. PP have aggressively campaign and even allied with Steve Bannon of all people to try to get funds and legitimacy.

I guess the most publicised/battles are still Mons/Bergen, Bastogne for the Lutgen face off, and Namur which is always a close battle between the traditional parties and now has the added surge of Défi. Schaerbeek should provide drama as it always does every 6 years in Brussels.

Otherwise it has been a relatively low key election compared to the last.

Brussel city will be interessant to observe: PS should lose lots of votes (30 to... 15 % ?) ans a poll some months ago gave Ecolo first with 20 %. PS has had lots of money scandal so the fall is quite possible.

Concerning the PP, it's now or never. The party has the best environment to have success: MR in power, migration, (a little) better media coverage... Last poll has PP at 7 % at the regional level so I wait big results in Verviers, Liege, Charleroi, Dison, Mouscron, Frameries and so on.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:18:05 am
PTB will probably do well in those cities. I believe PP will do slightly better in Hainaut, but PTB will probably do very well in the Liege suburbs and Verviers.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: parochial boy on October 14, 2018, 06:24:50 am
Another article you and french-speakers might find interesting from BePolitix with a nice run down of how the parties in WalloBrux are shaping up heading into tomorrow. Its very different case to Flanders though because only something like 40% of the communes in Wallonia have the same party configuration as the federal level, compared to 80% in Flanders.

https://absp.be/Blog/2018/10/08/les-elections-communales-en-wallonie-et-a-bruxelles-au-prisme-de-la-fragmentation/

Cool, so why the PTB more around Liège than Charleroi? Just traditional implantation?

Also, Antwerp seems surprisingly left wing considering its, you know, reputation. Does anyone actually vote PVDA outside of Borgehout?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 06:32:44 am
Another article you and french-speakers might find interesting from BePolitix with a nice run down of how the parties in WalloBrux are shaping up heading into tomorrow. Its very different case to Flanders though because only something like 40% of the communes in Wallonia have the same party configuration as the federal level, compared to 80% in Flanders.

https://absp.be/Blog/2018/10/08/les-elections-communales-en-wallonie-et-a-bruxelles-au-prisme-de-la-fragmentation/

Cool, so why the PTB more around Liège than Charleroi? Just traditional implantation?

Also, Antwerp seems surprisingly left wing considering its, you know, reputation. Does anyone actually vote PVDA outside of Borgehout?

I've voted PVDA, but also outside of Antwerp. Antwerp has both a strong right-and a strong left-wing, but it seems to be a trend that more people are shifting away from the centre.

PTB national spokesman (and charismatic person) Raoul Hedebouw comes from Liège. Liège has very industrial suburbs and quite a poor population (Herstal, Seraing), and the famous communist chairman of the 1950's Julien Lahaut also comes from the Liège suburbs. He was murdered back than by royalists, but in his city (Seraing) PTB wll likely achieve it's best result.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 06:52:00 am
Live stream VRT here (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/Livestreams/live-kies-18/) - in Dutch and focused on Flanders. Will there be any exit polls?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 07:48:22 am
Live stream VRT here (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/Livestreams/live-kies-18/) - in Dutch and focused on Flanders. Will there be any exit polls?

Don't think that's tradition here. I've never heard about exit polls and was surprised other countries had that, but exit polls aren't always reliable (as we've seen in the USA).

First results are coming in (but not fully counted):
one coastal city where the liberals lose.
a different town where the socialists lose, while the right-wing wins.

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/#/11/1/31004/kaart (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/#/11/1/31004/kaart)

the map


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 08:02:14 am
Typical Belgian problems right now: too many chocolate stores in Bruges, with a renowned chocolatier complaining about the increased competition and non-Belgian chocolate being sold. The liberals, of all parties, now wish to limit the number of chocolate and beer stores targeting tourists.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 08:10:11 am
Official results here


https://elections2018.wallonie.be/
https://www.vlaanderenkiest.be/verkiezingen2018/index.html#/

Also, typical Brussels surrealism, electronic voting booths are still dysfunctional :

http://www.lalibre.be/dernieres-depeches/belga/trente-bureaux-de-vote-toujours-touches-par-un-probleme-technique-a-bruxelles-5bc30104cd708c805c33ce9b#.W8ME1KY1t4U


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on October 14, 2018, 08:15:06 am
Typical Belgian problems right now: too many chocolate stores in Bruges, with a renowned chocolatier complaining about the increased competition and non-Belgian chocolate being sold. The liberals, of all parties, now wish to limit the number of chocolate and beer stores targeting tourists.
Hahahaha


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 08:21:40 am
First trends: nationalists seems to not do well. Liberals also lose a bit. Christian democrats & far-right win votes. On the left, not a clear trend yet (maybe we need to wait for more cities to come in).
With nationalists I assume you mean just the N-VA? Because the combined score of N-VA and VB seems to be increasing slightly.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 08:34:14 am
First trends: nationalists seems to not do well. Liberals also lose a bit. Christian democrats & far-right win votes. On the left, not a clear trend yet (maybe we need to wait for more cities to come in).
With nationalists I assume you mean just the N-VA? Because the combined score of N-VA and VB seems to be increasing slightly.

Yes, i meant just N-VA, but i've deleted my post because it's hard to notice first trends... I posted it a bit too early. I've seen now towns and cities where liberals won a lot, and where CD&V lost a lot (despite winning in other towns).

VB usually win votes (but just slightly so far).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 08:50:28 am
Zelzate (6/9)

SPA 30 (+11)
VLD 26 (-2)
PVDA 20 (-2)
VB 7 (+1)




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 09:19:17 am
Genk (50%)

CDV (pro-erdogan): 36 (-4)
NVA (kurd): 30
SPA 11 (-5)
VB 10 (=)
PVDA 5 (-4)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 09:20:26 am
Genk (50%)

CDV (pro-erdogan): 36 (-4)
NVA (kurd): 30
What?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 09:28:19 am
Disappointing results in Flanders so far, but there is no clear trend. In Ghent and the Antwerp suburbs, the PVDA fortunately does well, but in most other cities, they don't do well...

Very good day for VB. Slight losses for N-VA (but gains somewhere else). Liberals seems to do well mostly now. Socialists seem to decrease less than expected, while i had expected the Greens to do a bit better.

I don't know about the results in Brussels and French-speaking Belgium.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 09:51:12 am
N-VA set to overtake sp.a as the largest party in Hasselt, but fail to replicate this in Leuven.

Also looking increasingly likely VB will get their first mayor in Ninove.

CD&V stay largest in Bruges, Beveren and are generally holding up quite well. Could be a good night for them.

Provincially though (which btw is another useless layer of democracy other than a midterm bellweather)  N-VA are still dominating, so it appears to just be a case of running out of ideas and implantation locally. They gambled hard over the summer on immigration and were outflanked by VB on the issue, who are better implanted locally. As long as they hold Antwerp-city though they will not be too worried.

Too early for francophone Belgium to tell any major results. Rumours have it Mons en mieux led by MR's slightly "hard right" figure George-Louis Bouchez could be overtaken by ECOLO which would be an embarrassing end to an embarrassing political figure.


Umengus is of course exaggerating, but Zuhal Demir, the N-VA's minister on equal opportunities and list leader in Genk, is Kurdish origin and likes to childishly dog whistle on certain parts of the Turkish community on their level of integration, etc while using her own background every single debate. So Erdogan-s AKP actually instructed Turks in Genk to vote against her by voting for CD&V (it's not the first time they have done this, the media also called her a PKK terrorist). The mayor obviously wasn't going to refuse ethnic votes but that doesn't make him an Erdogan sycophant either.  

THe reason Demir will have failed in Genk will have almost certainly have to do with her being parachuted in from Antwerp and saying "yo, I'm a Genkie again" when everybody knows she has federal ambitions.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 09:56:23 am
Oostende (68/71)

SPA: 20 (-9)
NVA 19 (-7)
VLD 16 (+3)
VB 16 (+7)
Groen 15 (+5)
CDV 8 (-1)




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 10:05:36 am
Looks like PS will not be harmed too much in Liege-City. Very poor result for PTB not even getting to 10%.

Mons and Charleroi will also stay in PS hands...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 10:11:21 am
Thanks for your explanation on Genk.

What's going on in Voeren? How can Défi run for provincial council there (I assume it's part of Limburg?)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 10:17:57 am
Thanks for your explanation on Genk.

What's going on in Voeren? How can Défi run for provincial council there (I assume it's part of Limburg?)

Its a Linguistic Facilities Zone because of the linguistic heterogenity there. Défi are running as part of the "RAL" list that used to stand for "Retour A Liege(-Province)" and was led by José Happart, a PS guy known as a "Wallingant" in Flanders and is a fierce Liegeois provincialist. Défi clearly own the francophone rights issue though so it makes sense that they were drafted in this list at a local level, rather than running against both RAL and the Dutch-speaking list.  

Défi are also running a list on their own at provincial level in Limburg. Its part of their tradition of defending French-speakers in Flanders.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 10:24:36 am

Party of erdogan asked voters to vote against Demir. Demir is kurd

CDV: 34
NVA 24
VB 12
SPA 11
Groen 6
PVDA 6

44/49


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 10:27:50 am
Ah, I knew about Voeren but I didn't know that Défi tends to run at the provincial level in Limburg; logical choice though. You vote Défi too, right?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 10:30:11 am
Looks like PS will not be harmed too much in Liege-City. Very poor result for PTB not even getting to 10%.

Mons and Charleroi will also stay in PS hands...

They seem to do best in the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg, despite a terrible result in Genk for the entire left. In Zelzate, it seems like PVDA will get on par with the result of 2012, but i had expected more... In the Antwerp suburbs, Hasselt and Ghent the PVDA seems to do the best results.

In my province, we don't have a breakthrough (as expected) but it's even less good than expected unfortunately. I might have to vote (reluctantly) Green next year in my province for federal & regional elections, because a vote for PVDA will be thrown away especially here.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 10:33:22 am
Ah, I knew about Voeren but I didn't know that Défi tends to run at the provincial level in Limburg; logical choice though. You vote Défi too, right?

I voted for them today locally for entirely local reasons, I would consider them for regional and maybe federal especially if Clerfayt takes over from Maingain, but I do not like their intransigent stance on federal debate. They have come a long way from being the anti-Flemish party (Clerfayt and Gosuin voluntarily include Flemish lists in their majorities) but I still feel voting for them federally is conveying a bad message. They are still infinitely better than the traditional parties though.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 10:44:29 am
Woah, RTBF saying in Liege-Province and Namur-Province PS are failing hard...-20%. ECOLO would be the largest party in Liege-Province.

EDIT : ECOLO ahead in Ixelles/Elsene


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 10:47:35 am
One thing that i've noticed... pollings aren't very reliable here as well. One polling said N-VA would be the big winner in the Brussels election, and they've lost compared to 2012.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 10:56:56 am
One thing that i've noticed... pollings aren't very reliable here as well. One polling said N-VA would be the big winner in the Brussels election, and they've lost compared to 2012.

N-VA-s popularity was due to francophones indicating they would vote for them at regional level. Remember right-wing francophones have their own right-wing choices to make at local but benefit if they vote N-VA at regional because of the surreal college system meaning they can genuinely influence the government.

Also the Schild and Vrienden scandal and the racist remarks of one of their Bxl candidates will not have helped in Brussels. For example, some Dutch diaspora with similar views to David or mvd would have been bread and butter for the N-VA until that sort of confirmed the underlying problem with their movement.   

EDIT : Clerfayt wins in Schaerbeek with his green partners progressing. Good results for PTB.

ECOLO neck and neck with PS at Bruxelles ville. Close (PS Mayor) is toast.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 11:26:30 am
Jean-Marie DeDecker (right-wing populist / libertarian) will be the new mayor of Middelkerke... I must say i'm quite happy for him. He had a rough political career, and was basically almost politically burnt, but he will finally have a mandate after all those years in opposition.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 11:31:10 am
How does the mayor thing work? The biggest party gets the mayor, or do they have to form coalitions? In the latter case, how does someone like Dedecker or, even more extreme, the VB person in Ninove become mayor?

Jean-Marie DeDecker (right-wing populist / libertarian) will be the new mayor of Middelkerke... I must say i'm quite happy for him. He had a rough political career, and was basically almost politically burnt, but he will finally have a mandate after all those years in opposition.
I think you must be the only PVDA voter who approves of Kurz and is happy for JMDD :D


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 11:42:00 am
How does the mayor thing work? The biggest party gets the mayor, or do they have to form coalitions? In the latter case, how does someone like Dedecker or, even more extreme, the VB person in Ninove become mayor?

Jean-Marie DeDecker (right-wing populist / libertarian) will be the new mayor of Middelkerke... I must say i'm quite happy for him. He had a rough political career, and was basically almost politically burnt, but he will finally have a mandate after all those years in opposition.
I think you must be the only PVDA voter who approves of Kurz and is happy for JMDD :D

DeDecker has an absolute majority.

I like it when there is a fresh breathe of air through something. I don't like it when parties or politicians stay too long in power. That's why i disapprove s.pa / PS mostly (party of power, party that declines, lost touch with the people and are involved in many corruption scandals). PVDA-PTB is a new challenger on the left with fresh ideas that i like, and i'm a democratic socialist (similar to Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn's movements...) but i don't participate in the "let's all bash the right" part of the left (and vice versa, because the right does the same as well).

If the right can do something good, you just have to tell it that they can do their job on this and this. In a democracy, you'll have to work together with other political parties, and that's sometimes with parties that can be vastly different when it comes to policies. Especially locally, this is something that is possible. DeDecker won in a city that basically doesn't have a strong left-wing base, so it was either going to be him or a different centre-right liberal or christian democrat who were in power in the last 6 years and didn't do well. Dedecker knows what to do, and will bring the necessary change. He is also a honest (way too honest) person, very direct and the man you have to vote for if you want direct democracy which is important to me (direct elections, being more in touch with people, etcetera...).

Kurz does the same and might be "kind of a populist" in some way, but at least, what i admire about his approach is that the OVP learns about their mistakes and change their policies, in order to prevent the FPO from rising to absolute power. You'll have politicians who ignore trends and eventually lead their political party into ashes (literally). I mean, i would vote for a different political party if i was Austrian, but i have no reason to disapprove him (that might still come) yet. Kurz isn't ignorant to the problems / issues Europe faces, and that's something you clearly see with a lot of western politicians.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 11:55:13 am
How does the mayor thing work? The biggest party gets the mayor, or do they have to form coalitions? In the latter case, how does someone like Dedecker or, even more extreme, the VB person in Ninove become mayor?

They do form coallitions mostly. The biggest party doesn't get automatically the mayor unless they have an absolute majority. In Ninove it's uncertain whether the far-right will continue to serve the mayor or not.

In my city, it went between the CD&V (christian democrats) and the OVLD (liberals), and the CD&V is expected to be the biggest and also has the current incumbent, but there has been talks / rumours between a coalition between OVLD, N-VA and s.pa. Of course, i really don't think this is democratic, and i support the incumbent right now which has done a good job for the most part (but not all). We also have the Greens (who have a popular candidate), the far-right (which were invisible in the campaign) and the far-left which i've voted for.

The first results show that the pre-agreement might fail because they lack one seat to form a coalition, mostly because a lot of N-VA voters voted for VB (N-VA lost heavily here, VB won heavily), but ironically the high amount of VB voters here might save the current incumbent (CD&V). My political party has 3,6% of the vote, not enough for a seat, but a remarkable good result and the best result in my province, and probably even the 5th best result of West & East Flanders combined (after Sint-Niklaas, Zelzate, Ronse and Ghent). Ronse is my birth city as well, hope they'll have a seat there. They have one in Sint-Niklaas (which was close). Green fails to have third seats, which was their ambition here.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 12:05:12 pm
ECOLO are having an amazing night. Terrible for MR in Brussels who could only end up with 1 mayor in Brussels. Losing Ixelles, Molenbeek, UCCLE!!!! and also losing badly in extensions of their Brussels electorate in Brabant Wallon. 






Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Heat on October 14, 2018, 12:06:24 pm
Looks like PS will not be harmed too much in Liege-City. Very poor result for PTB not even getting to 10%.

Mons and Charleroi will also stay in PS hands...
PTB might actually be second in Charleroi according to RTBF.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 12:06:34 pm
The results in the cities seems to be very disappointing for the left. It's still early, but in Ghent, the liberals come surprisingly very close. s.pa-groen loses heavily. The results in Ghent are very good for PVDA however.

In Antwerp: Greens don't win as much as expected, and nationalists stay on par with their result in 2012 which was not expected as well. Current coalition might just continue.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Heat on October 14, 2018, 12:07:07 pm
ECOLO are having an amazing night. Terrible for MR in Brussels who could only end up with 1 mayor in Brussels. Losing Ixelles, Molenbeek, UCCLE!!!! and also losing badly in extensions of their Brussels electorate in Brabant Wallon. 





Vincent De Wolf is looking set to comfortably hang on in Etterbeek, alas.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 12:12:45 pm
Looks like PS will not be harmed too much in Liege-City. Very poor result for PTB not even getting to 10%.

Mons and Charleroi will also stay in PS hands...
PTB might actually be second in Charleroi according to RTBF.

Yeah, so that would reverse the trend and implant them in Hainaut. Problem for them is Magnette and Merckx hate each other so they might be irrelevant.

Also PP have underwhelmed again, especially when you look at VB's good results up north. Splintered far right in Wallonia and Modrikamen's inability to talk working class language is hurting them.

ECOLO are having an amazing night. Terrible for MR in Brussels who could only end up with 1 mayor in Brussels. Losing Ixelles, Molenbeek, UCCLE!!!! and also losing badly in extensions of their Brussels electorate in Brabant Wallon.  


Vincent De Wolf is looking set to comfortably hang on in Etterbeek, alas.

Yeah, Ixelles in MR hands always felt like an anomaly at times. Its clearly got districts that are upper class but it also has Matongé, Flagey, etc. Etterbeek on the other hand is still very professional middle class.

MR losing Uccle is also due to Dedecker's Kazakhgate corruption scandal and a dissident liberal list.


EDIT : Ugh Onkelinkx is on TV. But she is reminding  something very important regarding DavidB's question here :

How does the mayor thing work? The biggest party gets the mayor, or do they have to form coalitions? In the latter case, how does someone like Dedecker or, even more extreme, the VB person in Ninove become mayor?

In Flanders you can still turn over the leading party through a coalition. In Wallonia the most voted candidate is mayor "by law" but I think it just gives them initiative to form a coalition. Bart Maddens also wrote an article saying why Wallonia was starting to reverse the partiocracy at local level, while Flanders was going the opposite direction :

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2018/09/08/opinie-bart-maddens-ik-wou-dat-ik-een-waal-was/



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Heat on October 14, 2018, 12:17:58 pm
Looks like PS will not be harmed too much in Liege-City. Very poor result for PTB not even getting to 10%.

Mons and Charleroi will also stay in PS hands...
PTB might actually be second in Charleroi according to RTBF.

Yeah, so that would reverse the trend and implant them in Hainaut. Problem for them is Magnette and Merckx hate each other so they might be irrelevant.

Also PP have underwhelmed again, especially when you look at VB's good results up north. Splintered far right in Wallonia and Modrikamen's inability to talk working class language is hurting them.


Magnette is already discounting an alliance with the PTB.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 12:43:19 pm
First result good for De Wever in Antwerp: (5/9)

NVA 36
groen 18
spa 11
VB 10
PVDA 9
CDV 7
VLD 5


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 14, 2018, 12:45:44 pm
in ninove: (7/14)

VB 40
VLD 26
samen 22
NVA 9



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 01:19:40 pm
Di Rupo has been beaten by his second on the list. Major scalp of the night, but planned by the PS and himself to ease him out. Will probably resign now.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 01:20:16 pm
()

VB does really well also in Denderleeuw.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 01:29:40 pm
Great suspense in Antwerp where the provisional results mean if the ruling coalition lose one seat in the next 3 districts they lose their majority. You can play around with the coaltion maker and results. Luckily for N-VA, VB are basically blocking any left coalition and making De Wever "incontournable". I predict this will be the same for the federals next year. Antwerp a predictor once again.

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/#/11/1/11002/coalitie


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 01:45:08 pm
Here the VRT did a seat projection of the Flemish parliament if the Provincial elections were Regional

()

I think N-VA will do better as VB take a lot of anti-establishment votes in these kind of "midterm" elections.

And VB leader Van Grieken saying he wants to work with N-VA in the communes they have a majority in



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: mvd10 on October 14, 2018, 02:23:30 pm
Did he just say ''alternatieve rechtse meerderheden'' lol.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 02:52:29 pm
So Bartje keeps his majority in Antwerp, although Kris Peeters, who got absolutely humiliated, has already hinted he could drop the coalition. It should be straightforward for the N-VA in Antwerp though, especially compared to what the polls were indicating.

Clerfayt on RTBF saying he wasn't satisfied with Défi's results and that there would be a debriefing at the party office...all that with a wry smile that indicates he's going to go forward with another leadership challenge.

Hedebouw almost getting his dick out announcing the results of PTB/PVDA in Flemish villages to a darkened room. I thought he was going to break out into a cabaret act.

Overall I'm glad I watched the RTBF's coverage over VRT, its always hilariously amateurish but it  has an entente with the vieuwer to not take itself too seriously, just like this beautiful country.

The major "surprises" of this evening I guess :

ECOLO winning Ixelles with 33%, and winning PS bastion Forest, to confirm their implantation in Brussels.
MR potentially losing Uccle.
PTB doing better than expected in Hainaut and worse than expected in Liege and surrounding regions, although Liege looks like it will be last to declare.
JM Dedecker actually winning an election
VB overperforming all round thanks to a late surge.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:01:05 pm
The PS of Molenbeek didn't exclude a coalition with the PTB.

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:14:25 pm
()

Liberals declare victory, and they already say: Ghent will have their first liberal mayor in 60 years. Kind of surprising. Problem is only 70% is counted, and it's currently close. They might not have enough seats (if they lose one seat, it's not possible to have a centre-right coalition).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:22:09 pm
I think sums it well. The media calls it a pyrrhic victory for the Greens in Flanders, especially in Antwerp. I've seen some remarkable reactions. The candidate for the Greens want to be in the coalition (but it's not possible without N-VA or VB), and they don't want to govern with N-VA. The chairman of the s.pa might have to step down as a political analyst have said.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Heat on October 14, 2018, 03:24:00 pm
The PS of Molenbeek didn't exclude a coalition with the PTB.

()
If Molenbeek PTB have any brains at all they'll stay the hell away.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:44:50 pm
The PS of Molenbeek didn't exclude a coalition with the PTB.

()
If Molenbeek PTB have any brains at all they'll stay the hell away.

I agree. I would also reject such a thing.

In Ghent, it seems like the centre-right coalition won't have enough after all... The liberals are now celebrating that they'll serve the next mayor. The candidate of the liberals has said: Ghent will have a liberal mayor after 60 years. I currently don't see it, how they could do that. It's currently very close though... They're still counting there, and it will be close until the last vote comes in. Who the next mayor will be might be decided by one vote there.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 03:47:39 pm
Would it be possible to have VB vote for the liberal candidate and to carry on with a minority government, or would it be seen as a violation of the cordon sanitaire? I imagine that this would be especially controversial in Gent of all places...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 03:55:16 pm
Would it be possible to have VB vote for the liberal candidate and to carry on with a minority government, or would it be seen as a violation of the cordon sanitaire? I imagine that this would be especially controversial in Gent of all places...

No not possible. That would hurt the standings of those political parties on the long run, and cause the left to win back again in 2024 and possibly also nationally next year, because Ghent is one of the most watched elections. The CD&V is also centre-left in Ghent and i don't think DeClercq would even accept such a thing, but coalition talks might be difficult. I imagine after his speech this evening a coalition between s.pa-Groen and Open VLD would hurt Open VLD Ghent. Although when he doesn't make it, he will most likely just step down and retire from local politics. It's very close, but the result is very important as it might decide his political future. It could be dependant on just a few votes.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 14, 2018, 03:56:55 pm
Clear, thanks for your answer!

Apparently De Wever has referred to certain party members at his party event as his 'shield and his friends', mocking the Schlild & Vrienden scandal. LOL.

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Filuwaúrdjan on October 14, 2018, 04:19:21 pm
Really what's the point of the N-VA existing if the VB doesn't stay dead?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Heat on October 14, 2018, 04:31:03 pm
Really what's the point of the N-VA existing if the VB doesn't stay dead?
To be a disturbingly earnest tribute act to the Tories?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 04:34:51 pm
They now lack two seats to form a coalition. The liberal candidate might regret that speech he made a few hours ago.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 14, 2018, 04:38:54 pm
Really what's the point of the N-VA existing if the VB doesn't stay dead?

I think the first thing we need to remember is that the 43% N-VA vote - and thus VB's collapse - in Flanders in 2014 might not be replicated for a while. It was a historic result largely because some ardent VB nationalists may have seen it as putting a final nail in the Belgian coffin, and bring the debate back on their patch. And VB's 10% gained immediately back is from the N-VA, which given VB had strong results before, suggests the switch of these voters in 2014 was never meant as permanent.

Then there's that whole thing about the N-VA being a party of government. They've been in power for a while now at the Flemish level. They still act in the media as an opposition party and they're still blaming the sossen for pretty much everything but inevitably people protest vote in a different manner once they see the same faces in government.

EDIT : Looks like MR will at least get to keep Uccle. Boris Dillies has found an agreement with cdH and ECOLO.

Clear, thanks for your answer!

Apparently De Wever has referred to certain party members at his party event as his 'shield and his friends', mocking the Schlild & Vrienden scandal. LOL.

()

His not mocking the scandal, he's mocking them. He hates the neo-nazis in his party.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 14, 2018, 04:45:24 pm
Apparently, insiders have said that the cartel in Ghent will break. Greens will probably leave the cartel, and get in a coalition with CD&V and Open VLD. This is why DeClercq was so overly confident that Ghent would get a liberal mayor.

EDIT: Others have said that because he had most preference votes, the current coalition will continue but with DeClercq as mayor because he has most preference votes, and because socialists know they currently lack a strong person to lead the city / country.

VLD can even get in a coalition with only the Greens in Ghent, cause from the cartel, the Greens have 14 seats and s.pa 7 seats. This of course explains a lot more. After all it doesn't seem like the greens weren't that loyal.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 15, 2018, 05:00:26 am
So Di Rupo, Rudy Demotte (ex president of the federation WalloBrux) and André Flahaut (ex-Minister of Defence, budget minister) all "lost" their mayoralities to young PS usurpers, although in the former two cases it appears to have been deliberately engineered by the PS to get Di Rupo and Demotte to run in a year's time at Regional/Federal/EU level. But its a general part of the strategy of renewal, and it appears a lot of PS dissidents did well on the lower parts of their lists.


cdH also held on to Namur-citywhile PS, their main challengers, got spanked there, losing 9 seats. Same coalition as before (cdH-ECOLO-MR) to govern a city with strange electoral trends (the only major city cdH has the mayorality outside Luxemburg; Défi and PTB at 8%).

The way the system works in Wallonia is that the person who gets the highest preference votes of the parties in the coalition is mayor by law.

This is what the electoral map looks like for the provincials by electoral district :


()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 15, 2018, 02:45:25 pm
Results for PVDA-PTB:

()

city - number of seats - percentage of vote


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 15, 2018, 04:12:45 pm
Why did the PVDA perform so well in Zelzate?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 15, 2018, 05:21:28 pm
Why did the PVDA perform so well in Zelzate?

They always do. It's a traditional stronghold of them. It's an industrial city where the PVDA has a strong local base. They're being called "the doctors". It has some working-class quarters (like Little Russia) and it also houses a metal company Arcelor Mittal.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dQz1Rn6SlM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dQz1Rn6SlM)

This was in a period when they were more radical and the first time they've won 20% of the vote was in 2006. They've repeated those results in 2012 and in 2018. Many people are also angry with the current ruling parties here, and have said the PVDA is a genuine party, and has some good proposals. The party could even convince some rich people in businessman i've read in an article before. If anything, the result was a bit disappointing, because i thought the PVDA could grow a bit there. But there are coalition talks right now between s.pa and PVDA there, because s.pa (the big winner) has said they want to drop the current incumbent and his party + PVDA have enough seats to form a coalition together.

()

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Lechasseur on October 15, 2018, 05:23:12 pm
Results for PVDA-PTB:

()

city - number of seats - percentage of vote

Well, I see the PTB had a strong result in my former hometown. Interesting but not surprising.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 15, 2018, 05:41:58 pm
()

Also, the satirical joke party Pokémon List has done really well in the provincial council elections. It performed much better than the immigrant parties (VMC and MRP) in this provincial district (which includes Ghent), and the joke party could convince 6834 voters.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 16, 2018, 11:15:05 am
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/)

Quote
Nationalists will not be entering into coalition talks with Forza Ninove

The Ninove branch of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA has said that it does not intend to enter coalition talks with Forza Ninove, a local list that is headed by Guy D’haeseleer, an MP for the far-right Vlaams Belang. Instead N-VA Ninove has decided to opt for a place in the opposition.    

In a press statement released on Tuesday afternoon the party’s Ninove branch says “After having discussed the issue internally and having consulted the national party leadership, the Branch Committee has decided not to accept Forza Ninove’s invitation for talks”.

By opting for the opposition N-VA has put the other parties in Ninove in a very difficult position as they would need the support of Forza Ninove’s councilors in order to have a majority on the council.

However, N-VA does say that it is prepared to support any new coalition on a case by case basis.

Forza Ninove took 40% of the votes in Ninove, at town around 20 kilometres west of Brussels. The head of Forza Ninove’s lists is the Flemish MP Guy D'haeseleer of the far-right Vlaams Belang. Mr D'haeseleer had hoped that the nationalist would form a coalition with Forza Ninove. Initially the leader of N-VA Bart De Wever had left the door open for coalition talks between his party’s councilors in Ninove and Mr D’haeseleers list.

However, Facebook posts by Mr D’haeseleer from some time ago that have resurfaced have caused a change of heart. Now Mr De Wever says that chances of his party collaborating with Forza Nivove are “sub-zero”.    

There has been controversies among several alleged nazi-greets during the victory celebration and among racist posts being made on facebook several years ago.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on October 16, 2018, 03:21:06 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/)

Quote
Nationalists will not be entering into coalition talks with Forza Ninove

The Ninove branch of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA has said that it does not intend to enter coalition talks with Forza Ninove, a local list that is headed by Guy D’haeseleer, an MP for the far-right Vlaams Belang. Instead N-VA Ninove has decided to opt for a place in the opposition.    

In a press statement released on Tuesday afternoon the party’s Ninove branch says “After having discussed the issue internally and having consulted the national party leadership, the Branch Committee has decided not to accept Forza Ninove’s invitation for talks”.

By opting for the opposition N-VA has put the other parties in Ninove in a very difficult position as they would need the support of Forza Ninove’s councilors in order to have a majority on the council.

However, N-VA does say that it is prepared to support any new coalition on a case by case basis.

Forza Ninove took 40% of the votes in Ninove, at town around 20 kilometres west of Brussels. The head of Forza Ninove’s lists is the Flemish MP Guy D'haeseleer of the far-right Vlaams Belang. Mr D'haeseleer had hoped that the nationalist would form a coalition with Forza Ninove. Initially the leader of N-VA Bart De Wever had left the door open for coalition talks between his party’s councilors in Ninove and Mr D’haeseleers list.

However, Facebook posts by Mr D’haeseleer from some time ago that have resurfaced have caused a change of heart. Now Mr De Wever says that chances of his party collaborating with Forza Nivove are “sub-zero”.    

There has been controversies among several alleged nazi-greets during the victory celebration and among racist posts being made on facebook several years ago.

-it was not nazi-greets.

https://www.7sur7.be/7s7/fr/1502/Belgique/article/detail/3486844/2018/10/16/Non-le-Vlaams-Belang-n-a-pas-fete-sa-victoire-par-un-salut-nazi.dhtml

-to be honest, I don't understand the chocomousse-post facebook.

It's important to note that NVA will not support an anti-Vlaams belang coalitie in Ninove. But wihtout NVA support, no majority for anyone. So imbroglio...





Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 16, 2018, 03:45:12 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/16/nationalists-will-not-be-entering-into-coalition-talks-with-forz/)

Quote
Nationalists will not be entering into coalition talks with Forza Ninove

The Ninove branch of the Flemish nationalist party N-VA has said that it does not intend to enter coalition talks with Forza Ninove, a local list that is headed by Guy D’haeseleer, an MP for the far-right Vlaams Belang. Instead N-VA Ninove has decided to opt for a place in the opposition.    

In a press statement released on Tuesday afternoon the party’s Ninove branch says “After having discussed the issue internally and having consulted the national party leadership, the Branch Committee has decided not to accept Forza Ninove’s invitation for talks”.

By opting for the opposition N-VA has put the other parties in Ninove in a very difficult position as they would need the support of Forza Ninove’s councilors in order to have a majority on the council.

However, N-VA does say that it is prepared to support any new coalition on a case by case basis.

Forza Ninove took 40% of the votes in Ninove, at town around 20 kilometres west of Brussels. The head of Forza Ninove’s lists is the Flemish MP Guy D'haeseleer of the far-right Vlaams Belang. Mr D'haeseleer had hoped that the nationalist would form a coalition with Forza Ninove. Initially the leader of N-VA Bart De Wever had left the door open for coalition talks between his party’s councilors in Ninove and Mr D’haeseleers list.

However, Facebook posts by Mr D’haeseleer from some time ago that have resurfaced have caused a change of heart. Now Mr De Wever says that chances of his party collaborating with Forza Nivove are “sub-zero”.    

There has been controversies among several alleged nazi-greets during the victory celebration and among racist posts being made on facebook several years ago.

-it was not nazi-greets.

https://www.7sur7.be/7s7/fr/1502/Belgique/article/detail/3486844/2018/10/16/Non-le-Vlaams-Belang-n-a-pas-fete-sa-victoire-par-un-salut-nazi.dhtml

-to be honest, I don't understand the chocomousse-post facebook.

It's important to note that NVA will not support an anti-Vlaams belang coalitie in Ninove. But wihtout NVA support, no majority for anyone. So imbroglio...

That's a personal opinion. I wasn't there, so i can't confirm it, but i'm just repeating what the media said. Of course the right will always tell that the media is left-wing and fake. The nationalist chairman have at least strongly condemned the photo (and said it was disgusting). I don't understand the joke, because i don't see the fun in it. Might things be overblown, possibly.

The media is biased towards us as well. We're never invited on debates or talkshows. We're being silenced. The media frames things differently. When we do something good, they don't mention it. They organize a smear campaign against the far-right, and they silence us. You know, i bet more than 50% of Flemish people have never heard about the PVDA-PTB. It's that bad. Check the Flanders News website, and check the coverage about the election. Other (international & independent) media have said we're one of the winners of the elections or even "the winner", but we're not mentioned on their website, when they talk about the Brussels or the Flemish elections. They just talk about the Green successes or how the N-VA has failed to make a breakthrough in Brussels, but that the PVDA-PTB won 10% and went to 10-15% on average in Brussels, is of course not important enough or doesn't fit the agenda of the media in which they prefer to focus on the Green successes.

proof:
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/15/so-who-won-the-election/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/15/so-who-won-the-election/)
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/14/greens-advance-across-the-brussels-region/#/10/1/21004/percentages (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/14/greens-advance-across-the-brussels-region/#/10/1/21004/percentages)

Ask a /belgium reddit-er, who won the elections, and they'll say far-left, greens and far-right.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 16, 2018, 07:11:22 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/10/vrt-probe-reveals-true-face-of-rightist-organisation/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/10/vrt-probe-reveals-true-face-of-rightist-organisation/)

The S&V scandal with english subtitles.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 16, 2018, 07:34:55 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/10/vrt-probe-reveals-true-face-of-rightist-organisation/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/10/10/vrt-probe-reveals-true-face-of-rightist-organisation/)

The S&V scandal with english subtitles.
The impact of the scandal on the N-VA in the runup to the election has been non-negligible, no doubt about it. But the framing in the Pano documentary was incredible and the subsequent witchhunt was astounding to me. Every private political chat group in which insiders in political organizations talk strategy with each other contains content that is "embarrassing" and should not be shown publicly. There were almost 200 people in the S&V Discord group (way too many and a serious error on DVL's part to post sensitive content in such a group). Almost all of them were pretty right-wing and so it is no surprise that a lot of politically incorrect memes were shared. Some of them were disgusting, no doubt about it, but it takes either a boomer or a completely dishonest left-wing journalist to think the content of these memes necessarily reflects the way these people truly think. The subsequent witchhunt by the media and even DVL's university almost seemed orchestrated, and the idea that DVL would be both responsible for and fully supportive of the content of all offensive memes in the Discord group is absurd. The police investigation, including a police visit to DVL's parents' house, can only be viewed as an attempt to scare off patriotic youth: "don't be a nationalist activist, because you'll get in trouble." Almost totalitarian.

This (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9KVhSGFtig) rebuttal was spot on, in my view.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 16, 2018, 08:59:05 pm
It did surprise me though that groups like S&V didn't lose popularity, and seemed to have even increased their popularity, probably mostly among VB and Theo Francken supporters. There might have been some framing in the PANO documentary, i give you that, but the S&V video's were also highly framed. I mean it's a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Their meeting with Orban, their action on the Gravensteen and their video's explaining the VRT framing were all framed as well. I'm not surprised about the memes (who were not made by them, but just shared, even though DVL claims he didn't made the memes, but that's not the point, the memes were shared in their group"). But what did frighten me were their plans of infriltating key organizations (their so-called "long march through the instutions"), body cult, glorifying nazism & sexism, posing with guns that shocked me. Yes, they've made the mistake by opening such a group to 200 people (esp. with such sensitive content), but it's just pretty disgusting, and it shows us how dangerous men like these are, especially DVL.

I agree that lots of private political chat groups will contain content that will be embarassing, but i doubt it would be this extreme. But it's a reminder that people will need to be a bit more careful with what they post online. Decades ago, people could just tell controversial or racist stuff against each other, but when you place it online today, you'll be crucified. It's similar to how teenagers might be confronted with nudist photo's they've made off theirselves and post on snapchat or message to people and than regret about it (that used to be different, times "change"). But there is still a difference between one or some racist comments and the 60.000 racist memes (incl. some neo-nazist memes) they've found online, and i doubt VRT would lie about that number. I'm not sure whether the approach of the VRT wasn't the right one, and there was definitely a political agenda behind it, but they've called it on theirselves and it's pretty naive and stupid handling of S&V that caused them to get publically crucified. I can understand more moderate right-wingers or N-VA supporters to be angry about this, or that the VRT would be called very biased about this. I mean terms like "fake media" are getting more & more popular, and while there is a political strategy behind it ("illegitamizing their claims and content by repeating it as often"), they've a point that some media isn't neutral, very biased and a danger to us, but it would be pretty naive to think that the same doesn't apply to other media like FOX that might be more approving of their politics. The best approach might be the middle-on-the-road one on this, but it isn't a clear and easy ethical issue to deal with. It definitely has worsened over the last 20 years as well. I might give you an example: a tv-series like Friends or (a Belgian example) F.C. De Kampioenen wouldn't been possible anymore because the content of it would be too sexist for current-era norms. I'm a bit torn between "the big brother is watching you"-society and "it's shocking that there are still people who basically want to resurrect nazism from the ashes and have so much success with it because they have political talent". They both frighten me a lot.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on October 17, 2018, 04:11:05 am
S&V definitely engage in framing themselves, but I think there is a difference between a political organization (which S&V is, even though they call themselves 'metapolitical') presenting itself in the best possible way - which is something all political organizations do - and a documentary by a public broadcaster broadcasting a documentary clearly aimed at portraying said political movement in the worst possible way by using framing techniques - the music, the continuous use of the word 'secret' rather than 'private' groups, the insinuations...

A political organization seeking to have as many people as possible run for and be elected to offices in which people exert power is not 'infiltration', it is part of the political game played by every serious political actor. The term 'infiltration' was a frame too.

Otherwise: no doubt some of the memes were extremely tasteless (the Holocaust isn't funny), and no doubt they made a serious mistake by saying such things in a Discord group with almost 200 people. They partly have themselves to blame. But I don't think S&V are neo-Nazis. They're nationalists who dislike the establishment, like edginess and, because they are all young men, like the competition of who can think of the most edgy and controversial things. Which is not smart and an extremely bad look when it becomes public (and they have themselves to blame for it), but a serious threat to anybody or to democracy it is not. And something tells me Pano is more interested in unveiling supposed scandals on the right than on the left or in Islamist circles.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 17, 2018, 09:18:56 am
I think there is a lot of difference between "nationalists" in general and S&V. I also disagree with the "whataboutism" of the right-wing. What S&V did is wrong. I'm quite sure they didn't plan terrorist attacks, but the core of that group was at least radicalized, DVL is a dangerous demagogue who isn't the person as he project to the outside world he is. I don't think we should minimize (or even legitimate) the danger of people who like to be as edgy as it could get. They said theirselves they wanted to do meta-politics, infriltrating in key organizations or moderate right-wing movements in order to shift the public opinion to the right and create an environment where populist demagogues like DVL would thrive in. It's been said black-on-white on those private chat groups by them. But they got caught, and it unveiled a danger that is still present today (or even more now than before), because there has been a clear rise by populist movements (like Trump), identitarian groups. Of course, partly because the establishment have failed to provide the people what they need, and are ignorant to some problems we face right now.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 20, 2018, 10:35:18 am
Patrick Dupriez has resigned as ECOLO co-president despite their good results. Looks like the way is opening for new Ixelles mayor Doulkeridis. Although him not being from Wallonia might be a setback, and ECOLO will want to push forward a charismatic figure there to rival Hedebouw and Magnette in debates for the next election.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 23, 2018, 05:45:49 am
I'd thought I'd do a little tour of Brussels and the results here. Sources are mostly the excellent coverage at Bruzz and some academic docs from CAIRN. The general trend of the region was a significant swing to the left parties, mostly because of MR's inability to disassociate themselves with the Federal coalition and the N-VA at the doorstep, leading to their rout (only Uccle and Etterbeek have MR mayors, and Uccle they need support from the Greens). And MR also are associated with the pro-car policy. ECOLO were the big "winners", followed by PTB. Défi stopped dead in its tracks. N-VA underperformed compared to their polls, being only really present in more Flemish districts. In general, it was a bad night for the Flemish parties (outside of Groen)

Brussels-City

()

In Brussels-City, the incumbent PS figure Philippe Close is set to remain mayor, seemingly surviving the SamuSocial scandal by conducting a low profile (especially compared to his predecessor Yvan Mayeur) campaign. He will form a majority with big winners ECOLO, change.brussels (an sp.a "open" list that was dissident against the PS led by an ex-councillor who resigned in protest at SamuSocial) The real loser was MR and Alain Courtois, whose management of the national stadium supposed to be built at the Parking C of Heizel led to national embarrassement. PS and Ecolo have since invited Défi into their protracted majority in what could be a test drive of the next Brussels regional government.    

Schaerbeek

()

In Schaerbeek, Defi Mayor Bernard Clerfayt and his "Mayor's List" had already announced he would renew a coalition with ECOLO-groen (they had a pre-electoral accord) and ditch cdH from his majority. ECOLO-groen followed up the promise by winning an extra 10% off their main rivals in Schaebeek, the PS. The latter had totally lost its way following the resignation of Brussels (and Lasne) strongwoman Laurette Onkelinkx and led a miserable campaign. Brussels' second largest (and often forgotten) commune was first under the leadership of far right FDF then FN populist Roger Nols until he resigned (after he reportedly didn't want his wife to succeed him having found her engaged in a threesome with two police officers, while in presence of the chief commissioner and two aldermen). Thanks to demographics (Schaerbeek has a sizeable Balkan and Turk diaspora) the PS conquered Schaerbeek back, but when they lost their majority in 2006 ECOLO and cdH ditched them for Clerfayt, who rebuilt the image of the FDF in the commune as a party capable of intercultural dialogue coupled with serious policies. But its mainly Clerfayt's personal popularity with the middle class suburbs heading towards Evere that also plays a major role here.

Anderlecht

()

In Anderlecht, there was a strange pre-electoral "agreement" that wasn't between the PS and the MR going into the election, with the real fight being who becomes mayor, PS's Eric Thomas or MR's Gaeten van Goidsenhoven. The latter won the more preference votes, but the former will remain mayor after Ecolo-Groen agreed with the PS-spa to oust MR from the majority. Along with cdh (who are part of the PS list here) and Défi (who ran a half-serious campaign with the landlady of Anderlecht’s supporters club), Thomas has enough political capital to do withoiut the liberals. N-VA lost their second seat here, a major blow when you consider the reputation of some far right parts of Anderlecht and their football team.

Molenbeek

()

The results in Molenbeek saw the return of the Moureaux family and the PS as potential leaders of the commune, at the expense of the MR and Francoise Schepmans. Schepmans had won a shock result in 2012 due to the sheer negligence exposed of Phillippe Moureaux in his clientelism with certain islamist “ASBL” (NGOs) and severely indebting the commune. Moureaux used to be anti-immigration in the 1980s, intially seizing power through a strong connection with working class white factory workers from the Osseghem districts, with Molenbeek being dubbed “little Manchester”. As demographics evolved and terrassed housing shot up in value, causing white flight with it, Moureaux centred on providing social housing the ASBL and setting up clientlist networks accross the inner city part of the commune with newcomers, becoming a figure of the hard left of the PS at the regional level. Schepmans overturned his grip in large part thanks to the Western part of Molenbeek (which is high income) and ECOLO breaking down. Now Moureaux’s daughter, Catherine, has reconquered what should be bread and butter for the PS. Indeed, pictures of her being hoisted up by the local Morroccan community with a rose leaders led to N-VA’s Theo Francken wondering “where the women were”.

Ixelles
()
Ixelles had the biggest “shock” of the night with Dominique Dufourny losing her Mayor’s Scarf to ECOLO’s Doulderikis. I say shock, Ixelles is 50-50 Belgian/Immigrant commune with a bizarre mix of the Congolese district Matongé (although Dufourny is quite popular with the small business owning diaspora there), the European yuppies and low level fonctionnaires, hipster central Flagey, parts near Avenue Louise (which is a chique district, but the street Avenue Louise itself is in Brussels-city, standard Brussels surrealism) and a residential enclave west with Molière street full of hot shot lawyers and embassies. The emphasis on small enterprise as the lifeblood of the Ixelles economy meant that MR were actually slightly favoured here, but Dufourny’s management of the car circulation plans (especially around Porte de namur) and her strict rules of noise pollution at night in Flagey (to name but two issues)  made her unpopular with an increasingly young demographic and ECOLO controlled these agendas perfectly.

  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Omega21 on October 23, 2018, 08:16:40 am
I'd thought I'd do a little tour of Brussels and the results here. Sources are mostly the excellent coverage at Bruzz and some academic docs from CAIRN. The general trend of the region was a significant swing to the left parties, mostly because of MR's inability to disassociate themselves with the Federal coalition and the N-VA at the doorstep, leading to their rout (only Uccle and Etterbeek have MR mayors, and Uccle they need support from the Greens). And MR also are associated with the pro-car policy. ECOLO were the big "winners", followed by PTB. Défi stopped dead in its tracks. N-VA underperformed compared to their polls, being only really present in more Flemish districts. In general, it was a bad night for the Flemish parties (outside of Groen)

Brussels-City

()

In Brussels-City, the incumbent PS figure Philippe Close is set to remain mayor, seemingly surviving the SamuSocial scandal by conducting a low profile (especially compared to his predecessor Yvan Mayeur) campaign. He will form a majority with big winners ECOLO, change.brussels (an sp.a "open" list that was dissident against the PS led by an ex-councillor who resigned in protest at SamuSocial) The real loser was MR and Alain Courtois, whose management of the national stadium supposed to be built at the Parking C of Heizel led to national embarrassement. PS and Ecolo have since invited Défi into their protracted majority in what could be a test drive of the next Brussels regional government.    

Schaerbeek

()

In Schaerbeek, Defi Mayor Bernard Clerfayt and his "Mayor's List" had already announced he would renew a coalition with ECOLO-groen (they had a pre-electoral accord) and ditch cdH from his majority. ECOLO-groen followed up the promise by winning an extra 10% off their main rivals in Schaebeek, the PS. The latter had totally lost its way following the resignation of Brussels (and Lasne) strongwoman Laurette Onkelinkx and led a miserable campaign. Brussels' second largest (and often forgotten) commune was first under the leadership of far right FDF then FN populist Roger Nols until he resigned (after he reportedly didn't want his wife to succeed him having found her engaged in a threesome with two police officers, while in presence of the chief commissioner and two aldermen). Thanks to demographics (Schaerbeek has a sizeable Balkan and Turk diaspora) the PS conquered Schaerbeek back, but when they lost their majority in 2006 ECOLO and cdH ditched them for Clerfayt, who rebuilt the image of the FDF in the commune as a party capable of intercultural dialogue coupled with serious policies. But its mainly Clerfayt's personal popularity with the middle class suburbs heading towards Evere that also plays a major role here.

Anderlecht

()

In Anderlecht, there was a strange pre-electoral "agreement" that wasn't between the PS and the MR going into the election, with the real fight being who becomes mayor, PS's Eric Thomas or MR's Gaeten van Goidsenhoven. The latter won the more preference votes, but the former will remain mayor after Ecolo-Groen agreed with the PS-spa to oust MR from the majority. Along with cdh (who are part of the PS list here) and Défi (who ran a half-serious campaign with the landlady of Anderlecht’s supporters club), Thomas has enough political capital to do withoiut the liberals. N-VA lost their second seat here, a major blow when you consider the reputation of some far right parts of Anderlecht and their football team.

Molenbeek

()

The results in Molenbeek saw the return of the Moureaux family and the PS as potential leaders of the commune, at the expense of the MR and Francoise Schepmans. Schepmans had won a shock result in 2012 due to the sheer negligence exposed of Phillippe Moureaux in his clientelism with certain islamist “ASBL” (NGOs) and severely indebting the commune. Moureaux used to be anti-immigration in the 1980s, intially seizing power through a strong connection with working class white factory workers from the Osseghem districts, with Molenbeek being dubbed “little Manchester”. As demographics evolved and terrassed housing shot up in value, causing white flight with it, Moureaux centred on providing social housing the ASBL and setting up clientlist networks accross the inner city part of the commune with newcomers, becoming a figure of the hard left of the PS at the regional level. Schepmans overturned his grip in large part thanks to the Western part of Molenbeek (which is high income) and ECOLO breaking down. Now Moureaux’s daughter, Catherine, has reconquered what should be bread and butter for the PS. Indeed, pictures of her being hoisted up by the local Morroccan community with a rose leaders led to N-VA’s Theo Francken wondering “where the women were”.

Ixelles
()
Ixelles had the biggest “shock” of the night with Dominique Dufourny losing her Mayor’s Scarf to ECOLO’s Doulderikis. I say shock, Ixelles is 50-50 Belgian/Immigrant commune with a bizarre mix of the Congolese district Matongé (although Dufourny is quite popular with the Congolese diaspora there), the European yuppies and low level fonctionnaires, hipster central Flagey, parts near Avenue Louise (which is a chique district, but the street Avenue Louise itself is in Brussels-city, standard Brussels surrealism) and a residential enclave west with Molière street full of hot shot lawyers and embassies. The emphasis on small enterprise as the lifeblood of the Ixelles economy meant that MR were actually slightly favoured here, but Dufourny’s management of the car circulation plans (especially around Porte de namur) and her strict rules of noise pollution at night in Flagey (to name but two issues)  made her unpopular with an increasingly young demographic and ECOLO controlled these agendas perfectly.

  


Wait wait wait...

So the ruling party got 3% in the local elections?

That's very interesting.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 23, 2018, 08:37:55 am
This is Brussels. Flemish parties barely hit 5%. In local elections they do even worse because they don't have the college vote effect that makes a vote for them worth more than for a francophone party at regional level.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 23, 2018, 09:07:00 am
Uccle

()

Uccle saw the MR majority it had held for years flounder for the first time. Boris Dilles will keep the mayor’s scarf but only thanks to cdH and ECOLO help. Uccle is most famous in Brussels for being a French expat haven, that is almost a village inside the city due to its total isolation from most means of public transport. Its reputation as a superrich district is only partly true though : district nearer to Ixelles and especially Forest are home to terraced housing and even council housing in the latter case. MR lost due to the previous mayor’s Armand Dedecker Kazakhgate scandal  also due to a dissident liberal list called Uccle en Avant, and has generally suffered from factionalism in the past. PS also lost big time.

Forest

()

In Forest, ECOLO also stunned the local PS in a commune known as being an extension of Saint-Gilles and their mayor Charles Picqué’s sphere of influence. He owned the local football team (Union Saint-Gilles...yeah) and the place is home to sizeable Hispanic diasporas with cultural left-wing ties, and an increasing young Eurocrat type demographic. It still also has Forest-Est as one of the most “troubled” Brussels districts, which is bread and butter for PS and PTB. Note the presence of the Audi factory, which is actually a point of contention by many in the commune itself as something like 95% of the employees there live outside of the commune

Woluwe-St-Lambert

()

Woluwe-Saint-Lambert was a procession for Défi’s lider maximo Olivier Maingain. He’s been running this commune for years effectively, draws a lot of his support here by lobbying for their interests at all levels of power and he will renew his "charity" coalition with a weakened cdH-CD&V list.


Saint-Gilles

()

Saint-Gilles was slighlty less of a procession for former PS heavyweight and Minister-President Charles Picqué. being the alternative left-liberal district par exellence, ECOLO and especially PTB made gains against Picqué’s PS-MR mayor’s list. He can choose now between renewing the PS-MR coalition or opting for ECOLO-groen, and looks set to do the latter. Given MR are the biggest losers it makes sense.

Jette

()

Jette is a small commune in the upper north of Brussels where nothing much happens. Their relationship with the Ring and its congestion, economy, etc. tends to dominate the debate there, but Hervé Doyen has built a successful career representing their interests at a Brussels regional level and as a result is reconducted with a 9% increase in his vote. PS are the big losers with -8%.

Etterbeek

()

Etterbeek saw Vincent de Wolf, long time “strong”man of Brussels MR and ally (stooge) of Charles Michel, maintain his mayorality due to the sizeable high income professionals (including European district) that tend to back MR, as well as a certain savinness De Wolf has in matters of ecology and urban planning. Ecolo made progress highly linked to Co-President Khattabi’s personal popularity in the Germoir/Trone and student districts of Etterbeek. But this result strengthens De Wolf against his internal rival Didier Reynders who neglected the Brussels-wide campaign.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 24, 2018, 05:08:22 am
Woluwe-Saint-Pierre

()

Woluwe-St-Pierre is the domain of Brussels baron Benoit Cerexhe, who just so happens to be cdH. This is the only reason they do remotely well here. He lost his majority last election but managed to hang on thanks ECOLO and Défi support. This time though he held off the MR assault thanks to their shocking performance. Woluwe-St-Pierre is in between European inner city and American style suburb, sort of what Londoners call a village. Professional class workers and some embassies scattered  around here.

Evere

()

Evere is another strange commune that doesn’t quite pass off as a suburb in its centre, but still resembles a London-style village in some parts, but much poorer than the neighbouring Woluwes. Its also home to a host of Multinational headquarters in its industrial park, and PS Minister-President Rudi Vervoort. No chance then this time round of his electorate abandoning his potential influence as the Minister-President of the Region, but Evere could become the “new Schaerbeek” as Brussels expands, causing potential problems for his hold here.

Auderghem

()

Auderghem is the entry point into Southern Brussels via the E411, and its massive viaduc Hermann-Debroux is an eyesore that the people want rid of in what would otherwise be considered a nice commune. Here Didier Gosuin of Défi is the King, having conquered an absolute majority on several occasions (seeing off multiple high profile challengers over the years). Cracks are starting to show in the Gosuin empire though : his list lost 11% and this was one of the few communes MR progressed in. Nevertheless, like his counterparts Clerfayt and Maingain, he’s still the undisputed Baron of the commune due to their ability to work the regional structures for their communes, balance budgets, reduce communal taxes and “get” urban issues (unlike MR) He will reconduct an alliance with ECOLO-groen despite not even needing them. Worth also noting that the N-VA’s decision to run here cost the only Flemish alderman - who worked closely with Gosuin of all people - to lose their seat,. As the most Francophone commune of the Brussels, this is a self-inflicted blow for the Flemish movement.

Saint-Josse

()

Saint-Josse is, unlike Auderghem, as inner city as it gets, with the smallest area of the communes, and lodged outside the old city walls. Its known as a Turkish/Balkan district, its  and its cramped housing and prostitution industry. The Turkish community has ensured that Emir Kir has stayed in power, a man known by some fellow PS officials as “the extreme-right socialist”. His refusal to honour the Armenian Genocide commemoration in the Federal parliament earned him a Turkish nationalist reputation. With allegations of Grey Wolves in both his and ECOLO’s (lower) ranks, this commune’s election quickly turned into a referendum on Emir Kir’s inferiority identity complex. ECOLO-groen’s support comes from Flemish yuppies (very near Flemish parliament, and Groen do well here in Federals), European young workers and actually every right to left-wing person who wants Kir gone.

Watermael-Boitsfort


()

Watermael-Boitsfort was the subject of much drama last election. The Payfa family had dominated here for years, and the latest incarnation, Martine, thought she was a dead cert for mayor after then ECOLO president Olivier Deleuze failed to beat her preference vote. But he managed to end her 18 year reign via a sensational electoral night alliance with cdH and MR. This year was a much more laid back affair, with Deleuze confident of re-election and touting an alliance with his old Defi foe anyway. It turned into a sour night for the retiring Payfa, who saw Deleuze climb 11% in one of Brussels richest communes (bar a couple of council estates).

Berchem-Sainte-Agathe


()

Berchem-Sainte--Agathe in another North-western suburb where the Christian pillar traditionally does well due to their traditional implantation there. Joel Riguelles should hold on to his mayorality despite significant loss switching from VLD+MR to PS-sp.a and Ecolo-Groen. THis may also be the only commune where both PS and MR actually beat their previous scores.

Ganshoren

()

Ganshoren, saw a bizzarre election where the two main contenders had already a pre-elecotral accord, and it was just a case of seeing who got the Mayor’s scarf. It turned out to be Pierre Kompany, the father of footballer Vincent Kompany, becoming the first Black African mayor of Belgium. He led a cdH-CD&V list that usually ensures decent results at all levels (high density of catholic educated in this corner of Brussels).

Koekelberg

()

Koekelberg is Brussels smallest district, essentially comprising of the namesake Catherdral (now turned into a cabaret and potentially a gym) and its surroundings but it was witnessed a minor revolution in a loss for long time MR mayor Phillippe Pivin, paving the way for Ahmed Laaouej to take the mayorship and consolidate his position as designated head of the Brussels PS after Onkelinkx’s departure.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on October 30, 2018, 04:20:09 pm
It seems the PS are really trying to use the post-local election negotiations in major communes to attack PTB...First in Charleroi where Magnette opened discussions but is now reluctant saying PTB need to remember who the largest party is. And now surprisingly in Molenbeek, where Catherine Moureaux, whose father was renowned as being on the left of the left of the PS, has decided to end negotiations with them and opt for a coalition with old rival Francoise Schepmans, opting for a stable coalition rather than a protracted 4 party one. Its unclear what capacity Schepmans will take, but it will be an unpopular move in both party headquarters.

The more broad implication is that the PS and PTB are not as compatible as previously thought. And PS are trying to emphasise that PTB are incapable of government, while PTB claim PS is a party machinery with pre-electoral schemes. 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on October 31, 2018, 10:37:54 am
Ecolo also has said "no" to a progressive coalition in Molenbeek, saying that's it wasn't up to them to join a coalition. I think it was a good move from both PTB and Ecolo to not enter coalition. The Grand Coalition between MR and PS won't make them popular as they were each other's rivals in Molenbeek and campaigned with: "vote for us if you don't want the other one in office", and now they end up with both being in office.

It tells you a lot about PS if you know that the much weaker PVDA in Flanders is capable of governing in Zelzate and Borgerhout with s.pa (and in Borgerhout also Groen), but if coalitions with PS doesn't turn out to work in Wallonia. The PS is often so big that they actually don't need PTB and they use the PTB the same way N-VA uses the Vlaams Belang to prove that a vote for the extremes is a vote thrown away.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on November 07, 2018, 07:27:16 am
Ecolo also has said "no" to a progressive coalition in Molenbeek, saying that's it wasn't up to them to join a coalition. I think it was a good move from both PTB and Ecolo to not enter coalition. The Grand Coalition between MR and PS won't make them popular as they were each other's rivals in Molenbeek and campaigned with: "vote for us if you don't want the other one in office", and now they end up with both being in office.

It tells you a lot about PS if you know that the much weaker PVDA in Flanders is capable of governing in Zelzate and Borgerhout with s.pa (and in Borgerhout also Groen), but if coalitions with PS doesn't turn out to work in Wallonia. The PS is often so big that they actually don't need PTB and they use the PTB the same way N-VA uses the Vlaams Belang to prove that a vote for the extremes is a vote thrown away.



Very true. I still think the PS's strategy of ditching PTB for MR is more risky in places like Liège, Molenbeek, etc where the local PS branches are (culturally at least) hard left. That they do it in Wavre doesn't really matter. But if they actually go for the Purple coalition in the long run instead of the Progressive coalition...big mistake for both PS and MR.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on November 10, 2018, 09:45:43 am
The far-left get into power in the Flemish commune of Zelzate.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on November 20, 2018, 07:35:57 am
Looks like sp.a are continuing on their slow path to utter irrelevance by entering a potential coalition with N-VA in Antwerp.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on November 20, 2018, 07:52:07 am
Looks like sp.a are continuing on their slow path to utter irrelevance by entering a potential coalition with N-VA in Antwerp.

I don't understand why they are doing this. They don't seem to get it. It won't be long before we don't even have a social democratic party anymore.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on November 21, 2018, 03:02:12 am
Looks like sp.a are continuing on their slow path to utter irrelevance by entering a potential coalition with N-VA in Antwerp.

I don't understand why they are doing this. They don't seem to get it. It won't be long before we don't even have a social democratic party anymore.

I mean, for the sake of the federal and regional, it is standard behaviour for the social democratic pillar to enter government for the reasons I outlined above when describing "patricien" parties. Its why spa joined the original Flemish  CD+V/N-VA government in 2010

But Antwerp is a low gains, high publicity level of power that sp.a doesn't need to get involved in with now. For all De Wever's rhetoric he has very little influence as mayor over the subjects that actually dominate in Antwerp's national political exposure.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 03, 2018, 09:33:58 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/03/compact-on-migration-stormy-weather-for-belgian-cabinet/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/03/compact-on-migration-stormy-weather-for-belgian-cabinet/)

Quote
Compact on Migration: stormy weather for Belgian cabinet

Bart De Wever, the leader of Belgium's biggest party, has said that the UN Compact on Migration is unacceptable for the Flemish nationalist party, the N-VA.  Mr De Wever told newsmen that he didn't think the compact was worth bringing down the government and that he hoped to avoid the fall of the government.

The compact is supposed to be signed next week, but the Flemish nationalists don't want PM Charles Michel to put his signature to this document at the signing ceremony in Marrakech.  Reservations about the compact surfaced recently.  All three other government parties support it and have proposed adding a document to say how Belgian judges should interpret it, but this cannot satisfy the N-VA.

The Belgian inner cabinet met on Monday afternoon to seek a way out of the impasse that could threaten its very existence. This morning PM Michel remained optimistic: "It's not impossible to find a solution!"

Mr De Wever points to the legal implications of the document: "It's non-binding, but will that serve as an argument in court?  The fact that the EU is no longer pursuing push back policies on refugees is the result of a court decision, not a political one."

It's possible that the government might fall over this topic, and call snap elections (we have elections in may however already).

Other news:
65,000 take part in Belgium’s biggest ever climate demonstration (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/02/65-000-take-part-in-belgiums-biggest-ever-climate-demonstration/)

"Hi-Viz" protesters pelt police with fire bombs, many Walloon fuel depots remain closed (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/11/24/hi-viz-protesters-pelt-police-with-fire-bombs-many-walloon-fu/)

82 people detained after Friday’s rioting during the Brussels Hi-Viz demonstration (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/01/82-people-detained-after-fridays-rioting-during-the-brussels-hi/)

There is a saying that goes as following: When it thunders in Paris, it rains in Brussels, and this is what we see that the French protests have spread towards French-speaking Belgium and Brussels regions, with smaller protests in the North. There have been riots in Brussels and Charleroi as well last week.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 04, 2018, 01:28:46 pm
Could the UN Migration Pact cause the Belgian Government to fall? (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/04/could-the-un-migration-pact-cause-the-belgian-government-to-fall/)

Tension has continued to mount between the parties that form Belgium’s Federal Government. The bone of contention is the UN Migration Pact that is due to be signed in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh next Monday. The Flemish nationalists are vigorously opposed to the pact, while the three other parties that make up the federal coalition (the Flemish and Francophone liberals and the Flemish Christian democrats) are in favour of Belgian signing up to the pact.

The tension has been ignited still further as the Flemish nationalists launched a campaign against the migration pact on social media (see below).

()

Experts nominated by parties from both the coalition and the opposition gave their interpretation of what signing up to the Migration Pact would mean before a special meeting of the Federal Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday. The diplomat Jean-Luc Bodson (photo below) who had represented Belgium at the negotiations for the UN Migration Pact also addressed the Select Committee. Mr Bodson said that “everything that Belgium had asked for had been included in the Pact”.     


However, some legal experts fear that “activists” among their colleagues could use the Migration Pact as a weapon to initiate long-drawn out legal proceedings to obtain leave to remain in Belgium for people that under the present rules would be denied it. This view is backed by the largest party in the federal coalition, the Flemish nationalist. The party launched a campaign against the pact on social media. The campaign was criticised by both the opposition and the nationalists’ partners in the Federal Government.     

The party fears that if Belgium signs up to the Migration pact illegal immigration would no longer be able to be sanctioned and that every immigrant would be given automatic access to social security and other provision from day 1.  Furthermore, the party believes that passages in the Pact that state that migrants should be allowed to retain their own culture would undermine efforts to integrate them into Flemish/Belgian society. The nationalists also refuse to accept country-specific side notes being added to allay some of their fears as they believe than in practice they wouldn’t be worth the paper they’re written on.


Opinion is also divided on whether or not the Migration Pact would be legally binding.  The Flemish Christian democrats slammed the nationalists‘ social media campaign saying that you can’t on the one hand sit at the negotiating while at the same time be campaigning against the very thing you are negotiating about.  The Flemish greens called on the nationalists to end their campaign of hate.

At around 4pm the nationalists withdrew their campaign advertisements from social media.

Meanwhile, the Flemish liberals have suggested that the Federal Parliament could approve the Migration Pact with an alternative majority made up of MPs from parties from the coalition (but without the Flemish nationalists) and the opposition.

However, the question on everyone’s lips is whether a compromise can still be found between the four coalition parties. A cabinet meeting has already been postponed to allow the Prime Minister Charles Michel time to continue bilateral talks with the coalition parties.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: DavidB. on December 04, 2018, 02:06:31 pm
If the N-VA pull out of the coalition now, it seems to me that it would be really difficult to build a new coalition with MR, Open VLD and CD&V after the federal election - or is the coalition basically done anyway?

Regardless, a really difficult situation for the N-VA. Not sure it was smart for them to go high profile with this and to oppose the agreement if there was no chance Belgium would actually pull out: Belgium signing it anyway would seem like the N-VA caving in. It would be the perfect proof for VB to claim that the N-VA don't get anything done and are spineless (can see that "de verandering werkt" or "de kracht van verandering" coming back like a boomerang). On the other hand, the N-VA might be able to minimize the damage if they get to oppose the Compact in a parliamentary vote, which will presumably lead to a clear majority for Marrakesh either way.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on December 04, 2018, 03:59:45 pm
At this hour, it seems that there will not be an agreement in the government. So the NVA should quit the government.

wow ! I'm surprised. "Abstention" by Belgium seemed to me a good agreement to preserve the NVA in the majority but NVA is in full campaign mod. I'm curious to see if there will be consequences for Antwerp (and ninove). 


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Umengus on December 04, 2018, 04:01:22 pm
At this hour, it seems that there will not be an agreement in the government. So the NVA should quit the government.

wow ! I'm surprised. "Abstention" by Belgium seemed to me a good agreement to preserve the NVA in the majority but NVA is in full campaign mod. I'm curious to see if there will be consequences for Antwerp (and ninove). 

"Ce n'est qu'en octobre, lorsque le chancelier autrichien Sebastian Kurz annoncera le retrait de son pays, que la N-VA a exprimé ses réticences."

lol


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 04, 2018, 04:49:31 pm
I think they've made a gaffe, because it seems like the pact is going to be signed anyway. They've brought the topic in the spotlights, but the far-right was able to campaign hard on it, and it was a succesful campaign, and i think the N-VA felt the need to defend their right-wing flank, but now they have two problems. The backlash might've pushed some voters back to OVLD en CD&V, while the right flank might not be satisfied at all, because the prime minister is travelling to Marrakesh and most likely the liberal and christian democratic parties in the government will have the additional support of the left-wing opposition parties.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 05, 2018, 04:11:59 am
The party that comes off worse off than this, is of course, MR, who are basically being subject to the exact narrative that the opposition had concocted i.e that they are the stooges of the N-VA. They're heading for total obliteration in Brussels and potentially losing their majority in Wallonia (although they should still hold up well). N-VA chief "mistake" is humiliating the one relevant ally they had. It might be a calculated move to put regional decentralisation back on the agenda.

We are heading for a political blockage on a higher scale than 2010-2012 IMO. All three regions will vote differently or have different party configurations. Unless liberals+greens+christian democrats can form an interesting majority, it looks very bad...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: mgop on December 05, 2018, 08:41:01 am
lets hope that this regime that use water cannons and tear gas against own citizens will fall as soon as possible


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 05, 2018, 09:32:17 am
If the N-VA pull out of the coalition now, it seems to me that it would be really difficult to build a new coalition with MR, Open VLD and CD&V after the federal election - or is the coalition basically done anyway?

Just to answer this - the coalition has been "done" for a while now, in the sense that it was noted throughout the spring and summer that they had an inability agree on certain reforms that were expected (the local election did not help) and sure enough they did nothing on major decisions like energy etc. once they were back. Agreeing the budget was hard enough exercise as it is and it looks like the establishment parties are growing a backbone against the N-VA.

For a while it looked like the N-VA were contemplating a tactical collapse to time it right on the day of the local elections in order for them to try to gain in those levels of power where they still have trouble. But now it seems they are more intent on just doing anything to not get outflanked by VB on immigration.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 05, 2018, 10:58:47 am
The party that comes off worse off than this, is of course, MR, who are basically being subject to the exact narrative that the opposition had concocted i.e that they are the stooges of the N-VA. They're heading for total obliteration in Brussels and potentially losing their majority in Wallonia (although they should still hold up well). N-VA chief "mistake" is humiliating the one relevant ally they had. It might be a calculated move to put regional decentralisation back on the agenda.

We are heading for a political blockage on a higher scale than 2010-2012 IMO. All three regions will vote differently or have different party configurations. Unless liberals+greens+christian democrats can form an interesting majority, it looks very bad...

The coalition in Antwerp and the opening PS left for a PS - N-VA hints towards a soc dem + liberal + nationalist coalition possibly. The possibility of a green + liberal + national coalition is now very unlikely, which some thought (incl. myself) was one of the most plausible scenario's, but after what happened in Antwerp and now in recent days, i think that option is off the table, especially because Ecolo is even more fiercely against N-VA than the Greens.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 05, 2018, 11:26:14 am
The party that comes off worse off than this, is of course, MR, who are basically being subject to the exact narrative that the opposition had concocted i.e that they are the stooges of the N-VA. They're heading for total obliteration in Brussels and potentially losing their majority in Wallonia (although they should still hold up well). N-VA chief "mistake" is humiliating the one relevant ally they had. It might be a calculated move to put regional decentralisation back on the agenda.

We are heading for a political blockage on a higher scale than 2010-2012 IMO. All three regions will vote differently or have different party configurations. Unless liberals+greens+christian democrats can form an interesting majority, it looks very bad...

The coalition in Antwerp and the opening PS left for a PS - N-VA hints towards a soc dem + liberal + nationalist coalition possibly. The possibility of a green + liberal + national coalition is now very unlikely, which some thought (incl. myself) was one of the most plausible scenario's, but after what happened in Antwerp and now in recent days, i think that option is off the table, especially because Ecolo is even more fiercely against N-VA than the Greens.

Very little chance the PS joins a federal coalition with N-VA after losing an election from bleeding voters to its left. What opening have PS left to N-VA since the failed 2010-2012 negotiation period?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 06, 2018, 05:59:06 pm
“I’m going to Marrakech, but I’ll respect the constitution” (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/06/_i_m-going-to-marrakech-but-ill-respect-the-constitution/)

Quote
Mr Michel told lawmakers that he would attend the UN gathering in Morocco to represent the views of the Belgian Parliament: “I’m the PM and I’m going to Marrakech because I don’t want an empty chair.  As PM I realise the constitution isn’t a scrap of paper.  I will have to ensure I defend my view in cabinet.”

Commentators suggest that Mr Michel’s words have bought him time and that the door has not been slammed in the face of the Flemish nationalists. The government is still in office and the Flemish nationalists have not walked out.

Government parties are divided on the issue that is causing a headache for Belgian Premier Charles Michel.  The governing Flemish nationalists oppose the resolution that should be adopted with votes from opposition MPs.  The three other government parties, Francophone and Flemish liberals and Flemish Christian democrats are in favour.

The row puts in question the position of Flemish nationalist ministers in the federal government.

In the debate preceding the vote on a resolution on the UN's Global Compact on Migration the governing Flemish nationalist N-VA claimed it was totally unclear what the vote was about because only the government could decide to sign the compact: "Parliament has no powers in this respect N-VA floor leader Peter De Roover said.  Mr De Roover asked the Prime Minister to state clearly whether on Monday he would make it clear that there is no consensus on the global compact in the Belgian government and cannot approve the compact.

The governing Flemish Christian democrats gave PM Michel a mandate to sign up to the compact in Marrakech on Monday and later in the month in New York.  The party insists that the PM would be acting on behalf of the government and of Belgium. Flemish Christian democrat leader Wouter Beke rejected claims that the compact had never been discussed at political level pointing to the support the Flemish nationalist asylum secretary had given the compact in parliament in April.  The same goes for the Belgian foreign minister.

For the Flemish liberals the government has already decided to approve the compact: those wanting to reverse this decision should draw their own conclusions: accept the fact or pull out of the government.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 07, 2018, 02:58:39 am
The party that comes off worse off than this, is of course, MR, who are basically being subject to the exact narrative that the opposition had concocted i.e that they are the stooges of the N-VA. They're heading for total obliteration in Brussels and potentially losing their majority in Wallonia (although they should still hold up well). N-VA chief "mistake" is humiliating the one relevant ally they had. It might be a calculated move to put regional decentralisation back on the agenda.

We are heading for a political blockage on a higher scale than 2010-2012 IMO. All three regions will vote differently or have different party configurations. Unless liberals+greens+christian democrats can form an interesting majority, it looks very bad...

The coalition in Antwerp and the opening PS left for a PS - N-VA hints towards a soc dem + liberal + nationalist coalition possibly. The possibility of a green + liberal + national coalition is now very unlikely, which some thought (incl. myself) was one of the most plausible scenario's, but after what happened in Antwerp and now in recent days, i think that option is off the table, especially because Ecolo is even more fiercely against N-VA than the Greens.

Very little chance the PS joins a federal coalition with N-VA after losing an election from bleeding voters to its left. What opening have PS left to N-VA since the failed 2010-2012 negotiation period?

Ironically, two days after I write that, the N-VA and PS are caught in a joint corruption scandal. Seems there are some dodgy links between an Antwerp construction company (remember what was said about there being an "immocratie" in that city) and a Liège-based pension fund.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 08, 2018, 01:31:59 pm
Teargas and watercannon against Hi-Viz protesters in Brussels (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/08/already-30-arrests-in-brussels/)

Migration Compact: Belgian government meets as fall of government looms (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/08/migration-compact-belgian-government-meets-on-saturday/)

Bannon and Le Pen were also in the country

()

from left to right: Steve Bannon, Tom Van Grieken (chairman of Flemish Interest - far-right), Marine Le Pen (chairwoman of FN and French presidential candidate).

campaign poster translated: Protect Our Europe. Stop UN-suicide pact.

New polling:

Grand Baromètre: Ecolo, premier parti de Bruxelles (https://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/politique/grand-barometre-ecolo-premier-parti-de-bruxelles-1083126.aspx)

N-VA largest in Flanders and make gains since provincial elections back again. CD&V lose a bit. Far-right and far-left make gains too.
The Greens are the largest in Brussels regions, followed closely by MR.
PS stay largest in French-speaking region, while MR seems to lose a bit. Gains for the Green here as well.

Compared to last elections: losses for traditional parties, while the Greens, far-right, far-left and Défi are projected to make gains in number of seats.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 08, 2018, 02:04:37 pm
Thats not Modrikamen, I think its Radim Fiala



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: SunSt0rm on December 08, 2018, 03:30:30 pm
NVA is out if Michel signs the Marrakesh agreement

De Wever: "If Michel goes to Marrakesh he in fact fired us from the government"


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 08, 2018, 04:01:13 pm
Thats not Modrikamen, I think its Radim Fiala



Okay, you are right. I saw no information on the news websites, and i thought he looked similar to Modrikanen (and knew he had ties with Bannon over the newly formed European group: "The Movement").


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Diouf on December 08, 2018, 04:57:12 pm
NVA is out if Michel signs the Marrakesh agreement

De Wever: "If Michel goes to Marrakesh he in fact fired us from the government"

Charles Michel live presser: "I take note that the N-VA leaves the Swedish majority"


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 08, 2018, 05:27:15 pm
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/08/_road-to-minority-government-being-paved/ (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/08/_road-to-minority-government-being-paved/)

Quote
“Road to minority government being paved”
The UN Global Compact on Migration trips up the present coalition.

Bart De Wever’s Flemish nationalists left Saturday’s extraordinary cabinet meeting called ahead of the UN meeting on the Migration Compact in Marrakech on Monday after thirty minutes.  At a news conference later the nationalists claimed that PM Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) was turfing them out of the government if he travelled to Marrakech on Monday.

The nationalists, Belgium’s biggest party, are the only government party to oppose the UN document.  Earlier the Belgian parliament asked the government to adopt the compact.

Mr Michel told newsmen after the cabinet meeting that he intended to fly to Morocco.

Insiders suggest the most likely outcome is a minority government with the Flemish and Francophone liberals and Flemish Christian democrats soldiering on until next year’s European and federal elections on 26 May.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 08, 2018, 05:28:48 pm
Thats not Modrikamen, I think its Radim Fiala



Okay, you are right. I saw no information on the news websites, and i thought he looked similar to Modrikanen (and knew he had ties with Bannon over the newly formed European group: "The Movement").

Indeed, but while Modrikamen is a hick he's also smart enough to distance himself from VB.

Let's hope that the establishment parties don't form a government for the sake of making it to May. It would be pitting the nationalists against the rest as a cleavage in any upcoming election.


Then again the whole point of this stunt is to have an election solely on the issue of immigration.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: tack50 on December 09, 2018, 07:19:51 am
Looking at the current composition of the Belgian parliament now that N-VA has left, could PS and CdH support the current government so it gets a majority again? Or they have no incentive to do so? (particularly PS)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 09, 2018, 08:43:40 am
Looking at the current composition of the Belgian parliament now that N-VA has left, could PS and CdH support the current government so it gets a majority again? Or they have no incentive to do so? (particularly PS)

cDH probably yes or more, but they won't be part of the government, but will support most measures i think (correct me if i'm wrong)
s.pa has already said that they will be constructive when it needs to, but that they won't offer blank cheques to the minority government. Same does apply for the greens. I assume PS does the same thing here.
N-VA have said to be constructive as well, mostly on issues that were already agreed before.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Laki on December 09, 2018, 08:53:16 am
Some more articles

King Filip has accepted resignation of N-VA ministers (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/09/n-va-has-left-the-government/)

"It won't be a walk in the park" (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/09/it-won-t-be-a-walk-in-the-park/)

"We've been turned out of the government" (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/09/we-ve-been-turned-out-of-the-government/)

Opposition parties offer minority government no blank cheques (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/09/opposition-parties-offer-minority-government-no-blank-cheques/)

"Important crossroads for nationalists" (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/09/important-crossroads-for-nationalists/)

Respect for Open VLD (dutch-speaking liberal), MR (french-speaking liberal) and CD&V (dutch-speaking catholics) for finishing the government, because that will be very hard to do, and will hurt them cause N-VA have now what they want: be in opposition and going after them. It's such a dirty trick to do.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Diouf on December 09, 2018, 10:49:19 am
Is a Luxembourg/Verhofstadt I coalition possible?

I guess, PS would be the most reluctant due to its expected losses towards the left in the election. But maybe di Rupo as PM would sooth that


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14
Post by: Zinneke on December 10, 2018, 03:05:17 am
Looking at the current composition of the Belgian parliament now that N-VA has left, could PS and CdH support the current government so it gets a majority again? Or they have no incentive to do so? (particularly PS)

cDH probably yes or more, but they won't be part of the government, but will support most measures i think (correct me if i'm wrong)

Difficult to say because they have still been critical of the federal government, but at the same time entertain good relations with MR. I think their main objection was the N-VA though so it would not surprise me.

Is a Luxembourg/Verhofstadt I coalition possible?

To pass softer migration policy, yes. Any other policy this close to an election? Basic game theory dictates both the Greens and the PS have a much bigger incentives to not enter such a coalition as a "No True Scotsman" argument going into the election.

And I think VLD have learnt their lesson with Verhofstadt I. Given it took an almighty crisis to get Di Rupo I form and VLD still sat that one out and only supported the state reform, I don't think they would accept another major grand coalition.

Quote
I guess, PS would be the most reluctant due to its expected losses towards the left in the election. But maybe di Rupo as PM would sooth that

No chance Di Rupo returns as PM and very little chance PS get the premiership if VLD stay.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 18, 2018, 10:49:43 am
I have my doubts over this poll. It has big differences with the other poll two weeks ago.

Nationalists remain the biggest in new poll (https://images.vrt.be/width1280/2018/12/18/fdee4bc7-02a6-11e9-abcc-02b7b76bf47f.png)

()

Far-left lose a lot here, but it doesn't make sense, and i have a hard time believing that the Greens will have 16% of the vote. Socialists also only 9% which is also their most terrible poll in three years. Really bad poll for the red political parties or the left-wing in general. Every right-wing party makes gains here, which is weird because usually the opposition gains and that's the left-wing.

Greens top the poll in Brussels (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/18/greens-top-the-poll-in-brussels/)

()

Greens surge a lot, which is weird because the Flemish greens are now independent in Brussels (and even they have 4% of the vote). Good poll for the far-left here. Terrible poll for liberals and social democrats. Communists almost bigger than social democrats. Nationalists gain a bit.

Flemish nationalist Theo Francken is Flanders’ most popular politician (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/18/flemish-nationalist-theo-francken-is-flanders-most-popular-polit/)

()

In French-speaking Belgium, big losses for liberals and social democrats, big gains for communists and greens!

Overall, best poll ever (by far) for the Greens, because in every region they've never polled as high as now.

_____

Poll was partly taken before the government crisis.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 18, 2018, 11:08:51 am
National Bank: “Fall of government would be a bad sign” (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/17/national-bank-_fall-of-government-would-be-a-bad-sign/)

Socialist no confidence motion to bring down Michel II? (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/17/socialist-no-confidence-motion-to-bring-down-michel-ii/)

PM Michel rejects "N-VA blackmail" (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2018/12/17/pm-michel-rejects-n-va-blackmail/)

Government could fall again, and this would cause snap elections in january. They'll probably right now file a motion of no confidence, which seems to be supported by socialists, greens, nationalists, far-left and far-right.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Heat on December 18, 2018, 01:30:53 pm
VLD at 18%, lmao what


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 18, 2018, 02:03:29 pm
Government has fallen. PM goes to the King to file his resignment after only 8 days.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: tack50 on December 18, 2018, 02:24:08 pm
Why do the Flemish Dutch speaking parties even bother with contesting the elections in Brussels? (other than the N-VA of course)

Wouldn't it be better for them to simply endorse their sister Walloon equivalent? (so CD&V endorses CDH, Open VLD endorses MR and sp.a endorses PS)

They have a small percentage of the vote, but they still act as a spoiler for their more relevant Walloon equivalent.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 18, 2018, 02:46:47 pm
Why do the Flemish Dutch speaking parties even bother with contesting the elections in Brussels? (other than the N-VA of course)

Wouldn't it be better for them to simply endorse their sister Walloon equivalent? (so CD&V endorses CDH, Open VLD endorses MR and sp.a endorses PS)

They have a small percentage of the vote, but they still act as a spoiler for their more relevant Walloon equivalent.

Partly because those parties might have a slightly different program than their sister parties, and partly because different people are candidate on a list, and partly because those people might vote for the only Flemish party that contests the elections, instead of voting for their sister party (i think).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 18, 2018, 02:51:38 pm
Apparently, during his last speech, Michel tried to do some concessions to the left, with doing a lot of ambitious leftist proposals that stunned political analists in order to save his government. But it didn't help because the government falls. Snap elections aren't likely though, because the experts said that this is a government in current affairs, which is maybe a good thing, as elections in january (three elections in one year) would have a bit too much, and wouldn't have offered anything as it is very unlikely a government would have formed between january and may (as they would want to wait what the results would have been for regional elections).

The Flemish liberal chairwoman did sent a tweet where she explained (in different words) that she wasn't very happy with the concessions the prime minister offered to the left, so this once again proves that the Flemish liberals are more right-wing on economic issues than the MR.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Zinneke on December 18, 2018, 02:56:52 pm
They don't act as a spoiler because they have their own electoral college and fixed seats guaranteed for them and they are required to form a majority in the Brussels government. (with an exception being made should the far right achieve a majority in the Flemish college, which has happened before with francophone votes and looks like it will happen again).

Some francophone parties sometimes instruct their voters to vote on Flemish lists (mainly the Catholics and greens).

It's to protect the Dutch speaking minority in Brussels. It's a shame though that some parties just use it as a vehicle for their careers and Flemish interests. But i think the Vlaamse Gewest does a good job in Brussels culturally so I am not complaining


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Zinneke on December 18, 2018, 04:00:34 pm
And to link the Brussels absurdism with what is going on now, I think De Wever's plan actually rests on the N-VA gaining traction in Brussels on an anti-immigration platform with his whopping 6% and hoping the Flemish Right join him in holding the capital for ransom in exchange for confederalism, whatever that even is. Otherwise the francophones would be in a position of strength going into the inevitable deadlock.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Lord Halifax on December 18, 2018, 04:05:40 pm
Apparently, during his last speech, Michel tried to do some concessions to the left, with doing a lot of ambitious leftist proposals that stunned political analists in order to save his government. But it didn't help because the government falls. Snap elections aren't likely though, because the experts said that this is a government in current affairs, which is maybe a good thing, as elections in january (three elections in one year) would have a bit too much, and wouldn't have offered anything as it is very unlikely a government would have formed between january and may (as they would want to wait what the results would have been for regional elections).

The Flemish liberal chairwoman did sent a tweet where she explained (in different words) that she wasn't very happy with the concessions the prime minister offered to the left, so this once again proves that the Flemish liberals are more right-wing on economic issues than the MR.

So the government will just continue as a caretaker government until the next election?

"A government in current affairs" is an odd phrase, but I assume it just means a caretaker government.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Zinneke on December 19, 2018, 05:10:24 am
Apparently, during his last speech, Michel tried to do some concessions to the left, with doing a lot of ambitious leftist proposals that stunned political analists in order to save his government. But it didn't help because the government falls. Snap elections aren't likely though, because the experts said that this is a government in current affairs, which is maybe a good thing, as elections in january (three elections in one year) would have a bit too much, and wouldn't have offered anything as it is very unlikely a government would have formed between january and may (as they would want to wait what the results would have been for regional elections).

The Flemish liberal chairwoman did sent a tweet where she explained (in different words) that she wasn't very happy with the concessions the prime minister offered to the left, so this once again proves that the Flemish liberals are more right-wing on economic issues than the MR.

So the government will just continue as a caretaker government until the next election?

"A government in current affairs" is an odd phrase, but I assume it just means a caretaker government.

Yes, it woud be a caretaker government. But the parties still do their best to converge on things like foreign policy that are actually pretty straightforward for a country like Belgium (we went to war with a caretaker government). So it hardly paralyses even the federal institutions and its capacity to act as "Belgium" on the European/international stage.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: N-VA left govt over Marrakesh
Post by: Laki on December 19, 2018, 11:07:46 am
Apparently, during his last speech, Michel tried to do some concessions to the left, with doing a lot of ambitious leftist proposals that stunned political analists in order to save his government. But it didn't help because the government falls. Snap elections aren't likely though, because the experts said that this is a government in current affairs, which is maybe a good thing, as elections in january (three elections in one year) would have a bit too much, and wouldn't have offered anything as it is very unlikely a government would have formed between january and may (as they would want to wait what the results would have been for regional elections).

The Flemish liberal chairwoman did sent a tweet where she explained (in different words) that she wasn't very happy with the concessions the prime minister offered to the left, so this once again proves that the Flemish liberals are more right-wing on economic issues than the MR.

So the government will just continue as a caretaker government until the next election?

"A government in current affairs" is an odd phrase, but I assume it just means a caretaker government.

Yes it's a caretaker government. My english sadly isn't that good. I just saw that our media named it like this in their english articles.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Umengus on December 20, 2018, 03:37:17 pm
Flanders poll

NVA 30
CDV 16
Groen 14
VB 12
VLD 11
SPA 9
PVDA 5



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Zinneke on December 21, 2018, 09:09:12 am
N-VA, sp.a, VLD coalition sealed in Antwerp.

Clever move to do this in the midst of the political crisis.

Bad news for non-car owners in Antwerp though.

EDIT : And the King officially accept Michel's resignation.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Laki on December 21, 2018, 10:31:29 am
N-VA, sp.a, VLD coalition sealed in Antwerp.

Clever move to do this in the midst of the political crisis.

Bad news for non-car owners in Antwerp though.

EDIT : And the King officially accept Michel's resignation.

Greens being criticized for not even wanting to talk with N-VA in Antwerp as they criticize the agreement for it not being green, while they actually had a chance to enter coalition and to work on a "relatively" green agreement.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Laki on December 22, 2018, 02:26:24 pm
N-VA, sp.a, VLD coalition sealed in Antwerp.

Clever move to do this in the midst of the political crisis.

Bad news for non-car owners in Antwerp though.

EDIT : And the King officially accept Michel's resignation.

I don't know, the s.pa seem to get a lot of backfire.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: DavidB. on January 09, 2019, 09:25:15 am
S&V leader Dries Van Langenhove will be the top VB candidate in the province of Vlaams-Brabant in the upcoming federal election, but will supposedly sit as an independent in parliament if elected.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Laki on January 09, 2019, 09:53:37 am
S&V leader Dries Van Langenhove will be the top VB candidate in the province of Vlaams-Brabant in the upcoming federal election, but will supposedly sit as an independent in parliament if elected.
Smart move from Van Grieken. I think he will pull voters away from N-VA and VB lacked a good candidate to contest the elections in the province of Vlaams Brabant against the popular N-VA former secretary of state of immigration Theo Francken. He almost certainly has that seat.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Laki on January 10, 2019, 11:09:42 am
Vlaams Belang to give far right activist parliamentary platform (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/01/10/vlaams-belang-to-give-far-right-activist-parliamentary-platform/)

That interview yesterday will become one of the most notorious ones in Belgian political history. I've never seen something like that. Unfortunately, a lot of you can't speak dutch, but people who speak / understand dutch, definitely watch it! It already has 200k views on YouTube. I've never seen such a hostile / brutal interview, and the attacks by DVL were very direct and brutal while the news anchor / moderator was kind of suggestive as well. The reactions on social media are of course very polarized, but i've literally never seen something like this. I couldn't believe it was happening when i watched it.

The far right activist confirmed he was working on a new media channel: "a news channel that will counter your (VRT) fake news and lies" he told VRT TV.

Especially that part of it (or the Oswald Mosley part of the interview, where he was criticized for quoting Oswald Mosley in a speech).

It's sad however that political parties give little to no chances to young people, and that he can now claim to represent the 'Flemish youth'. He will probably become the youngest member in parliament. (25 years, 26 next year).

Politics is rapidly polarizing everywhere, and Belgium is no exception to it.

Schoolchildren play truant for the climate! (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/01/10/school-children-play-truant-for-the-climate/)

Climate change: “It’s only going to happen when they are dead!” (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/01/10/climate-change-its-only-going-to-happen-when-they-are-dead/)

True heroes for me.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: DavidB. on January 10, 2019, 11:15:39 am
That interview was indeed kind of unreal, especially for someone from the Netherlands who views the Flemish as generally more polite and less direct than us! It was clear the tv lady wanted to do a hitjob on DVL. She was way too hostile and definitely not neutral, erroneously stating that he is broke (which he himself never claimed) and suggesting this would be why he is a candidate for parliament. Of course he wouldn't respond kindly to it. I'm sure this will only help him, just like Tim Verheyden's attempt to take down DVL in Pano didn't work.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Govt collapsed
Post by: Laki on January 10, 2019, 11:23:23 am
That interview was indeed kind of unreal, especially for someone from the Netherlands who views the Flemish as generally more polite and less direct than us! It was clear the tv lady wanted to do a hitjob on DVL. She was way too hostile and definitely not neutral, erroneously stating that he is broke (which he himself never claimed) and suggesting this would be why he is a candidate for parliament. Of course he wouldn't respond kindly to it. I'm sure this will only help him, just like Tim Verheyden's attempt to take down DVL in Pano didn't work.
I agree with the first part. The news moderator (or how you call it) definitely did a hitjob on him, but so does most of the media. They're generally very critical of right-wing candidates while they are very polite for liberal or social democrat candidates (and never put more critical questions after they've posed one, while they do that all the time with right-wing (or far-left) candidates and interrupt them and don't with liberal or socialist candidates). I agree the media isn't neutral.

The suggestion that he was broke is something he didn't claim. What he did though was asking for donations to finance his organisation, which are indeed two different things. The anchor referred to that. Of course, there was also an argument over whether he was identified as a suspect in the investigation that was triggered by the VRT probe. And apparently they were both wrong about that. He was in fact identified as a suspect, but he didn't know, while the media claimed he did knew (which was in fact not true). But he made a claim as well that was false, and always has claimed that he wasn't that person on Discord or that Discord account was fake. I mean both the news moderator and DVL lost a lot of credibility again after that interview. I also didn't like his attitude or her's. Usually, a debate is agressive between two politicians, but this one was more aggressive and it was between a news moderator and a right-wing politician. I think it shows you a perfect example of how times and the political environment is changing and that politics is rapidly polarizing.

Quote
just like Tim Verheyden's attempt to take down DVL in Pano didn't work.

It did the opposite of what he wanted. The attempt to take him down (there was no need to, as he wasn't known) just made him big. Because of that, he's likely to enter parliament. This would've never happened without Pano. It's a catastrophic mistake, just like Trump was a creation of the media as well, and both feed each other.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: DavidB. on January 10, 2019, 12:22:25 pm
I think it's the consequence of the "cordon sanitaire" type of thinking that is prevalent in Flanders, according to which the shunning of supposedly radical right-wing political actors isn't just something that can be left to politicians but is also a task of the media, who are obviously naturally inclined to side with centrist and center-left parties in the first place; on the other hand, in the Netherlands we have more of a tradition in which such viewpoints are approached in a less "activist" way (which critics think normalizes these viewpoints). While I think the Dutch public broadcaster has a left-wing bias too, they would never approach someone like Thierry Baudet similarly to what happened yesterday.

And yeah, DVL almost definitely lied about the Discord server, no need to beat around the bush in that regard. But the part of the public that is sympathetic to DVL's political message and would simultaneously oppose Mosley references and what went on in the Discord server (like me...) is more inclined to support him when the media instrumentalize these things as an attack on him - especially if done as triumphantly as Cools did. Just question someone fairly yet critically, without attacking them, and let the people at home make up their minds, I'd say.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on January 11, 2019, 10:27:55 am
I think it's the consequence of the "cordon sanitaire" type of thinking that is prevalent in Flanders, according to which the shunning of supposedly radical right-wing political actors isn't just something that can be left to politicians but is also a task of the media, who are obviously naturally inclined to side with centrist and center-left parties in the first place; on the other hand, in the Netherlands we have more of a tradition in which such viewpoints are approached in a less "activist" way (which critics think normalizes these viewpoints). While I think the Dutch public broadcaster has a left-wing bias too, they would never approach someone like Thierry Baudet similarly to what happened yesterday.

Sorry but that´s utter bollocks. Vlaams Belang have been consistently treated as same as a mainstream party in the Flemish media - who are routinely criticised by their RTBF housemates because of it - or else Filip DeWinter (who is way more extremist and overtly white nationalist than the S&V daddy's boy with a top uni education... see here  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVdL3fTf58M) would not have the countless platforms and invited to debates on VRT with serious questioning - just look at his debate with Francken. Or how about the VRT running a documentary on Marie-Rose Morel's political struggle in sympathetic light equating it in tandem with her battle with cancer.


Yes, the VRT interview with VDL was confrontational, but its more a part of the growing editorial line of the public broadcasters across Europe to try and compete on youtube. People watch 2 minutes clips of "Jordan Peterson CRUSHES feminazi lizard person", not whole 40min interviews anymore. So both VDL and VRT enter a silent pact to make the interview confrontational, meaning the VRT interviewer inevitably adopts a left-wing editorial line. Its all about views.

For people who claim their culture to be superior that other cultures, the far right sure do like to cultivate an inferiority complex...



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Velasco on January 11, 2019, 11:06:28 am

For people who claim their culture to be superior that other cultures, the far right sure do like to cultivate an inferiority complex...


Supremacism always hides some inferiority complex, isn't it?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on January 11, 2019, 11:49:40 am
Yes, the VRT interview with VDL was confrontational, but its more a part of the growing editorial line of the public broadcasters across Europe to try and compete on youtube. People watch 2 minutes clips of "Jordan Peterson CRUSHES feminazi lizard person", not whole 40min interviews anymore. So both VDL and VRT enter a silent pact to make the interview confrontational, meaning the VRT interviewer inevitably adopts a left-wing editorial line. Its all about views.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on January 11, 2019, 12:49:10 pm
Yes, the VRT interview with VDL was confrontational, but its more a part of the growing editorial line of the public broadcasters across Europe to try and compete on youtube. People watch 2 minutes clips of "Jordan Peterson CRUSHES feminazi lizard person", not whole 40min interviews anymore. So both VDL and VRT enter a silent pact to make the interview confrontational, meaning the VRT interviewer inevitably adopts a left-wing editorial line. Its all about views.

I don't believe in conspiracy theories.

Nor am I claiming there is one. Both parties dislike each other, but have much more to gain from a confrontational interview than a sensible one. Hence their behaviour is predictable.

Saying the media treat VB sympathisers unfairly because they are under the heelboot of left-wing ideology and cordon sanitaire mentality is conspiracy theory that can be debunked quite easily though


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on January 15, 2019, 08:26:16 am
N-VA announced that De Wever will be candidate for Regional president, ex-Interior Minister Jambon will head their Federal list (unlikely that he will be PM) and current Minister-President Geert Bourgeois will head the European list. There was speculation that Theo Francken would head the European list because N-VA needed to compete there and he wanted to beat the vote preference record Leo Tindemans previously held (something like 980.000 votes). Not sure what Bourgeois offers other than prehaps a campaign focuses on "Europe of Regions" bluster and a nice retirement.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on January 16, 2019, 06:51:08 am
Usually, not so popular politicians head the European list or go to Europe for a mandate because they aren't suspectible to the opinion of voters as much. And it's partly also because Belgium has too few politicians for too many mandates or g'vments.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on January 16, 2019, 10:53:46 am
Usually, not so popular politicians head the European list or go to Europe for a mandate because they aren't suspectible to the opinion of voters as much.

Is Bourgeois really "not so popular"? CLearly not as good a communicator as Francken, De Wever and Jambon but I always put that down to him focussing more on Flemish nationalism than immigration.

Quote
And it's partly also because Belgium has too few politicians for too many mandates or g'vments.

Yes, I'm wondering how De Wever's decision to potentially ditch his Antwerp mandate will go down, but given he has a cult personality status in his ranks they'll probably find an excuse for him.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: DavidB. on January 17, 2019, 02:50:01 pm
Will donate to DVL's campaign soon. I want to be able to merge this thread with the Dutch one in my lifetime after all.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: mvd10 on January 17, 2019, 06:38:00 pm
Will donate to DVL's campaign soon. I want to be able to merge this thread with the Dutch one in my lifetime after all.

Link? I'll donate too, for Groot-Nederland! Wallonia can go to the Yellow Vests dictatorship.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on January 22, 2019, 10:11:57 pm
Lots of protests are expected for the next weeks. I'm just not sure about the general strike, as i haven't heard about it a lot (maybe it's something in particular for Wallonia?)

✊ THURSDAY 24/1:
8:30: Casseroles & paillettes pour le climat & contre le CETA
10:30: Third Klimaatmars voor een betere toekomst with Youth For Climate

✊ SATURDAY / SUNDAY 26/1 + 27/1
Yellow vest movement protests

✊ SUNDAY 27/1
13:00: Pas de loi climat? Geen Wetstraat!
14:00: start of Rise for Climate - 4th edition - European march

✊ THURSDAY 31/1
10:30: Fourth Klimaatmars voor een betere toekomst with Youth For Climate

✊ SATURDAY / SUNDAY 2/2 + 3/2
Yellow vest movement protests (?)

✊ THURSDAY 7/2
10:30: Fifth Klimaatmars voor een betere toekomst with Youth For Climate

✊ SATURDAY / SUNDAY 9/2 + 10/2
Yellow vest movement protests (?)

✊ WEDNESDAY 13/2
General strike from three main unions (ACV, ABVV en ACVLB), in cooperation with yellow vests

✊ THURSDAY 14/2
10:30: Sixth Klimaatmars voor een betere toekomst with Youth For Climate
10:30: Students for Climate join Youth For Climate (2k going already on Facebook, and actions planned in Brussels, Ghent, Louvain-La Neuve, Antwerp and Mons)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on January 24, 2019, 10:55:56 am
35,000 play truant for the climate (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/01/24/35-000-play-truant-for-the-climate/)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on February 05, 2019, 11:15:14 am
Belgian climate minister denounces protest marches as plot (https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/5/belgian-climate-minister-denounces-protest-marches/)

Belgian Climate Minister Denounces Protest Marches as Plot (https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2019/02/05/world/europe/ap-eu-belgium-climate-.html)

Belgian minister backtracks on school-strike conspiracy claims (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/05/belgian-environment-minister-joke-schauvliege-claimed-children-climate-protests-a-set-up)

End of her political career! Even international media reports about this gaffe of our Belgian climate minister.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on February 05, 2019, 01:23:41 pm
She resigned. The press conference was a very emotional one. One i will remember for a very long time.

Minister lied: state intelligence didn't tell her climate teens are being manipulated (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/02/05/minister-concedes-state-intelligence-didn-t-tell-me-climate-te/)

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Umengus on February 05, 2019, 04:05:31 pm
She will lead the CDV list in the "flandre orientale" province. So she will be elected and will probably be in the next government, probably not in charge of environment.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on February 05, 2019, 04:45:41 pm
She will lead the CDV list in the "flandre orientale" province. So she will be elected and will probably be in the next government, probably not in charge of environment.

In terms of ministerial potential her career is as dead as a dodo man. The international press are going to pick up on the fact that she believed in chem trails and electromagnetic pollution, and make us the laughing stock of European small country politics one again. She was just a stooge for the Christian pillar lobbies that matter anyway, so agriculture and environment was her only realistic portfolio. The CD&V elders and the lobbies behind them will just pick another "Tim, nice but dim"-style figure like Schauvliege and move on. Hopefully less of a wackjob this time.  

This would all be much simpler if we had 1 single Federal environment and agricultural ministry btw. Absolutely no reason to decentralise it.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on February 27, 2019, 06:15:57 am
Alain Destexhe has finally quit MR to form a new far right party. Surprised this is getting a lot of traction but then again things are relatively quiet despite having a sit in government.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Umengus on February 27, 2019, 09:29:57 am
Alain Destexhe has finally quit MR to form a new far right party. Surprised this is getting a lot of traction but then again things are relatively quiet despite having a sit in government.

An alliance with PP would give a good result (5-7%, maybe more) but it seems unlikely.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on March 08, 2019, 09:43:40 am
Alain Destexhe has finally quit MR to form a new far right party. Surprised this is getting a lot of traction but then again things are relatively quiet despite having a sit in government.

An alliance with PP would give a good result (5-7%, maybe more) but it seems unlikely.

He has already picked up endorsements and defections from La Droite and several dissident bottom list MR types. PP seems to be a stretch though. Destexhe's message of copying the N-VA isnt just a plot to pick off their growing number of francophone voters in BXL, its also a nod to engaging in a politics that walks the tightrope of the cordon sanitaire, which is what the N-VA have done so effectively. PP are pretty extreme now compared to when they were first formed.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on March 11, 2019, 11:22:25 am
Has anyone noticed the nationalist demagoguery coming out of certain CD&V politicians? Like I read in La Libre the other day that this one guy wants to go on strike and refuse to speak French in Brussels one day per week.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on March 12, 2019, 02:49:30 pm
Has anyone noticed the nationalist demagoguery coming out of certain CD&V politicians? Like I read in La Libre the other day that this one guy wants to go on strike and refuse to speak French in Brussels one day per week.

it's  been like that for ages. The N-VA splitting from them just made them go into an outbidding process of who can antagonize francophones the most.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on March 14, 2019, 04:57:47 am
Has anyone noticed the nationalist demagoguery coming out of certain CD&V politicians? Like I read in La Libre the other day that this one guy wants to go on strike and refuse to speak French in Brussels one day per week.

it's  been like that for ages. The N-VA splitting from them just made them go into an outbidding process of who can antagonize francophones the most.

Who's more francophobic, the CD&V or the Open VLD? Not even asking about the N-VA because that's basically their platform...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Umengus on March 14, 2019, 08:54:05 am
Has anyone noticed the nationalist demagoguery coming out of certain CD&V politicians? Like I read in La Libre the other day that this one guy wants to go on strike and refuse to speak French in Brussels one day per week.

it's  been like that for ages. The N-VA splitting from them just made them go into an outbidding process of who can antagonize francophones the most.

Who's more francophobic, the CD&V or the Open VLD? Not even asking about the N-VA because that's basically their platform...

CDV but "francophobic" is exagerated.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on March 14, 2019, 10:51:05 am
Has anyone noticed the nationalist demagoguery coming out of certain CD&V politicians? Like I read in La Libre the other day that this one guy wants to go on strike and refuse to speak French in Brussels one day per week.

it's  been like that for ages. The N-VA splitting from them just made them go into an outbidding process of who can antagonize francophones the most.

Who's more francophobic, the CD&V or the Open VLD? Not even asking about the N-VA because that's basically their platform...

CDV but "francophobic" is exagerated.

I mean CD&V is a very broad church too. The ACV wing for example don't really care, nor do the Farmers Union. But remember a lot of the decision making in CD&V ranks is about how to stay in power above all else. After they finally got ousted from government after a pretty huge amount of time in the late 90s, Leterme and other grandees realised in the early 2000s there was an electoral market in Flanders for a modern conservative centre-right party that advocated Flemish interests first and antagonised francophones. He could get VB voters (at one point the second largest party in Flanders in the early 2000s) and he could get disgruntled, culturally right VLD voters who did not like Verhofstadt's blue sky liberalism and alliance with the Greens especially (nevermind the socialists). So he invites a certain Geert Bourgeois and the right-wing of the Volksunie, now called N-VA, to form a cartel and add some legitmacy in traditional flamingant circles to his new movement.

Does Yves Leterme, a Standard Liege supporter with a french sounding name, actually support these views? Do any of the "Tsjeven'' actually have any views? Or are they all just destined to make Jesuit reasoning out of any political opportunity that arises like the one above. Im not questioning their credentials or their role in Belgian decentralisation, and its pretty obvious a lot of the lower and middle clergy played substantial roles in the Vlaamse Beweging in the post-WW2 era. But I think they tend to make token statements like "Minder Frans, Meer Nederlands" and the suggested boycott because its cheap and they don't necessarily have to deliver. Whatever the answer, their swing rightward backfired as people preferred the original to the PR machine.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on March 18, 2019, 10:30:19 am
The Destexhe movement is gaining momentum on the MR right causing the defection of a regional deputy, effectively meaning that MR-cdH have no majority left (not that this matters so soon before the election,but still). They are also not required to have the 100 signatures to stand in Wallonia, so they are forming up their lists there too. They should do fairly well in Brabant Wallon but I can't see them doing well elsewhere unless they start absorbing larger swathes of local MR political entrepreneurs.

In Brussels, Claude Moniquet, a French-born ex-DGSE agent known for being wheeled out at every terrorist event as an expert on the matter by RTL, only to talk total sh**te, will stand as head of the regional list for Destexhe. C'est tout dire.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on April 03, 2019, 05:50:04 am
Bumping this thread to observe a few trends in the campaign, that has just about started to kick into gear:

 - Charles Michel, sitting PM, being reconducted as the head of the MR and therefore of its campaign appears to have been a poor move. Not only is he tarnished with the "N-VA collaborator" brush, but their campaign appears to be in total dissaray as ministers "go their own way" and low level party figures like Georges-Louis Bouchez, known for his sympathies towards Theo Francken, are catapulted to the frontline of every media. Basically MR is running a campaign with several messages, due to some wanting to fight ECOLO on their own patch while others want to counter Destexhe´s list. The Climate Law that was proposed in response to the CLimate protests is a good example of that. Some insisted on cross-party backing, others on following the N-VA's line of "business first, trolling the ecologists second" as good policy in light of the coming election.

- cdH are in worse shape. One of their key party figures is in the midst of a vote rigging scandal, ex-leader Joelle Milquet and party grandee Francis Delperée have quit the campaign and party respectively for pastures new. And their leader and Walloon MP Maxime Prévot was caught on a skiing holiday while the Walloon government effectively lost its majority by one vote.

- Main thing in francophonia seems to be the rise of "celeb" candidates taking the heads of list. Mainly famous journalists but sometimes also sportsmen or singers. It seems that the parties have recognised having a face can get you extra votes, as the partiocracy is deeply unpopular so people tend to vote increasingly for individuals.

I haven't really followed Flanders closely enough and will leave that to Lakagigar. If I had to make a prediction it would still be a Green-Blue-Orange federal government.  

You can also take the electoral test courtesy of our public broadcasters :

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/kies19/stemtest/#/

https://www.rtbf.be/info/election/test-electoral/#/


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: DavidB. on April 03, 2019, 06:39:42 am
For the federal election:

VB 83%
PP 70%
CD&V 68%
N-VA 67%
cdH 61%
MR 60%
sp.a 51%
PS 50%
Défi 49%
PTB 47%
PVDA 46%
Ecolo 45%
Open VLD 44%
Groen 41%

Shame Destexhe's thingy is not part of this test.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: tack50 on April 03, 2019, 06:57:25 am
Did the French/Waloon test only:

75% PS
74% PTB
70% Ecolo
68% DeFi
64% CdH
51% MR
33% PP


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: parochial boy on April 03, 2019, 11:38:11 am
PS 91%
Ecolo 89%
PTB 84%
CDH 71%
Défi  65%
MR 49%
PP 21%

So the PTB are pretty meh on environmental policy then?

Also, what's the question about trade unions paying unemployment benefits?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on April 03, 2019, 01:30:45 pm
PS 91%
Ecolo 89%
PTB 84%
CDH 71%
Défi  65%
MR 49%
PP 21%

So the PTB are pretty meh on environmental policy then?


I would say it depends. PTB Herstal is a different animal to PTB Ixelles. But then the same can be said of other parties when it comes to other policies. In general, their nostalgia for reopening the coal plants and steel industries is somewhat dwindling and their becoming more eco-centred, but unlike ECOLO they do not engage in de-growth theories, etc.

I think you also didn't get PTB as much as thought because they are still considerably to the left of pretty much any "far left" party in Western Europe. Podemos, FI, Sinistra, SP all got nothing on Comdrade Raoul.

Quote
Also, what's the question about trade unions paying unemployment benefits?

Quote
Les syndicats sont chargés du paiement des allocations de chômage à leurs membres. En effet, le montant des allocations de chômage est calculé par l’ONEM (Office national de l’Emploi) qui donne ensuite au syndicat du travailleur l’ordre de payer les allocations. Les syndicats sont également présents et peuvent aider les demandeurs d’emploi lors des contrôles de disponibilité et d’effectivité de recherche d’emploi menés par l’Onem. Toutefois, un travailleur n’est jamais obligé de s’affilier à un syndicat. Il existe dès lors une caisse auxiliaire de paiement des allocations de chômage pour les personnes qui ne sont pas syndiquées, communément appelée la CAPAC.

Yeah, as a tradition allocation of unemployment benefit is managed by the unions if and only if you are unionised which I find somewhat absurd but Belgians, especially unions, love their traditions, especially when they are absurd. ECOLO claim its more efficient though and unlike the other parties they don't have a vested interest in bloated union bureaucracy.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on April 24, 2019, 08:37:40 am
https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_barometre-politique-vers-une-vague-verte-le-26-mai?id=10202764

New polls, probably the last big one before the election.
Main new trend is Greens in WalloBrux on the rise, and MR crumbling.

Very low key campaign so far, even the N-VA seem tired of the process before it has even begun. The local election probably  didn't help.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on April 24, 2019, 09:33:51 am
I got the following scores:
MR 77%
PP 64%
CdH 64%
Défi 54%
PTB 54%
écolo 52%
PS 46%


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Velasco on April 24, 2019, 05:33:46 pm
Elections fédérales

PS 89%
Ecolo 83%
PTB 83%
CdH 71%
Défi 71%
MR 54%
PP 12%

Moderate Hero


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Grand Wizard Lizard of the Klan on April 24, 2019, 05:45:19 pm
Ahhh, I love doing those tests with only minimal knowledge about situation in subject political scene.

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on April 25, 2019, 12:43:14 am
Ahhh, I love doing those tests with only minimal knowledge about situation in subject political scene.

I actually know the Belgian political situation/scene well, so my results should be quite accurate as I took the quiz taking into account the situation in Belgium


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: parochial boy on April 25, 2019, 02:04:26 am
https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_barometre-politique-vers-une-vague-verte-le-26-mai?id=10202764

New polls, probably the last big one before the election.
Main new trend is Greens in WalloBrux on the rise, and MR crumbling.

Very low key campaign so far, even the N-VA seem tired of the process before it has even begun. The local election probably  didn't help.
Two questions - what are the odds of a left led government coming out of this? left parties seem to be dominating in Bruxelles and Wallonia? (also, that poll seems wildly optimistic from a left-wing perspective, is PVDA-Groen-Sp.A getting a third of the vote in Flanders really realistic?)

Also, what exactly do the PS have to do to not be the largest party in Wallonia?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on April 25, 2019, 10:36:27 am
https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_barometre-politique-vers-une-vague-verte-le-26-mai?id=10202764

New polls, probably the last big one before the election.
Main new trend is Greens in WalloBrux on the rise, and MR crumbling.

Very low key campaign so far, even the N-VA seem tired of the process before it has even begun. The local election probably  didn't help.
Two questions - what are the odds of a left led government coming out of this? left parties seem to be dominating in Bruxelles and Wallonia?

this is a nice article by rtbf  on possible configurations and seat breakdown. I will go into it in more detail for non- French speakers when I am on a laptop.

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_barometre-politique-quelles-coalitions-sont-possibles-au-federal-et-en-wallonie?id=10203874

Your best hope for a federal government  that is to the left is an " Olivier" aka Greens, Socialists, and Christian Democrats.

Quote
also, that poll seems wildly optimistic from a left-wing perspective, is PVDA-Groen-Sp.A getting a third of the vote in Flanders really realistic?)

I think PVDA are overpolled but its an indication that if the issues change then there is a way back for the Flemish Left, yes.

Quote
Also, what exactly do the PS have to do to not be the largest party in Wallonia?

Have a massive row with the FGTB? Honestly the PS vote is still on the decline though if you look at it from a macrohistorical perspective. There's every chance they lose top spot to Ecolo in both regions if climate takes over the debate.

another way to understand sedentary nature of Walloon politics is to look what is going on in Neufchateau right now, albeit with a different establishment party the cdH. The local branch led by heavy hitter of the party Dmitri Fourny essentially rigged the local elections, "developing country" style, with Fourny and 7 members of his family criminally charged. and guess what, the court has decided on a record and he has decided to rerun. I will still bet my last penny the local cdH win, led by Fourny and his family/mates. It doesn't matter if its orange, red or blue, most Walloon communes work this way.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on April 25, 2019, 12:10:26 pm
Alain Destexhe has finally quit MR to form a new far right party. Surprised this is getting a lot of traction but then again things are relatively quiet despite having a sit in government.

An alliance with PP would give a good result (5-7%, maybe more) but it seems unlikely.

LD's head of list Claude Moniquet confirms now that there is an electoral accord with PP (that he insists is only for the election) in Brussels to combine vote share in order to try and reach regional threshold - with personal preference votes deciding who gets in. PTB have similar arrangement with an animal right party and another anticapitalist party.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: mgop on May 02, 2019, 01:59:39 pm
anything new here?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 03, 2019, 05:07:47 am

There was the 1st of May proceedings, which are an important day for the left but now also for the liberals to present their incentives to workers. During an election year it becomes particularly animated, in this case FGTB (largest Socialist union in Belgium) President Thierry Bodson seemed to have a dig at ECOLO by saying that any party that favoured climate policy over the urgent requirement for socio-economic reforms in favour of workers would not receive the FGTB's support. It comes also as the Liège branch of the FGTB became the first to break with the PS and start to court PTB. If that pressure increases both PS and ECOLO might be tempted to include PTB into their eventual Walloon coalition.

On the Flemish side N-VA President De Wever is really pushing the idea that if things stay the same the Flemish white collared middle class will get a "tsunami" of tax measures on their incomes by the protracted new Green-orientated government. He's now gambling on the 2014 strategy of saying "vote for us if you do not want the Francophone Left to govern" rather than focussing on immigration, which seems a better strategy to regain ground with swing VB-NVA voters. VB can always "outbid" N-VA on immigration but N-VA can always point to their record of actually beating the Francophone Left in return.

In Brussels there is a scandal in Schaerbeek over cdH and PS councillors pushing their "communities" to revolt against the authorities because a 4 year old girl was allegedly raped in her school. It turns out that she had an infection, now recognised as such by the parents themselves, but thanks to social media baiting including from the two councillor and a dense congregation of very dense people there was a "gathering" outside the school and some threw rocks at staff members, prompting the Défi Mayor to have to intervene with police. Trust in institutions is very low in Belgium as you can imagine, but this was still a nasty episode and the PS and cdH councillors are being (rightfully) villified for their role in it.

Anyway going back to the RTBF article and the possible permutations for a federal government given this seat composition :

()

National Union, 102 seats : Christian Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, Greens. Not sure why this is even considered as its electoral suicide for the Flemish Liberals and Christian Democrats and the Greens in general. Its N-VA's wet dream although unlike 2012-2014 it still would mean a Flemish majority is present in the federal government so not as undemocratic.

Variations of the National Union : Same as above but taking away parties such as sp.a or cdH because they lost seats, or even as the article states taking away the PS because the Flemish Right needs a scalp. Not going to happen easily either way though.

The Olive Tree : Christian Democrats, Socialists, Greens. This is a clear centre-left government that is associated with the somewhat disastrous Walloon government of the same name, so I cannot see CD&V entering this formula. But don't underestimate the ability of the Christian pillar to put their bargaining arrangements above ideological tenets or consistency with their previous actions, so its still a possibility.  

The "Rainbow/Purple+" : Basically the same as Verhofstadt I so Greens, Liberals, and Socialists. This may seem like electoral hara-kiri for the Liberals given how the first Verhofstadt government has worked out but in both parties cases it actually makes more sense than in 1999. For VLD they have already lost their hard right faction to the N-VA and if they present themselves as the internal opposition to "inevitable" Green tax rises it might get them some credit in upper Flemish middle class circles. They have also governed with Groen in places like Mechelen very successfully. For MR it has become clear that actually a lot of their electorate find their rightwards turn incoherent and the actions of a vocal minority. A lot of party grandees are saying that the decision to have the face of the campaign be Georges-Louis Bouchez, a member of the hard right in MR, has been disastrous and that the party needs to regain credibility with its traditional base.

Overall I think the last option is the most likely as things stand, but even more likely is a longer negotiation process that last time out.

Note that the N-VA doesn't appear to be in any scenario, and that's pretty much to be expected because of the MR collapse and their relatively poor result. N-VA have said they will nto govern with ECOLO because they are crypto-communists and won't govern with "Di Rupo-led PS" hinting that perhaps a PS-NVA accord is possible if Di Rupo steps aside.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: mgop on May 03, 2019, 06:37:21 am

There was the 1st of May proceedings, which are an important day for the left but now also for the liberals to present their incentives to workers. During an election year it becomes particularly animated, in this case FGTB (largest Socialist union in Belgium) President Thierry Bodson seemed to have a dig at ECOLO by saying that any party that favoured climate policy over the urgent requirement for socio-economic reforms in favour of workers would not receive the FGTB's support. It comes also as the Liège branch of the FGTB became the first to break with the PS and start to court PTB. If that pressure increases both PS and ECOLO might be tempted to include PTB into their eventual Walloon coalition.

On the Flemish side N-VA President De Wever is really pushing the idea that if things stay the same the Flemish white collared middle class will get a "tsunami" of tax measures on their incomes by the protracted new Green-orientated government. He's now gambling on the 2014 strategy of saying "vote for us if you do not want the Francophone Left to govern" rather than focussing on immigration, which seems a better strategy to regain ground with swing VB-NVA voters. VB can always "outbid" N-VA on immigration but N-VA can always point to their record of actually beating the Francophone Left in return.

In Brussels there is a scandal in Schaerbeek over cdH and PS councillors pushing their "communities" to revolt against the authorities because a 4 year old girl was allegedly raped in her school. It turns out that she had an infection, now recognised as such by the parents themselves, but thanks to social media baiting including from the two councillor and a dense congregation of very dense people there was a "gathering" outside the school and some threw rocks at staff members, prompting the Défi Mayor to have to intervene with police. Trust in institutions is very low in Belgium as you can imagine, but this was still a nasty episode and the PS and cdH councillors are being (rightfully) villified for their role in it.

Anyway going back to the RTBF article and the possible permutations for a federal government given this seat composition :

()

National Union, 102 seats : Christian Democrats, Liberals, Socialists, Greens. Not sure why this is even considered as its electoral suicide for the Flemish Liberals and Christian Democrats and the Greens in general. Its N-VA's wet dream although unlike 2012-2014 it still would mean a Flemish majority is present in the federal government so not as undemocratic.

Variations of the National Union : Same as above but taking away parties such as sp.a or cdH because they lost seats, or even as the article states taking away the PS because the Flemish Right needs a scalp. Not going to happen easily either way though.

The Olive Tree : Christian Democrats, Socialists, Greens. This is a clear centre-left government that is associated with the somewhat disastrous Walloon government of the same name, so I cannot see CD&V entering this formula. But don't underestimate the ability of the Christian pillar to put their bargaining arrangements above ideological tenets or consistency with their previous actions, so its still a possibility.  

The "Rainbow/Purple+" : Basically the same as Verhofstadt I so Greens, Liberals, and Socialists. This may seem like electoral hara-kiri for the Liberals given how the first Verhofstadt government has worked out but in both parties cases it actually makes more sense than in 1999. For VLD they have already lost their hard right faction to the N-VA and if they present themselves as the internal opposition to "inevitable" Green tax rises it might get them some credit in upper Flemish middle class circles. They have also governed with Groen in places like Mechelen very successfully. For MR it has become clear that actually a lot of their electorate find their rightwards turn incoherent and the actions of a vocal minority. A lot of party grandees are saying that the decision to have the face of the campaign be Georges-Louis Bouchez, a member of the hard right in MR, has been disastrous and that the party needs to regain credibility with its traditional base.

Overall I think the last option is the most likely as things stand, but even more likely is a longer negotiation process that last time out.

Note that the N-VA doesn't appear to be in any scenario, and that's pretty much to be expected because of the MR collapse and their relatively poor result. N-VA have said they will nto govern with ECOLO because they are crypto-communists and won't govern with "Di Rupo-led PS" hinting that perhaps a PS-NVA accord is possible if Di Rupo steps aside.

"the olive tree" sounds the best of these, glad to see mr/vld in ruins.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: The Saint on May 06, 2019, 06:37:31 am
I noticed that in the most recent seat projection on Wikipedia the Socialists (PS + sp.a), Greens (Ecolo + Green), and the Workers’ Party (PTB/PVDA) are 5 seats short of a majority.

Is any party open to working with PTB/PVDA?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 06, 2019, 09:48:35 am
I noticed that in the most recent seat projection on Wikipedia the Socialists (PS + sp.a), Greens (Ecolo + Green), and the Workers’ Party (PTB/PVDA) are 5 seats short of a majority.

Is any party open to working with PTB/PVDA?

The FGTB (the main Socialist trade union) say their preferred coalition is PS, PTB, ECOLO at Walloon level, so by default the PS are somewhat open to a coalition with them at that level, while at the same time a lot of their energy goes into attacking the PTB for being too simplist and "populist" (PTB are very "workerist (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workerism)"  in a lot of communes in Wallonia, sometimes even on issues like immigration).

ECOLO are non-plussed about PTB and their rise. They clearly prefer them as a coalition partner to say N-VA but although ECOLO are full of amateurs they are smart enough to know where some of their gains have come from in places like Brabant Wallon and Luxemburg Province i.e not culturally left voters. They don't know really how to react to them.

sp.a have broken the effective cordon sanitaire at the local level in Zelzate but I don't think they will enter any government with PVDA.

All the other parties, especially on the Flemish side, consider that there should be a cordon sanitaire around PTB/PVDA.

Honestly the chances of them being in federal government are like less than 1% and the chances of them entering the Walloon government are maybe 10%. If ECOLO and PS fail to make a majority PTB could support it from outside, but they remain a testimonial party that is not looking to enter government (they don't have the manpower to do so yet). 



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 13, 2019, 04:59:00 pm
This is kind of anecdotal, but I think the explanation for the leftwing surge in Wallonia isn't so much due to the people really moving left economically, I really have the impression it's out of anger towards NVA and any party that could enter government with them.

Like a huge amount of the comments I saw on political articles on La Libre and Le Soir's Facebook pages pretty much expressed this idea "get lost Charles Michel, you led a FLEMISH government with very little Francophone representation and you allied with extremist NVA separatists who want to destroy OUR BELGIUM with confederalism.", for the most part it seemed like it was only some middle aged women who were really expressing leftwing views.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 14, 2019, 10:26:42 am
This is kind of anecdotal, but I think the explanation for the leftwing surge in Wallonia isn't so much due to the people really moving left economically, I really have the impression it's out of anger towards NVA and any party that could enter government with them.

Like a huge amount of the comments I saw on political articles on La Libre and Le Soir's Facebook pages pretty much expressed this idea "get lost Charles Michel, you led a FLEMISH government with very little Francophone representation and you allied with extremist NVA separatists who want to destroy OUR BELGIUM with confederalism.", for the most part it seemed like it was only some middle aged women who were really expressing leftwing views.

The MR-NVA argument works pretty well on the doorstep yeah, but now even Magnette isn't ruling out 100% a PS-NVA. Let's also take into account that issue salience is important and a lot of MR --> ECOLO transfers (and previously, cdH --> ECOLO) is due to environment and mobility dominating the campaign, more than migration. These voters aren't actually left-wing, they think they're blue sky eco-friendly liberals every other 5 years but they aren't once ECOLO forms the inevitable left-wing government, and more importantly, demonstrate that they simply don't have the fresh human resources to effectively govern (proof : their co-presidents, Jean-Marc Nollet and Zakhia Khattabi, are veterans of their political scene, and they've risen to their levels of incompetence in the past), the result is an ECOLO collapse.

Speaking of issue salience however there's been the tragic murder of an Antwerp 20 something woman which has put the Belgian Justice system under pressure after it emerged the perpatrator was given a light sentence for rape and should have been re-arrested for breaking probation. Justice Minister Geens (CD&V) is the big loser from this, having previously seen as one of their key figures.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 14, 2019, 04:40:17 pm
This is kind of anecdotal, but I think the explanation for the leftwing surge in Wallonia isn't so much due to the people really moving left economically, I really have the impression it's out of anger towards NVA and any party that could enter government with them.

Like a huge amount of the comments I saw on political articles on La Libre and Le Soir's Facebook pages pretty much expressed this idea "get lost Charles Michel, you led a FLEMISH government with very little Francophone representation and you allied with extremist NVA separatists who want to destroy OUR BELGIUM with confederalism.", for the most part it seemed like it was only some middle aged women who were really expressing leftwing views.

The MR-NVA argument works pretty well on the doorstep yeah, but now even Magnette isn't ruling out 100% a PS-NVA. Let's also take into account that issue salience is important and a lot of MR --> ECOLO transfers (and previously, cdH --> ECOLO) is due to environment and mobility dominating the campaign, more than migration. These voters aren't actually left-wing, they think they're blue sky eco-friendly liberals every other 5 years but they aren't once ECOLO forms the inevitable left-wing government, and more importantly, demonstrate that they simply don't have the fresh human resources to effectively govern (proof : their co-presidents, Jean-Marc Nollet and Zakhia Khattabi, are veterans of their political scene, and they've risen to their levels of incompetence in the past), the result is an ECOLO collapse.

Speaking of issue salience however there's been the tragic murder of an Antwerp 20 something woman which has put the Belgian Justice system under pressure after it emerged the perpatrator was given a light sentence for rape and should have been re-arrested for breaking probation. Justice Minister Geens (CD&V) is the big loser from this, having previously seen as one of their key figures.

I noticed the environment stuff has been a huge issue in smaller countries like Finland and Belgium,  they seem to care more about it than voters in larger countries, where most people would not have that as the main thing they were voting on.

And that seems to be a huge thing, what's wrong with the Belgian justice system? How does this type of thing happen so often? That type of thing seems to happen alot. I mean the Marc Dutroux affair was one of the things that caused the downfall of the Christian Democrats in 1999 and spellt the end of the political careers of Justice ministers like Melchior Wathelet, and even 10-15 years later when I was living there Marc Dutroux was still a household name, even middle school kids who were babies when he was committing his crimes all knew who he was.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 14, 2019, 05:40:26 pm
Quote
I noticed the environment stuff has been a huge issue in smaller countries like Finland and Belgium,  they seem to care more about it than voters in larger countries, where most people would not have that as the main thing they were voting on.

I'm not acquainted enough with other political cultures to understand this. If I had to hypothesise I would say small countries, particularly those in the eurozone, by now know that the economic and foreign policy agenda will be dictated by other powers anyway, and thus grandiose debates on these subjects are somewhat put aside for other issues.

Quote
And that seems to be a huge thing, what's wrong with the Belgian justice system?

One could write an entire thesis on this, and I imagine many people have, but to sum up in some bullet points :

  • Belgium is a hard place to reform legislation because of the political system, and thus with new social norms, its still difficult for legislators to "catch up" in terms of what is regarded as more serious crimes now. With this case for example, which has brought up the issue of violence against women. Essentially Belgium has light rape charges because politicians cannot reach consensus without sirens on both sides sounding off
  • There is an overload in cases and in the prisons, which means the judges are persuaded to let people off for petty crimes if they can and everything is orientated towards hasty rehabiliation. Now the latter is scientifically proven to work compared to potential radicalisation, but some people want all criminals locked up indefinitely, which is a very popular measure populists like to pounce on. Clearly there is an issue with repeat offenders that needs examining though.
  • There is a highly provincialised Justice system, roughly around the lines of the electoral constituencies, and that means funding in justice "cironscriptions" is very selfishly protected by political actors, rather than funding going to the most places in need...namely Brussels. The Palais de Justice is a symbol of this...its where Brussels justice circonscription is based, and its of course most famous for having scaffolding from the 1980s...that when going to rust, the people decided to scaffold the scaffolding. This is because you can bet neither Flanders, not Wallonia (if the latter could) would bother to spend a penny on funding Brussels Justice system.  
  • Regardless of the last point, there is still a general underfunding of justice, nationwide...
  • ...and of course nobody who studies law, which is a degree worshipped to  in Belgium, wants to go into criminal law, they all want to make megabucks in divorce law, trade law, "my neighbour ran over my pet dog" law, become a notaire (fcuk notaires, fcuck them all, I'll be so glad when some robot puts all those twats out of a job), or worse a politician.

Quote
How does this type of thing happen so often? That type of thing seems to happen alot.

Do you mean sexual violence and rape? It doesn't happen as often as you think, its just that because of the above points its so mismanaged that it becomes a scandal.

Quote
I mean the Marc Dutroux affair was one of the things that caused the downfall of the Christian Democrats in 1999 and spellt the end of the political careers of Justice ministers like Melchior Wathelet, and even 10-15 years later when I was living there Marc Dutroux was still a household name, even middle school kids who were babies when he was committing his crimes all knew who he was.

The Dutroux case, apart for being horrific, sort of topped off a general fear and almost total lack of trust in Belgian's state establishment and institutions, including the political class, the 2 police forces at the time, the judges, the low level mafiosos who would openly boast in Brussels cafés about providing minors for sex to high powered people while molesting the international journalist asking them about it (yes this is a true story). I mean the public enemy number 1 of the country managed to escape, and had also been a serial offender before he turned out to be the monster.  Remember it started also right after the Brabant Killings and the overall climate meant a massive wave of conspiracy theories and overall anti-establishment sentiment. It culminated in the White March which, as good intentioned as it was, was essentially a way of people saying that they had had enough of some sort of Belgian state-cabal*, when maybe the message should have been that they had had enough of the dysfunctionality, and that could have been a political transformation.

Also the Dutroux case was the only thing Belgium was famous for for a long while, hence the French-imported jokes and "folklore" about it (although in Belgium its mainly Carolos who get the brunt end of these references...ask any Charleroi football supporter)


*The state cabal might exist of course, given the existence of baron circles with a lot of capital, the small village type mentality of the politcal class and the same families and names coming up in power every generation. But it could never be exposed.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 15, 2019, 11:22:18 am
Just so you situate the level of debate in parts of Brussels's immigrant communities, ECOLO have been distributing this flyer :

()

They have since said it was not approved by the Brussels regional office.

Reminds me of George Galloway's "God knows who is a good Muslim and who is not".


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: tack50 on May 15, 2019, 03:23:13 pm
After watching that flyer, I now endorse DeFI and PS for Brussels :P


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 18, 2019, 10:55:01 am
I'll vote PVDA-PTB after voting for Open VLD (liberals) in 2014. My foster mom will also vote PVDA-PTB after voting always CD&V or N-VA/VU since 1960's, influenced by my experiences and my political participation. My other foster mom always voted for the Greens but will now vote for a right-wing party (N-VA) for the first time as she increasingly became islamophobic. My dad will vote Vlaams Belang after being right-wing for years (although i don't know his voting history). I'm starting to feel like 2019 might be a re-alignment election for Belgium.

A lot of friends will vote Vlaams Belang and PVDA-PTB. I've heard in media that Vlaams Belang is very popular among the young people. 25% of 18 to 30 year olds will vote for them, but s.pa and CD&V do remarkably terrible among those voting groups and have old loyal voting bases.

My real mom is against Open VLD, N-VA and Greens and will vote for Vlaams Belang or PVDA-PTB. Same applies to my grand-parents which are either communists or Vlaams Belang voters, but i don't know them well enough. Both my families seem to be inclined to support Vlaams Belang. My foster families seem to support more traditional right-wing parties (CD&V and N-VA).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 18, 2019, 11:05:57 am
New polling. Media spinned it into losses for the Greens or a disappointing poll for them (while still winning seats), while Vlaams Belang had a very good poll and seem to have momentum build on maybe the case of Julie Van Espen and a good (online) campaign.

Flanders

()

Brussels

()

Wallonia

()

Polling history

()

If true, this would be the best election result for Vlaams Belang since 2007 when N-VA was still in a cartel with CD&V (and they have now close to 30%). Flanders at a whole in the meantime clearly shifted to the right, just like almost everywhere else in the world in the last decade / ten years.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 18, 2019, 11:18:45 am
https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2019/05/16/dries-van-langenhove-de-hoop-van-rechts-radicalen-in-vlaanderen-a3960502 (https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2019/05/16/dries-van-langenhove-de-hoop-van-rechts-radicalen-in-vlaanderen-a3960502)

An article about the polarisation of the Belgian youth: the climate activists on one side and the identitarians on the other side.

I also made a poll in a survey i had to made for school and had 50 responses. It included this poll

()

30% - i don't know
16% - I'm not allowed to vote or will fill in an invalid ballot
16% - Greens
14% - PVDA
12% - N-VA
6% - Vlaams Belang
4% - Open VLD
2% - A different party
0% - CD&V and s.pa

()

20% - Younger than 18
38% - 18 to 21 year olds
24% - 22 to 25 year olds
6% - 26 to 29 year olds
12% - Older than 30


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Laki on May 18, 2019, 11:28:54 am
Quote
I mean the Marc Dutroux affair was one of the things that caused the downfall of the Christian Democrats in 1999 and spellt the end of the political careers of Justice ministers like Melchior Wathelet, and even 10-15 years later when I was living there Marc Dutroux was still a household name, even middle school kids who were babies when he was committing his crimes all knew who he was.

That's true... I'm the first to say that i forgot a lot of serial killers. I think i only know Freddy Horion (but don't know what he did), de Bende van Nijvel, Kim De Gelder (more recent), a certain Hans (with Asperger's), de kasteelmoord (and you have a parachutemoord as well) and Ronald Janssens. Some of those cases got more media attention than they deserve, but i think that you're right that every Belgian will know Marc Dutroux, and he was even a Walloon while Kim De Gelder also has such a reputation that everyone know his name, but Marc Dutroux is Belgian's most famous serial killers, and everyone knows the names of the murdered and what happened, and even his escape.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 18, 2019, 12:03:18 pm
()

my result of a voting survey.

1. PVDA (far-left)
2. s.pa (social democrat)
3. Green (greens)
4. Vlaams Belang (far-right)
5. CD&V (christian democrat)
6. N-VA (nationalist, conservative liberal)
7. Open VLD (liberals)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 18, 2019, 03:02:55 pm
Welcome back to the thread Lakigigar! Do you know people in your environment that will vote differently regionally/federally/EU? Do you think the EU debate has been a bit drowned out?

I think I will vote regionally for Clerfayt (Defi), although I am still not sure who I will vote for. I will spoil my ballot or vote for the animal party federally and then definitely Groen at EU.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 19, 2019, 05:12:23 am
Welcome back to the thread Lakigigar! Do you know people in your environment that will vote differently regionally/federally/EU? Do you think the EU debate has been a bit drowned out?

I think I will vote regionally for Clerfayt (Defi), although I am still not sure who I will vote for. I will spoil my ballot or vote for the animal party federally and then definitely Groen at EU.  

The animal party seems very radical to me, and is a wasted vote, as they have no chance to break through. Spoiling a ballot is a ballot that will add to the majority's total. I understand you don't fully agree with any party, and neither do i, but spoiling a ballot is just stupid.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election in May 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 21, 2019, 02:18:47 am
Just so you situate the level of debate in parts of Brussels's immigrant communities, ECOLO have been distributing this flyer :

()

They have since said it was not approved by the Brussels regional office.

Reminds me of George Galloway's "God knows who is a good Muslim and who is not".

And just for the sake of fairness, it seems like ECOLO are not the only ones :

()



*sighs in belgian*


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: parochial boy on May 21, 2019, 02:28:37 am
Being called Jan Jambon must be a bit of a handicap if you're going after the Haredi Jewish vote 8)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 21, 2019, 08:17:57 am
Big hitters in the parties have been going on about their coalition preferences and their own red lines in terms of which parties they are ready to ally with, which given the last election can be taken with a pinch of salt, but here goes :

N-VA said they are not willing to govern with any Left Francophone party unless it is to establish a confederal constitution. It has not excluded any Flemish party apart from PTB/PVDA but says Groen is its last option. It is also ready to maintain the cordon sanitaire against VB although I am still fairly sure if these two ever form a majority at regional level that will end. It also rejects any coalition with Défi.

CD&V and Open VLD both reject the two extremes (PTB/PVDA and VB) but have not ruled out anybody, although VLD are slightly more hostile to the Francophone Left. Its understood though that they would find it hard to work with the N-VA if Theo Francken is allowed back into a ministerial role.

sp.a  : leader John Combrez has said that working with the N-VA is "quasi-impossible". Otherwise seems free to any coalition, although COmbrez will likely be out of a job and also likely be replaced by a "Red Lion"-type (a workerist, Flemish nationalist sort that makes headlines for being a fireband). PVDA coalition is not feasible anyway so they are happy to ignore that question

Groen : Meryam Almaci, the campaign leader, was asked if she would govern with the N-VA during the radio duel between her and De Wever. She replied "not with this N-VA", but that means there is still some conditionality.

PVDA/PTB : basically nobody to the right of the Socialist pillar.

ECOLO : No to N-VA, VB

PS : Interesting change of rhetoric here since four years ago, instead of saying "never with the N-VA", they are saying "We don't want to govern with the N-VA and we don't want to waste our time again"...but they leave the door slightly open.

Défi : Their selling point is basically "We are old MR without the N-VA and we will never enter government with Flemish nationalists" so there you are. It will be interesting to see if Flemish parties decide to include N-VA in Brussels and if Défi have enough leverage to stop that.

cdH : a lot of hopes pinged on them joining the "Swedish" coalition to reach a potential majority should the N-VA surge again...but new leader Prévot has poured cold water on this this morning. He will not support a Swedish 2.0.

MR : Say they are willing to govern with N-VA on same terms as before i.e no communitarian agenda or decentralisation policies, only socio-economic. Other than that, no VB, no PTB/PVDA.




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: mileslunn on May 21, 2019, 09:53:23 am
Considering how divided Belgium is, what type of coalition is most likely.  I assume it will be somewhat more to the left than last time but probably mixed as usual.  Are Greens likely to be included or left out.  I suspect amongst Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Socialists at least one will make it, but someone could correct me if wrong.  Also how soon do you think we will know the government.  Belgium has the record of 583 days without one so assuming it will take several weeks.  Is it possible there will be no government by year's end?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 21, 2019, 11:25:54 am
Considering how divided Belgium is, what type of coalition is most likely.  I assume it will be somewhat more to the left than last time but probably mixed as usual.  Are Greens likely to be included or left out.  I suspect amongst Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Socialists at least one will make it, but someone could correct me if wrong.  Also how soon do you think we will know the government.  Belgium has the record of 583 days without one so assuming it will take several weeks.  Is it possible there will be no government by year's end?

Its very possible that we don't have a government by 2020 if the seat allocation is what it is, yeah.

Its also possible the Greens become the largest political family in Belgium (although that looks increasingly unlikely) and thus are given a formateur role.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: mileslunn on May 21, 2019, 12:07:21 pm
Considering how divided Belgium is, what type of coalition is most likely.  I assume it will be somewhat more to the left than last time but probably mixed as usual.  Are Greens likely to be included or left out.  I suspect amongst Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Socialists at least one will make it, but someone could correct me if wrong.  Also how soon do you think we will know the government.  Belgium has the record of 583 days without one so assuming it will take several weeks.  Is it possible there will be no government by year's end?

Its very possible that we don't have a government by 2020 if the seat allocation is what it is, yeah.

Its also possible the Greens become the largest political family in Belgium (although that looks increasingly unlikely) and thus are given a formateur role.


Looks like then either Liberals, Greens, or Socialists will get that role although tough to say which of three.  Christian Democrats strong in Flanders but weak in Brussels and Wallonia.  Socialists strong in Wallonia, okay in Brussels, while weak in Flanders.  Liberals not winning anywhere, but not doing poorly anywhere either thus could win on that measure.  Greens strong in Brussels while okay in others but not great.  I am guessing NVA, Vlaams Belang, and Workers Party will likely be excluded from coalition.

Does seem though Wallonia and Brussels leaning leftward while Flanders leaning rightwards.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 21, 2019, 01:08:12 pm
Considering how divided Belgium is, what type of coalition is most likely.  I assume it will be somewhat more to the left than last time but probably mixed as usual.  Are Greens likely to be included or left out.  I suspect amongst Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Socialists at least one will make it, but someone could correct me if wrong.  Also how soon do you think we will know the government.  Belgium has the record of 583 days without one so assuming it will take several weeks.  Is it possible there will be no government by year's end?

Its very possible that we don't have a government by 2020 if the seat allocation is what it is, yeah.

Its also possible the Greens become the largest political family in Belgium (although that looks increasingly unlikely) and thus are given a formateur role.

Looks like then either Liberals, Greens, or Socialists will get that role although tough to say which of three.  Christian Democrats strong in Flanders but weak in Brussels and Wallonia.  Socialists strong in Wallonia, okay in Brussels, while weak in Flanders.  Liberals not winning anywhere, but not doing poorly anywhere either thus could win on that measure.  Greens strong in Brussels while okay in others but not great.  I am guessing NVA, Vlaams Belang, and Workers Party will likely be excluded from coalition.

One thing we do still have though, is a tendency to punish "losers" of an election and reward "winners". Its a feature in Lowland politics that has dissipated now, but the parties that make strong gains are tended to be invited into government talks first, and only then are the ones who lost seats considered.

In that case you can already rule out the Socialist parties getting the formateur role. They are heading for historic losses that are only compensated by their strong campaigning ability and people having short memories.

Quote
Does seem though Wallonia and Brussels leaning leftward while Flanders leaning rightwards.

Well yeah, I always stress that the faultlines/sociological divides in Wallonia are also still provincial while Flanders has a lot of its population concentrated in one square (Antwerp-Gent-Brussels-Leuven) with a common political and socio-economic sphere as a result (and two, minor peripheries, West-Flanders and Limburg, with somewhat different political identities, although they are getting absorbed too). Its clear though that the Walloon political class is very left, culturally, while the Flemish have seen a right-ward shift over the years.

Speaking of the provinces, if I have the time I'll try to do a preview of where parties can gain or lose seats based on the vulnerable ones from last election and the local elections last autumn so we're nice and ready for Sunday. Although I won't be too bitter if this thread is overshadowed by the EP one :D




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 21, 2019, 01:37:05 pm
Thanks for the updates, coloniac and Lakigigar.
New polling. Media spinned it into losses for the Greens or a disappointing poll for them (while still winning seats), while Vlaams Belang had a very good poll and seem to have momentum build on maybe the case of Julie Van Espen and a good (online) campaign.
To what extent would you say the VB surge is related to DVL's popularity?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 21, 2019, 04:20:57 pm
Thanks for the updates, coloniac and Lakigigar.
New polling. Media spinned it into losses for the Greens or a disappointing poll for them (while still winning seats), while Vlaams Belang had a very good poll and seem to have momentum build on maybe the case of Julie Van Espen and a good (online) campaign.
To what extent would you say the VB surge is related to DVL's popularity?
Hmm, among youngsters it will matter but i think VDB would surge with or without DVL. But he's definitely popular among right-wing youngsters, and he might attract voters that would otherwise vote for Theo Francken, so i would say a bit, but he also certainly would scare some voters off, but it would be a net positive. I don't think his popularity explains the surge though. We would have seen the surge a long time ago, but he will increase the vote share of youngsters. Around 25% of 18 to 30 year olds are expected to vote for Vlaams Belang, partly because the mainstream parties do very bad among them, and the youth is very polarized (left-wingers going for PVDA / Groen) and right-wingers preferring N-VA and Vlaams Belang), and others going for Open VLD, but the only people who vote CD&V or s.pa among them are the ones that have parents, friends, family members who also are politically active for those parties. Especially s.pa does extremely bad among them.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Umengus on May 21, 2019, 05:42:41 pm
the surge of VB is due to the NVA exercise of the power in the michel government and a good and fresh president (van grieken), a young guy who begins to be popular.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 22, 2019, 02:12:29 am
And to add to what the two above said, their small bump since the local elections is because they were put in the media spotlight a lot since then (e.g. what is happening in Ninove) and in the meantime the N-VA, specifically far right fanboy favorite Theo Francken, got caught in a scandal involving handing out humanitarian visas to specific communities, namely Assyrians, in exchange of course for the community block vote :

http://brusselstimes.com/belgium/politics/14471/francken-system-of-humanitarian-visas-condemned-in-parliament

Quote
The system worked like this: Francken (photo) used a network of intermediaries selected by him to find worthy candidates who could receive a humanitarian visa to allow them to leave the places they were living in Iraq and Syria to come to safety in Belgium, where they would be able to apply for asylum.

However despite the fact that whole populations are in danger in those war-torn areas, Francken's system favoured only the small group of Syrian-Assyrian Christians with whom they were in touch. In addition, there was no control over who was given a visa: one intermediary, Melikan Kucam, a city councillor in Mechelen and head of an Assyrian Christian association here, is facing charges of having demanded fees of up to 10,000 euros for a visa – money which he allegedly kept for himself.

This was uncovered when De Block took over Francken's ministry.  



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 23, 2019, 02:50:08 am
The RTBF and the VRT both organised debates with the Presidents of each party on their side of the linguistic border. PVDA/PTB, as the only unitary party, had to skip the francophone one because both debates refused to allow "porte-paroles" for this final debate. I watched the RTBF one and for me the big surprise was how impressive Prévot (cdH) was. Michel and Di Rupo were both attacked for their actions as PM enough to sink into the shadows (for Di Rupo it was particularly more damaging as I don't think he expected being taken up on his record as PM, he still thinks he can pass as the coal miner's son with the chip on his shoulder), and Nollet got aggressive with the moderators, losing a bit of credibility. Maingain was Maingain, very good rhetorician yet you still feel his party doesn't have a coherent ideological vision.   


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 25, 2019, 01:37:11 pm
Okay I'm going to do a constituency by constituency preview of the federal election, which means the results from 2014 are from the federal lists. We have a D'Hondt system combined with a constituency, very similar to Spain except as a smaller country we only have 10 constituencies (the historical provinces) + Brussels. I could also do for regional (much more interesting in Brussels case because of the Flemish college) but Federal makes it easier and is probably what people are interested in.

Let's start with Flanders, with the disclaimer that I have not been following their campaign as closely as I would have liked, so Lakigigar is welcome to intervene.

Vlaams Brabant

Key urban centres : Leuven, Vilvoorde

Seats available : 15

2014 results :

N-VA 192,698 votes (28%) 5 seats
Open VLD 170,128 (25%) 4 seats
CD&V 112,251 (16.5%) 3 seats
SP.A 81,254 (11.96%) 2 seats
Groen 59,096 (8.70%) 1 seat
==========THRESHOLD==========
Vlaams Belang 28,857 (4.25%) 0
PTB/PVDA+ 12,664 (1.86%) 0

Current 2019 Projection : N-VA 4 (-1) VLD 4 (nc) CD&V 2 (-1) sp.a 2 (nc) Groen 2 (+1) VB 1 (+1)

Looks like 60-65,000 votes should be the threshold again here, in this constituency that used to be dominated by VLD due to rich Brussels suburbs, with Leuven and its agglomeration providing some relief for progressive parties. The nationalists have taken over the debate here this election though by pitting ex-Immigration Minister and now N-VA stalwart Theo Francken against Dries Vandelanove, a recent recruit of Vlaams Belang after he and his far right youth organisation was expelled from the N-VA's (specifically Francken's) meetings for their anti-semitic posts on a discord server. It seems like VB are the ones to gain the most here because of it. VDL should be elected

Below the threshold, PVDA don't have much chance in one of the most de-industrialised and service sector based parts of the country, with only Leuven (which tends to be quite conservative university anyway) students and academics providing solace. Défi are running their list (controversially against the Union des Francophones at the regional level), but will also not get in.  

Antwerpen (Province)

Key urban centres : Antwerp, Mechelen, Lier

Seats available : 24

2014 results :

N-VA 449,531 (40%) 11 seats
CD&V 183,636 (16%) 4 seats
sp.a 132,096 (11.5%) 3 seats
Open VLD 116,892 (10%) 2 seats
Groen 112,477 (9.85%) 2 seats
Vlaams Belang 79,852 (7%) 2 seats
=======THRESHOLD===========
PVDA 51,638 (4.5%) 0 seats

Current 2019 Projection : N-VA 8 (-3) CD&V 3 (-1) Groen 4 (+2) sp.a 2 (nc) VLD 2 (nc) VB 3 (+1) PVDA 2 (+2)

Bizzarrely a province associated with the Nationalist Right appears to be swinging leftwards according the polls, with Groen and PVDA making together a 4 seat gain. The issues here have been mostly about environment, the nuclear power plant in Doel and mobility due to the very recent local election. Plus there may be a bit of punishing the N-VA Antwerp(-city) Mayor De Wever for running to be Minister-President of Flanders after he campaigned to run Antwerp for 5 more years. VB also should recover thanks to Tom Van Grieken's more nuanced style of campaigning to long time Antwerp VB stallwart Filip De Winter (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVdL3fTf58M)

East Flanders


Key urban centres : Gent, Aalst, Zelzate, Beveren

Seats available[/b] : 20

2014 results :

N-VA 306,309 (31%) 6 seats
Open VLD 178,911 (18%) 4 seats
CD&V 177,178 (18%) 4 seats
sp.a 131,607 (13%) 3 seats
Groen 90,144 (9%) 2 seats
Vlaams Belang 61,523 (6%) 1 seat
======THRESHOLD===========
PVDA 26294 (2.5%) 0 seats

Current 2019 seat projection : N-VA 6 (nc) CD&V 3 (-1) VLD 3 (-1) Groen 3 (+1) sp.a 2 (nc) VB 2 (+1)

Very close province where surprisingly no one has really deployed heavy hitters, maybe because controversial figures may alienate one or another demographic in an incredibly varied province, ranging from ultra-cosmopolitan hipstermodern student city Gent to more run down parts and an underrated farming community that backs scandal CD&V strong woman Joke Schauvliege. PVDA might beat the threshold thanks to their performances in Zelzate and neighbouring Waasland. Quite a crucial constituency for them as their only mayor is here.

West Flanders


Key urban centres : Brugge, Zeebrugge, Kortrijk

Seats available : 16

2014 results :

N-VA : 230,265 (28.5%) 6 seats
CD&V : 175,669 (21.74%) 4 seats
sp.a 142,406 (17.6%) 3 seats
Open VLD 111,388 (13.8%) 2 seats
Groen 63,657 (7.9%) 1 seat
========THRESHOLD============
Vlaams Belang 38,232 (4,7%) 0 seats
PVDA 13,397 (1,66%) 0 seats

Current 2019 seat projection : N-VA 5 (-1) CD&V 3 (-1) sp.a 3 (nc) VLD 2 (nc) Groen 2 (+1) VB 1 (+1)

Quite a relatively strong constituency for traditional parties, specifically sp.a and CD&V. I think the key here is whether VB can make the threshold. They were never super strong in this constituency even at their zenith but they could cause damage to N-VA. The rural vote here is quite key, while coastal cities provide sp.a with a strong retiree + low skilled worker combo vote.

(Belgian) Limburg

Key urban centres : Genk, Hasselt

Seats available : 12

2014 results :

N-VA 174,030 (31%) 5 seats
CD&V 125,962 (22%) 3 seats
sp.a 98,194 (17%) 2 seats
Open VLD 68,713 (12%) 2 seats
======THRESHOLD=======
Groen 33,244 (6%) 0
Vlaams Belang 34,020 (6%) 0
PTB/PVDA 14,253 (2%) 0

Current 2019 Projection : N-VA 4 (-1) CD&V 3 (nc) sp.a 2 (nc) VLD 1 (-1) Groen 1 (+1) PVDA 0 (nc)

Threshold will probably be lower here due to an sp.a and VLD collapse, although sp.a did well in the last election and kinda got ed over with 2 seats (same number as VLD despite 30,000 odd more votes) so they'll hold well. VB should nick a seat from N-VA too here although I wouldn't be surprised if one of VB or Groen fail to meet the threshold. Main urban centre is Hasselt-Genk, and main specific campaign themes are integration rather than recent immigration (Demir attacking the Turkish communities here and vice versa).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 25, 2019, 01:47:39 pm
Are those projections from you or from pollings?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 25, 2019, 01:49:13 pm
Are those projections from you or from pollings?

pollings, although maybe not the most recent ones where the Greens were slightly weaker.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 25, 2019, 01:55:09 pm
Are those projections from you or from pollings?

pollings, although maybe not the most recent ones where the Greens were slightly weaker.

I expect a huge VB surge (recent pollings + late deciding voters often vote VB), and a good result for them. s.pa, VLD, CD&V and N-VA will all lose a bit, but not much. Groen and PVDA will gain from last elections. I expect 2-3 seats from Flanders for PVDA (Oost-Vlaanderen, Antwerpen and maybe Limburg). But the projections are certainly too harsh for Vlaams Belang. I also think in Flemish Brabant Open VLD will lose quite a bit, because of the Maggie de Block effect in 2014.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 25, 2019, 02:40:03 pm
I actually think the opposite might happen. VB voters wanting to merely send a message to N-VA will come back home to N-VA because of the federal stakes, very similar to what happened with the PVV surge north of the border. I think De Wever should have pushed his message much more and much earlier though that people needed to vote N-VA to stop the Walloon Left, and he shouldn't have dumped Michel and MR (litterally his only partner in Francophone Belgium) in the excrement after they took a gamble on his party.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 25, 2019, 03:10:41 pm
Let's continue with Wallonia. You'll notice that because of smaller constituencies, smaller parties and to a lesser extent parties that over-perform in votes compared to their next nearest rival get screwed over. This is where thresholds are arguably more important.

Brabant Wallon

Key urban centres : Wavre, Nivelles, Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve.

Seats available : 5

2014 results :

MR 97,741 (40%) 3 seats
PS 51,359 (21%) 1 seat
ECOLO 27,356 (11.4%) 1 seat
=====THRESHOLD========
cdH 26,335 (11%) 0 seats
FDF (Défi) 11,198 (4.7%) 0 seats
PP 9,544 (4%) 0 seats
PTB 6,500 (2.7%) 0 seats

Current 2019 Projection : MR 2 (-1) ECOLO 2 (+1) PS 1 (nc) cdH 0 Défi 0 PP 0 PTB 0

This is an interesting constituency as it shows the MR --> ECOLO swing in high income Walloon professional circles concerned with environment and mobility. ECOLO were lucky last election to hold on to their seat from cdH. Looks like they will hold them off easily and its PS who will be battling to retain their single seat. I think given that Défi will eat into cdH and MR and there are still enough low income towns and public servants here (Nivelles, Tubize) they should be OK.

Hainaut


Key urban centres : Charleroi, Mons, Tournai, La Louvière.

Seats available : 18

2014 results :
PS 303,085 (41%) 9 seats
MR 153,304 (20,76%) 5 seats
cdH 76,812 (10,40%) 2 seats
ECOLO 43,489 (5.9%) 1 seat
PTB 38,194 (5.17%) 1 seat
=======THRESHOLD===========
PP 32,158 (4.35%) 0
FDF (Défi) 14,382 (2%) 0

Current 2019 Projection :
PS 8 (-1) MR 3 (-2) ECOLO 3 (+2) PTB 3 (+2) cdH 1 (-1) Défi 0 PP 0

This is probably the most rigid constituency in Europe let alone the country. PS dominate here, because they control the magic money tap (not just Flemish funds, but also EU), and the old coal mining districts. PTB and ECOLO are set to surge though, but mostly because of MR and cdH unpopularity, and Nollet (ECOLO) having a leading role in their nationwide campaign.



Liège-Province

Key urban centres : Liège and its surrounding communes, Verviers, Eupen (and Ostkantons).

Seats available : 15

2014 results :

PS 187,934 (30%) 5 seats
MR 158,062 (25%) 5 seats
cdH 81,789 (13%) 2 seats
ECOLO 56,902 (9%) 1 seat
PTB 50,609 (8%) 1 seat
======THRESHOLD===========
PP 32,237 (5%) 0 seats
FDF 14,382 0 seats

Current 2019 seat projection : PS 4 (-1) MR 3 (-2) ECOLO 3 (+2) PTB 3 (+2) cdH 1 (-1)

ECOLO and PTB gaining from the traditional parties was expected here given the Publifin scandal and MR+cdH government being deeply unpopular in this left-wing heartland. cdH are tipped to not even retain their singular seat here, with PS or ECOLO (or maybe even PP!) potentially gaining from them. The issue haven't really falled into PTB's lap enough to challenge PS as they would have liked, but with Hedebouw's charisma this should be their best constituency nationwide.

Luxembourg (Province de)

Key urban centres : hahaha...oh no seriously Arlon and Bastogne.

Seats available :  4

2014 results :
cdH 56,702 (33%) 2 seats
MR 41,346 (24%) 1 seat
PS 37, 373 (22%) 1 seat
========THRESHOLD============
ECOLO 13,471
PP 6,980
PTB 4,003

Current 2019 projection : cdH 1 (-1) MR 1 (nc) PS 1 (nc) Ecolo 1 (+1)

As you can see ECOLO had an almighty uphill task to catch up the traditional parties in the most clientelist province in the country, but they appear to have done it thanks to an equally impressive cdH collapse in their home province dominated by the agricultural industry. I think given the substantial gap and cdH always being underpolled here one of MR, PS or ECOLO could fall victim to cdH knicking a seat back from them.  

Namur Province

Key urban centres : Namur, maybe Dinant.

Seats available : 6

2014 results :
MR 84,788 (28.3%) 2 seats
PS 83, 361 (27,83%) 2 seats
cdH 48,135 (16,07%) 1 seat
ECOLO 29,186 (9.74%) 1 seat
======THRESHOLD=======
PTB 14,559 (5%) 0 seats
PP 13,029 (4.3%) 0 seats
FDF 8,367 (2.8%) 0 seats

Current 2019 Projection : PS 2 (nc) ECOLO 2 (+1) MR 1 (-1) PTB 1 (+1)

Namur is always a close contest. MR did well to just pip PS here in 2014, although they had the benefit of being in opposition in Wallonia. Now they are staring at defeat and a key swing constituency being solidly left. cdH leader Prévot could face humiliation here by not being elected but I think he should be able to defy the polls (as cdH always do) and resist from PTB. Very tough contest, this one, just like the mayoral race for its namesake city. Definitely one to watch tomorrow.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 25, 2019, 03:29:01 pm
You'll have noticed I did not list any parties that didn't make the overall federal parliament - minor parties. This is both to show you that the electoral system does not really help them as such, partly because people tactically vote, partly because of small constituencies so the pie is hard to divide. I also didn't list them because the small parties tend to change every four-five years because party funding is dependent on seats and political issues change. I'll do a brief preview of some of these more crackpot parties when we get to Brussels, where they are most likely to surge.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 01:55:02 am
Time for Brussels. We are the most unrepresented constituency in the land (thank you peripheral nationalists) having only 15 seats for 1.8 million people and something like 600,000 eligible voters. Thus the threshold and d'Hondt method makes it hard for the small parties and the Flemish parties to get in federally. Note that because of the FLemish college system regionally Flemish and small parties tend to stand there and do well within it.

Edit : and as a reminder the 7 communes with franciphone majorities in the Brussels périphérie also have access to this electoral arena should they wish, and can vote for francophone parties

Seats available : 15

2014 results :
PS 124,053 (24.8%) 5 seats
MR 115,049 (23%) 4 seats
FDF (Défi) 55,323 (11%) 2 seats
ECOLO-Groen 52,147 (10.5%) 2 seats
cdH 46,508 (9.3%) 2 seats
====THRESHOLD=======
PTB/PVDA 19.142
Open VLD 13,294 (2.6%)
N-VA 13,240 (2.6%)
sp.a 9,633 (1.9%)
PP 8.651 (1.7%)
CD&V 8,193 (1.6%)
Vlaams Belang 5,165 (1%)

Current 2019 projection : PS 4 (-1) ECOLO-Groen 4 (+2) MR 3 (-1) PTB/PVDA 2 (+2) Défi 1 (-1) cdH 1 (-1) N-VA 0 CD&V 0 Open Vld 0 sp.a 0 VB 0 Listes Destexhes/PP 0

The key question every psephology anorak is asking is whether the cdH collapse will see the N-VA gain their first federal seat in Brussels, largely due to a growing francophone fanbase for the nationalist movement within the capital. At the regional level the N-VA may be forced upon the francophone parties into government because of how well they are doing in the Flemish college. But here it looks like PTB/PVDA scoring well and as a result raising the threshold, as well as the entry of hard right Listes Destexhe into the francophone electoral arena, will stop N-VA from gaining federal seat here.


Minor Parties



Listes Destexhe : Breakaway movement of Alain Destexhe from the MR, the LD will eventually change its name if its manages, as some polls predict, to break through is Brussels. Destexhe is an ex-humanitarian, having worked for Médecins Sans Frontières, who took up issues of integration in his political portfolio when he entered politics with MR. During his stint there he was largely unsuccessful, and at the same time a useful pawn for the MR leadership to deploy on TV debates or panels to shore up the hard to far right vote in Brussels and Wallonia. He regularly clashes with his colleagues in Brussels, especially FDF (then part of the MR cartel)  who accused him of carpet bagging when he ran his own list against Gosuin in Auderghem. Now he wants to create a "Francophone N-VA", just without the communitarian/nationalist agenda. If there is one minor party capable of gaining a seat this election, it might be this one in Brussels because of a low threshold collapse.

DierAnimal : since ECOLO's electoral tract saying they protect the ritual slaughter of animals as a religious freedom right, Belgium's more radical answer to the Partij van de Dieren in the Netherlands is standing in several constituencies and stands a chance of gaining protest votes. Their posters are the candidates posting with different animals.

Be.one : Another case of looking over the border and trying to copy the neighbours success, without realising how hard it is for new parties without a cartel. Be.one is essentially the same as Artikel 1 in the NL, only perhaps more Muslim-orientated given the names on the list (since after all some of their community leaders consider themselves as the victims-in-chief, above all else). Its pretty much some woke stuff about ending discrimination on all levels (gender, race, religion, etc.).  

VOLT : the pan-European VOLT movement hopes to make an impact in the local Belgian political scene too. By standing candidates in the Flemish college in Brussels they hope to potentially outmaneuver the other small parties, needing less votes, but also a federal list in Antwerp province. Still quite unlikely as their platform of liberalism with federal EU, etc is in tough competition with the liberal pillar anyway and they fail to really address typically Belgo-belgian issues that get people elected (which is also admirable in a sense).

B.u.B : a party advocated a return to a Belgian unitary state, that has been taken over by hard to far right elements.

Nation and Agir : two far right groupuscules that stand in Wallonia. Nation is a national socialist far right movement iirc.

de coöperatie : some sort of wierd technocratic, civil society movement that is running two lists in Flanders. Very vague program but clearly anti-political and based on "long term solutions".

There are also many other minor parties standing in the regional elections. the RTBF have a great list of all the ballot papers in pdf here :

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_a-quoi-vont-ressembler-vos-bulletins-de-vote-ce-dimanche-26-mai-voici-les-listes-region-par-region?id=10228473


 Feel free to ask and I'll try to answer tomorrow. I will be quite busy today so I hope Lakigigar is online. Otherwise I've laid the groundwork for you to analyse the results.

The liveblogs will be here :

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/05/26/liveblog-verkiezingen/

https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_les-bureaux-de-votes-ouvrent-suivez-notre-direct?id=10229338

the streams will also be up on their websites shortly. I wouldn't blame you for following the broader EP votes though. I didn't really have time to preview those in Belgium.
 




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Umengus on May 26, 2019, 04:33:30 am
Destexhe will have seats (and probably a group)  in the Brussels assembly because there is a technical agreement between Destexhe and the PP to have it: votes for PP and destexhe will be counted together.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 05:01:52 am
My cousin will probably vote DierAnimal, but she's very radical about animals as well. I just voted PVDA-PTB three times :).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 06:36:09 am
What happened to the DENK copy? Wasn't it named ISLAM or so?

Is there any chance VB get two seats in Flemish Brabant?

Will there be a livestream and exit polls? I assume there is no embargo on federal election results, only on EU parliament results?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 07:33:08 am
What happened to the DENK copy? Wasn't it named ISLAM or so?

Is there any chance VB get two seats in Flemish Brabant?

Will there be a livestream and exit polls? I assume there is no embargo on federal election results, only on EU parliament results?
No, ISLAM is more radical than DENK, but there are multiple DENK copy parties like D-SA and Be.one and more... They really couldn't unite and all, and won't be a huge influence to this election.

One seat is almost certainly, two is a possibility but not entirely sure of chance rates

I'm not sure either, but i'll keep you updated if you want in this topic. I'm not sure if there is even an embargo on the EU election. I'm not sure if we even have exit polls, usually not.

https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/#/2/15/2000/percentages (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/#/2/15/2000/percentages) here you can see the results


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 07:37:29 am
ISLAM wasn't a Denk copy, it was far worse. The former sp.a Turkish guy who formed his own movement thought out as a carbon copy of Denk is running lists called D-SA in Flanders I think, although more so that Denk they insist they're not a migrant party.

ISLAM's old vice president is now in a list in Brussels called Act-SALEM. I think they are much more moderate but they probably have some dodgy Islamists in the lower ranks of their list. (Every party in Brussels has utter idiots in their list, that haven't been vetted properly compared to the other constituencies). You also have a one candidate liste called "Hé" in Bxl that is solely about the "right" for women to wear the full veil.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 07:41:52 am
PVDA-PTB also has extremists in their lower ranks... I always pay attention to who i vote, but in particular in Brussels it's a problem. Some that are elected already left the PVDA because they don't give half of their wage to the party or vote for different legislations than what PVDA advocates of (mostly in case of foreigners that are elected). Not to say Groen / Ecolo has those utter idiots on their lists as well ofc. (and PS even more)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 07:43:55 am
PVDA-PTB also has extremists in their lower ranks... I always pay attention to who i vote, but in particular in Brussels it's a problem. Some that are elected already left the PVDA because they don't give half of their wage to the party or vote for different legislations than what PVDA advocates of (mostly in case of foreigners that are elected). Not to say Groen / Ecolo has those utter idiots on their lists as well ofc.

Yeah those two morons who left the PTB party whip at Molenbeek's council because "we didn't know that it was a Communist party and that it had such a strict top-down approach"...i just want to slap these people. And the councillors in Schaerbeek who towed the conspiracy theories about a raped 4 year old and a government conspiracy. These guys get elected based on their contact book and having too much free time.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 07:48:34 am
Currently gilets jaunes riots / protests in Brussels on election day.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Double Carpet on May 26, 2019, 08:07:41 am
What time does voting close in Belgium?

Thought it was 3pm nationwide but French-speaking TV has just said 4pm local time Brussels and 2pm local time Wallonia? What time does Flanders close?

Thanks and thanks for all the updates!

DC


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Walmart_shopper on May 26, 2019, 08:11:51 am
Will there be exit polls?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 08:26:49 am
()

first result from a local canton, 7% counted. Very early yet, but possible trends to be seen already: far-right populist party wins a lot.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 08:48:24 am
You heard the "wow" in the studio... This is shocking from a canton in west-flanders. The right-wing populist party gains 25%.

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 08:53:23 am
But in Tongeren N-VA loses a lot to Open VLD instead of VB. Why would people switch from N-VA to Open VLD? Do they think the N-VA has become too right-wing?

Livestream in Dutch here (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/05/26/liveblog-verkiezingen/).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 08:54:44 am
That's depressing. For those who don't know This is a party with historical apologists of Nazi collaboration in its ranks from its Vlaams Blok days and welcomed an anti-Semite apologist with open arms, not some startup right-wing populist movement railing against the establishment, the Left, etc. It seems the makeover they did did them a lot of good with Van Grieken.

But in Tongeren N-VA loses a lot to Open VLD instead of VB. Why would people switch from N-VA to Open VLD? Do they think the N-VA has become too right-wing?

The VLD mayor there is very popular.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 08:55:12 am
But in Tongeren N-VA loses a lot to Open VLD instead of VB. Why would people switch from N-VA to Open VLD? Do they think the N-VA has become too right-wing?

Not fully counted, it's a small community inside a canton that is counted (the smallest county in Belgium with only like 100 inhabitants, so i wouldn't pay a lot of attention to it).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 09:09:51 am
First exit polls for Francophone Belgium

https://m.rtl.be/info/1127524


Disgusted.

I guess the key questions now are whether PTB make threshold in Bxl and Défi in Wallonia, and if PS and Écolo can hold a majority.

Écolo appear to have bombed in Wallonia.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 09:33:17 am
What a bizarre VRT report. Some VRT lady in a car with an undecided voter judging politicians (mostly female ones) based on their apperance on promotion flyers.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Walmart_shopper on May 26, 2019, 09:51:09 am
First exit polls for Francophone Belgium

https://m.rtl.be/info/1127524


Disgusted.

I guess the key questions now are whether PTB make threshold in Bxl and Défi in Wallonia, and if PS and Écolo can hold a majority.

Écolo appear to have bombed in Wallonia.

This is a pretty strong result for the PS, correct? And a relative disappointment for Ecolo?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 09:57:30 am
First exit polls for Francophone Belgium

https://m.rtl.be/info/1127524


Disgusted.

I guess the key questions now are whether PTB make threshold in Bxl and Défi in Wallonia, and if PS and Écolo can hold a majority.

Écolo appear to have bombed in Wallonia.

This is a pretty strong result for the PS, correct? And a relative disappointment for Ecolo?

Yes.
Écolo had a very bad to the end of the campaign.
PS are still on the decline but they just have too much power through their union and clientelist links to be shaken.
In the end Écolo were counting on environment dominating the campaign and mainly MR voters flocking their way. When Écolo got caught with that electoral tract I think people realised they are just an amateuresque version of PS.

I really think cdH and MR missed a trick not allowing the PS to see out their term in Wallonia rather than governing for 2 measly years and then entering these as the incumbent.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 10:01:23 am
And the Flemish exit poll has N-VA and VB 1rst and second...both with a combined majority I think. This country is fcuked.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 10:07:56 am
Seems as if the N-VA is holding up better in the Antwerp metro than in places like Western Flanders, where VB's gains are through the roof.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 10:15:51 am
Looks like ECOLO are recovering from early exit poll underperformance thanks to a very strong showing in Liège.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 10:18:03 am
Seems as if the N-VA is holding up better in the Antwerp metro than in places like Western Flanders, where VB's gains are through the roof.

And they are also holding up better in Vlaams Brabant. So DVL didn't have a net positive effect. And VB's vote is for "forgotten Flanders", NVA for successful Flanders.

Im off to election party.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: ¢®🅰ß 🦀 ©@k€ 🎂 on May 26, 2019, 10:30:15 am
So if the majority of the Flemish parliament are separatists rather than confederalists, will we see any moves to actually split up the state?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 10:30:35 am
()

Black sunday confirmed


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 10:43:53 am
So if the majority of the Flemish parliament are separatists rather than confederalists, will we see any moves to actually split up the state?

I think the N-VA will have to advocate at the very least confederalism.

If the francophone parties have any marbles they will call the Flemish electorates bluff and offer them a referendum in exchange for a corridor between Brussels and Wallonia


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Walmart_shopper on May 26, 2019, 10:50:03 am
So what kind of coalition seems likely at this point?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 11:35:46 am
They are already questioning the cordon sanitaire.

So what kind of coalition seems likely at this point?

Really no idea, it might take months, possibly up to a year to form a coalition.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: ¢®🅰ß 🦀 ©@k€ 🎂 on May 26, 2019, 11:40:24 am
If Flanders were to leave, would N-VA and VB want to leave the EU as well? Have they ever released plans to how an independent Flemish state would function or is ir more vague dreams?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: parochial boy on May 26, 2019, 11:50:19 am
What's a good place for french language coverage? I'm on RTBF at the moment, but it's not particularly user friendly


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 26, 2019, 11:59:24 am
If Flanders were to leave, would N-VA and VB want to leave the EU as well? Have they ever released plans to how an independent Flemish state would function or is ir more vague dreams?

VB Yes
N-VA no.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: PSOL on May 26, 2019, 12:17:34 pm
Does any polling exist on where Brussels voters would go in an eventual breakup?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 26, 2019, 12:35:04 pm
How come VB are doing so well this time?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 12:39:09 pm
How come VB are doing so well this time?
N-VA were in the federal government and failed to deliver on their promises. VB portrayed them as weak on immigration, and the climate issue hurt them too, with N-VA mobility minister Ben Weyts toying with the idea of kilometer pricing for cars. In addition, the N-VA did zilch to pursue further autonomy for Flanders. Meanwhile, the N-VA did move the discourse to the right and normalized ideas and rhetoric that used to be off-limits for non-VB parties.

As a result, a lot of voters moved to VB but N-VA probably did attract voters from more centrist parties (looking at you, Flemish Brabant), resulting in a clear rightward shift as VB won a lot more than N-VA lost.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 26, 2019, 12:42:58 pm
How come VB are doing so well this time?
N-VA were in the federal government and failed to deliver on their promises. VB portrayed them as weak on immigration, and the climate issue hurt them too, with N-VA mobility minister Ben Weyts toying with the idea of kilometer pricing for cars. In addition, the N-VA did zilch to pursue further autonomy for Flanders. Meanwhile, the N-VA did move the discourse to the right and normalized ideas and rhetoric that used to be off-limits for non-VB parties.

As a result, a lot of voters moved to VB but N-VA probably did attract voters from more centrist parties (looking at you, Flemish Brabant), resulting in a clear rightward shift as VB won a lot more than N-VA lost.

I mean that's the thing. These don't just seem to be vote trasnfers from NVA, they're getting votes from other parties too. How do people jump from say Open VLD to VB?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 26, 2019, 12:48:15 pm
I mean that's the thing. These don't just seem to be vote trasnfers from NVA, they're getting votes from other parties too. How do people jump from say Open VLD to VB?
They're getting votes from other parties too, but I think the N-VA may be gaining votes from parties like Open VLD and CD&V, thereby mitigating the losses to VB to a certain extent.

I think the step from Open VLD and especially CD&V to VB isn't too unrealistic to take for some, though. Especially thinking of small entrepreneurs and the like here, not the elites of course. Heard anecdotal evidence of a friend whose family moved from Open VLD to VB: "this time for Flanders." In that respect, Van Grieken's strategy has probably worked in "detoxifying" VB: he clearly comes across as more moderate than Dewinter. But clearly most of the VB vote came directly from the N-VA.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: mileslunn on May 26, 2019, 04:39:08 pm
Looks like a great day in Belgium for extremist parties on both ends.  Biggest gains by Vlaams Belang on far right and Workers Party on far left.  Any chance either might be included or will a cordon sanitaire keep both out.  Also living here in Canada, sort of reminds me of last year's New Brunswick election; English speaking parts swung rightwards while French speaking parts leftwards and it seems here French speaking areas swinging to the left, Dutch speaking areas swinging to the right.

My understanding though is if separation occurs, Flanders would join the Netherlands as opposed to become its own country.  As for Brussels being an island inside Flemish territory, that would be a non-issue as long both areas remain part of the EU as there are no internal border controls due Scheghen Agreement and EU law states people have the right to live and work in any member state.  Only issue might be on taxes, what happens to someone who lives in Flemish territory but works in Brussels, which country would they pay their taxes to or would they split it.  I am assuming if like North America it would be where they reside not work.

If Flanders joined Netherlands, any chance Wallonia then might join France?  Another thing I've noticed when travelling to Belgium is in Flemish areas most know how to speak French but don't like using it while I think in Wallonia most don't speak Dutch.  Certainly with English, I found practically everyone in Flanders speaks English as a second language (sort of like Netherlands), but in Wallonia, I would say more don't know how to speak English than do (sort of like France).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 04:44:18 pm
I see people already making scenarios as to what would happen if there was a split etc.
Neither N-VA and VB ran on that program.
Just like the other right-wing populists in the EU, they moderated any revolutionary rhetoric of seperatism and split from the EU (N-VA have always been very much against sudden independence). They focused on immigration and stopping being governed by the Walloon Left. And a whole bunch of other issues like preserving company cars (which is so important to the Flemish citizen that isn't a city dweller).

Now they could use their newfound position to try and force, at most, confederalism. But none of the francophone parties will follow them through.

Like I said, if the Francophones have balls they can call the Flemish electorates bluff and stop Flemish nationalism as a devolutionary movement dead in its tracks by asking them for two referendums : independence of Flanders in exchange for referendum on status of the Brussels Rand. Essentially trading one go at Flemish independence for the return of the linguistic censii to determine what is and is not Flanders. Both of those things (the independence campaign and the return of linguistic census) could be terminal for the Flemish movement. N-VA would lose all credibility of being a strong and stable government party campaigning for Yes, VB would be basically carving out their proto fascist state losing a huge crown jewel that is Brussels and EU trade.

But the Francophone political class, just like its voters, its economy, its effing mentality ( I speak as a francophone, sorry if it offends) are sedentary. They're actually perfectly happy to play the long game and rinse themselves silly with mandates here and there, EU funds and projects, etc. With the possible exception of Maingain, none of them have the faintest idea what to do about Flemish nationalism, nor do I imagine many of the PS-types care, since their party has been essentially regionalist under a cape of "bisounours Belgicism" since the 1970s. And as it looks like the Brussels institutions are safe from N-VA control (Groen have beaten them in the electoral college), I predict the francophone political class will just rest on their constitutionally afforded laurels and we will have the same deadlock as in 2007 and 2010-2012. And like in both occasions eventually VB voters will flock back to the moderate nationalists (N-VA) to try to form a right-wing federal government. Rinse and repeat.  

so tldr : the scission of Belgium will not be on the agenda this legislative cycle

The question is at what point do francophone electorates get tired of the northern neighbours.


Anyway some other key questions that needed answering :


So what kind of coalition seems likely at this point?

The same one that negotiated the accord in 2012. So Tripartite + Greens, although VLD might pass again and rejoin in a minority government. Honestly its not a disaster if we stay in a "current affairs" government in the mean time. It means more power to parliament and that also mean the children inside have to compromise or face further disgruntlement with the political class.  

The key coalitions are at regional level. One they are formed we will see what can be done.

Will N-VA break the cordon sanitaire?

They say they will but they won't. Why? Because the VB score and the threat of VB+N-VA is their trump card in negotiations. They can't afford to lose that. But they can't ally with VB and ever be taken seriously by the francophones either.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 05:01:54 pm
Looks like a great day in Belgium for extremist parties on both ends.  Biggest gains by Vlaams Belang on far right and Workers Party on far left.  Any chance either might be included or will a cordon sanitaire keep both out.  Also living here in Canada, sort of reminds me of last year's New Brunswick election; English speaking parts swung rightwards while French speaking parts leftwards and it seems here French speaking areas swinging to the left, Dutch speaking areas swinging to the right.

My understanding though is if separation occurs, Flanders would join the Netherlands as opposed to become its own country.  As for Brussels being an island inside Flemish territory, that would be a non-issue as long both areas remain part of the EU as there are no internal border controls due Scheghen Agreement and EU law states people have the right to live and work in any member state.  Only issue might be on taxes, what happens to someone who lives in Flemish territory but works in Brussels, which country would they pay their taxes to or would they split it.  I am assuming if like North America it would be where they reside not work.

If Flanders joined Netherlands, any chance Wallonia then might join France?  Another thing I've noticed when travelling to Belgium is in Flemish areas most know how to speak French but don't like using it while I think in Wallonia most don't speak Dutch.  Certainly with English, I found practically everyone in Flanders speaks English as a second language (sort of like Netherlands), but in Wallonia, I would say more don't know how to speak English than do (sort of like France).

Flanders would not join the NL.
Wallonia would not join France, even less chance than the above.
Brussels would not be happy as an enclave of the Netherlands, or an indepedent Flanders. Its legal status is already incredibly tetchy.

These ideas are all interesting on paper to some but fail to take into account historical realities. Let's focus on the concrete results as they come in instead.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 05:14:12 pm
DierAnimal have their first seat in the Brussels parliament courtesy of the Flemish Francophone lists.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 26, 2019, 05:52:10 pm
Projected seat distribution for the Federal level

N-VA 25 (-8)
PS 19 (-4)
Vlaams Belang 18 (+15)
MR 15 (-5)
Ecolo 13 (+7)
CD&V 12 (-6)
Open Vld 12 (-2)
PTB*PVDA 12 (+12) -
SP.A 9 (-4)
Groen 8 (+2)
cdH 5 (-4)
Défi 2 (nc)
PP 0 (-1)

Based on these results, the Flemish leaders Combrez, Beke, Rutte and to a lesser extent De Wever have a lot of self-reflecting to do. PM Michel is toast. Bizarrely, none of the other Francophone leaders will really be at risk. Di Rupo will probably step aside permanently. Prévot can't be blamed.

I'll do region by region tomorrow. Wallonia and Brussels should be straightforward. Flanders ironically has the biggest headache for coalition making.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Heat on May 26, 2019, 08:47:12 pm
Projected seat distribution for the Federal level

N-VA 25 (-8)
PS 19 (-4)
Vlaams Belang 18 (+15)
MR 15 (-5)
Ecolo 13 (+7)
CD&V 12 (-6)
Open Vld 12 (-2)
PTB*PVDA 12 (+12) -
SP.A 9 (-4)
Groen 8 (+2)
cdH 5 (-4)
Défi 2 (nc)
PP 0 (-1)

Based on these results, the Flemish leaders Combrez, Beke, Rutte and to a lesser extent De Wever have a lot of self-reflecting to do. PM Michel is toast. Bizarrely, none of the other Francophone leaders will really be at risk. Di Rupo will probably step aside permanently. Prévot can't be blamed.

I'll do region by region tomorrow. Wallonia and Brussels should be straightforward. Flanders ironically has the biggest headache for coalition making.

The official results page (https://elections2019.belgium.be/fr/resultats-chiffres?el=CK&id=CKR00000) still has PS at 20 and MR at 14 with just 4 polling stations to go.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 02:07:06 am
Walloon Parliament 2019 :

PS 23 (-7)
MR 20 (-5)
Ecolo 12 (+8)
cdH 10 (-3)
PTB 10 (+8)
PP 0 (-1)

Likely Walloon majority : PS-ECOLO-cdH

Flemish Parliament 2019 :

N-VA 35 (-8)
VB 23 (+17)
CD&V 19 (-8)
Open Vld 16 (-3)
Groen 14 (+4)
sp.a 13 (-5)
PVDA+ 4 (+4)
UF 0 (-1)

Likely Flemish majority : N-VA-VLD-CDV-sp.a

Brussels Parliament 2019 :

FR
PS 17 (-4)
ECOLO 15 (+7)
MR 13 (-5)
Défi 10 (-2)
PTB 10 (+6)
cdH 6 (-3)
DierAnimal 1

Looks like DierAnimal actually got in on the francophone side! Even more humiliating for Destexhe then who couldn't get in.

NL
Groen 4
spa-One.Brussels 3
Open VLD 3
N-VA 3
PVDA 1
CD&V 1
Vlaams Belang 1
Agora* 1

*Agora are a citizens party that advocate a system whereby people are chosen at random and selected in a council to decide on public affairs. Very clever of them to stand on NL lists as they are popular with francophones but knew the threshold was difficult. There program is in English here : https://www.agora.brussels/?lang=en

Likely Brussels majority : FR --> PS-Défi-ECOLO NL --> Open Vld-Groen-sp.a




Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 02:19:04 am
For the moment the two federal coalitions most likely are the previous "Swedish" coalition + ECOLO/groen, and the old "Rainbow"/Purple coalition (Green-Red-Blue) + Défi.  

We're in for a long protracted negotiation period.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 02:40:37 am
Flemish parties in Brussels reached record shares and numbers of voters. Some 16.500 more compared to 2014. Mainly new parties like Agora and possibly ECOLO voters switching to Groen after their controversy and several Francophone political scientists calling for people to vote on Flemish lists. Decisive factor in blocking the N-VA in the Belgian capital.

Preference vote contest (means quite little in grand scheme of things these days but still interesting) :

1. Jambon (N-VA, Antwerp) 187,826 votes
2. Di Rupo (PS ,Hainaut) 123,809 votes (down a lot compared to 2014)
3. Theo Francken (N-VA ,Vlaams Brabant) 122,738 votes (excellent result given his constituency)
4. Tom Van Grieken (VB, Antwerp) 122,232 votes
5. Alexander de Croo (VLD, East Flanders) 80,283 votes



Also Georges-Louis Bouchez, the MR campaign spokesperson and all round fireband, failed to get a seat in Hainaut despite a strong preference vote score. His twitter is something to behold btw. Probably a big campaign mistake for MR to deploy this guy, not necessarily because of his ideas but his inexperience.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 27, 2019, 04:30:34 am
Flemish Parliament 2019 :

N-VA 35 (-8)
VB 23 (+17)
CD&V 19 (-8)
Open Vld 16 (-3)
Groen 14 (+4)
sp.a 13 (-5)
PVDA+ 4 (+4)
UF 0 (-1)

Likely Flemish majority : N-VA-VLD-CDV-sp.a

Why with the sp.a? N-VA, Open VLD and CD&V have a majority already. Adding the sp.a would be even more difficult for the N-VA.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 04:47:07 am
You are right, they will likely reconduct the previous majority.

EDIT : like in 2010 (and 2014 with VLD) though they may take in one party as a "bridge" for the federal coalition but De Wever says he won't govern with the left.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 04:56:34 am
7sur7 have a very simple interactive electoral map :

https://www.7sur7.be/home/elections-consultez-la-carte-des-resultats-ici~a94d232b/





Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: tack50 on May 27, 2019, 05:05:12 am
Given that PS-Ecolo-PTB have a majority in Wallonia, why not go with a full left wing government coalition?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 05:17:33 am
Given that PS-Ecolo-PTB have a majority in Wallonia, why not go with a full left wing government coalition?

Its unlikely PS-ECOLO use that majority because it will alienate the Flemish parties they might be forced to work with at the federal level. Last time out PS-cdH and N-VA-CD&V (later VLD) immediately formed regional majorities and people predicted a massive block until MR ceded at the federal level. This time there is more of a likelihood that regional and federal coalition formations are thought out in tandem. Brussels will be the easiest one.

If they do use that majority though, I still woulnd't expect to see PTB ministers. They lack a lot of personnel. They're still growing as a party.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on May 27, 2019, 06:24:00 am
7sur7 have a very simple interactive electoral map :

https://www.7sur7.be/home/elections-consultez-la-carte-des-resultats-ici~a94d232b/
Why does Open VLD do so well in the southwest of Eastern Flanders? I expected them to do better in Flemish Brabant and worse there.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 27, 2019, 06:29:59 am
7sur7 have a very simple interactive electoral map :

https://www.7sur7.be/home/elections-consultez-la-carte-des-resultats-ici~a94d232b/
Why does Open VLD do so well in the southwest of Eastern Flanders? I expected them to do better in Flemish Brabant and worse there.

Flemish Brabant has Maggie De Block effect of 2014 that is worn out.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on May 27, 2019, 06:47:58 am
Given that PS-Ecolo-PTB have a majority in Wallonia, why not go with a full left wing government coalition?

It's a possibility if the Swedish coalition continues on Flemish level, but we might have a problem with the federal parliamant than.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 07:08:05 am
7sur7 have a very simple interactive electoral map :

https://www.7sur7.be/home/elections-consultez-la-carte-des-resultats-ici~a94d232b/
Why does Open VLD do so well in the southwest of Eastern Flanders? I expected them to do better in Flemish Brabant and worse there.

I said that nobody really deployed big hitters in East Flanders, but the fact that Alex de Croo (who is well like with rich and yuppies alike) was leading their federal list while Verhofdstadt was head of list for Europe probably helped their campaign here a lot. Also East Flanders is well off compared to West, and less traditionally nationalist compared to Antwerp. N-VA in East Flanders are a bit of a joke (Bracke and his conflicts of interest, Gent internal divisions).

Those southwestern communes are reasonably rich communes. The kind of people whose parents voted VLD.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 07:17:28 am
7sur7 have a very simple interactive electoral map :

https://www.7sur7.be/home/elections-consultez-la-carte-des-resultats-ici~a94d232b/
Why does Open VLD do so well in the southwest of Eastern Flanders? I expected them to do better in Flemish Brabant and worse there.

Flemish Brabant has Maggie De Block effect of 2014 that is worn out.

He's right that those are suburbs that usually did very well for VLD in the past though. I think Francken helped get them on board with N-VA in Flemish Brabant.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 27, 2019, 07:31:54 am
The King is to meet Bart De Wever and Elio Di Rupo this afternoon (3PM and 4PM respectively I believe).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 07:34:37 am
The King is to meet Bart De Wever and Elio Di Rupo this afternoon (3PM and 4PM respectively I believe).

whatyearisit.jpeg


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 27, 2019, 12:18:30 pm
From the ever present Pascal Delwit :

Wallonia electoral trends since 1946 (puts PS "win" into perspective) :

()


Flanders since 1995 :

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 30, 2019, 01:21:47 pm
https://www.lalibre.be/actu/politique-belge/pourquoi-le-roi-a-opte-pour-didier-reynders-et-johan-vande-lanotte-comme-informateurs-5cefe18d7b50a62b5b9a9d8d?cx_testId=3&cx_testVariant=cx_1&cx_artPos=2#cxrecs_s

Didier Reynders (MR) and Johan Vande Lanotte (SP.A) have been named as "informateurs" by the King.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 30, 2019, 01:29:33 pm
How likely is it that either of them would be named formateur afterwards?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 30, 2019, 03:39:43 pm
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: tack50 on May 31, 2019, 05:47:34 am
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 31, 2019, 06:33:56 am
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

The issue of not having a majority on both sides of the community divide is a big one for any party. Last time out there was no majority for the francophone side (De Weber Saïd he was uncomfortable with this, and I believe him because he genuinely believes the two democracy theory) but it was justified by the fact that PS-cdH tied themselves to each other.

In this case though VLD need to appear nationalist. Any party on the Flemish Right does. No True Scotsman taken to an entire political spectrum does that. You're now not a "Good Genuine Fleming" if you cater to the federal interest over narrow regional economic nationalism.

Quote
Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)

Unlikely, but if we do adopt confederalism I think we'll also adopt a federal-wide constituency, and the parties will start running together again (while still having a separate structure).



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 31, 2019, 06:44:12 am
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)

Yeah, splitting the parties on linguistic lines was a disaster imo, and I think it very heavily contributed to the situation we have today.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 31, 2019, 06:52:17 am
https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_le-parti-populaire-c-est-fini-mischael-modrikamen-va-l-annoncer?id=10235195&fbclid=IwAR3Ms-t3ZukDyOIBs6GPmNswFrZzfCAWXVDACgql5wDhbGNL2WOa7MqeI_8

The Parti Populaire is going to be disbanded


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 31, 2019, 07:22:26 am
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)

Yeah, splitting the parties on linguistic lines was a disaster imo, and I think it very heavily contributed to the situation we have today.

It's really not. The split federal constituencies made that a problem in the first place. But even if (just for the sake of counterfactual which is dodgy anyway) we theorise that the parties would have stuck together, the long run the CVP-PSC would have been heavily "Flemish dominated" and the PSB-BSP a "Walloon dominated", or at least perceived as such. And it would not stop parties like Rassemblement Wallon and Volksunie who are the parties that pressured the split along linguistic lines. Quite the contrary, they disappeared because the mainstream parties adopted their stances. Had the latter not done that then we'd have much bigger stints without government.


The real nail in the coffin was BHV being scinded rather than treated as a place where federal interests converged. Parties would have to find compromise if such an important part of the country had to be fought on a platform of reconciliation. And BHV is essentially future metropolitan Brussels and needs a common governance structure if we're going to run our greatest asset in our country (the EU NATO institutions) in a non-third world sh**thole manner. Instead we went for narrow linguistic nationalism.

Edit : I say we,  but the Flemish have to take the major part of the blame there. But VB was higher than it was now when that episode went down.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Beagle on May 31, 2019, 07:45:34 am
...

But the Francophone political class, just like its voters, its economy, its effing mentality ( I speak as a francophone, sorry if it offends) are sedentary. ...



Edit : I say we, the Flemish have to take the major part of the blame there. But VB was higher than it was now when that episode went down.

Now I am confused...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 31, 2019, 08:02:42 am
...

But the Francophone political class, just like its voters, its economy, its effing mentality ( I speak as a francophone, sorry if it offends) are sedentary. ...



Edit : I say we, the Flemish have to take the major part of the blame there. But VB was higher than it was now when that episode went down.

Now I am confused...

In my OP I said "we" as Belgians went for narrow linguistic nationalism. But it was mainly Flemish political class driven movement. FDF also had extreme views on this but they don't have the electoral scores to back this up.

As a francophone Brusseleir I don't take any blame for BHV or wanting to enlarge Brussels, which is fundamentally not stripping any rights to Flemish speakers and instead giving a larger say in the capital's affairs.

You can be Flemish and francophone btw. They were the main target of original Flemish nationalism before Walloons (who some Flemish nationalists consider to be victims of francophone elites), as decedents of the old French administrative class.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 31, 2019, 12:42:26 pm
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)

Yeah, splitting the parties on linguistic lines was a disaster imo, and I think it very heavily contributed to the situation we have today.

It's really not. The split federal constituencies made that a problem in the first place. But even if (just for the sake of counterfactual which is dodgy anyway) we theorise that the parties would have stuck together, the long run the CVP-PSC would have been heavily "Flemish dominated" and the PSB-BSP a "Walloon dominated", or at least perceived as such. And it would not stop parties like Rassemblement Wallon and Volksunie who are the parties that pressured the split along linguistic lines. Quite the contrary, they disappeared be side the mainstream parties adopted their stances. Had the latter not done that then we'd have much bigger stints without government.


The real nail in the coffin was BHV being scinded rather than treated as a place where federal interests converged. Parties would have to find compromise if such an important part of the country had to be fought on a platform of reconciliation. And BHV is essentially future metropolitan Brussels and needs a common governance structure if we're going to run our greatest asset as a country in a non-third world sh**thole manner. Instead we went for narrow linguistic nationalism.

Edit : I say we,  but the Flemish have to take the major part of the blame there. But VB was higher than it was now when that episode went down.

I agree, federalization was a mistake. Why did Belgium become federal and create split constituencies in the first place? Couldn't the government have forseen that it would have just made problems worse?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on May 31, 2019, 02:02:13 pm
https://www.rtbf.be/info/belgique/detail_le-parti-populaire-c-est-fini-mischael-modrikamen-va-l-annoncer?id=10235195

The situation with PP is pretty confusing


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on May 31, 2019, 11:51:14 pm
Vandelanotte extremely unlikely to impossible
Reynders...maybe although there will either be a procession of these kind of informateurs, explorateurs, formateurs etc or we will head for new elections.

It's all but done now that VLD has said they will not enter a federal coalition without a Flemish majority. That means N-VA involvement ( because VB and PVDA won't enter any federal coalition). N-VA rules out PS, ECOLO. So no federal majority possible.

We'll be heading for new federal elections.



Why is VLD rejecting a non Flemish majority coalition? I thought NVA and VB were the only ones that would care about that stuff?

Further reason to merge the equivalent parties IMO (PS/spa; CDV/CDH, etc)

Yeah, splitting the parties on linguistic lines was a disaster imo, and I think it very heavily contributed to the situation we have today.

It's really not. The split federal constituencies made that a problem in the first place. But even if (just for the sake of counterfactual which is dodgy anyway) we theorise that the parties would have stuck together, the long run the CVP-PSC would have been heavily "Flemish dominated" and the PSB-BSP a "Walloon dominated", or at least perceived as such. And it would not stop parties like Rassemblement Wallon and Volksunie who are the parties that pressured the split along linguistic lines. Quite the contrary, they disappeared be side the mainstream parties adopted their stances. Had the latter not done that then we'd have much bigger stints without government.


The real nail in the coffin was BHV being scinded rather than treated as a place where federal interests converged. Parties would have to find compromise if such an important part of the country had to be fought on a platform of reconciliation. And BHV is essentially future metropolitan Brussels and needs a common governance structure if we're going to run our greatest asset as a country in a non-third world sh**thole manner. Instead we went for narrow linguistic nationalism.

Edit : I say we,  but the Flemish have to take the major part of the blame there. But VB was higher than it was now when that episode went down.

I agree, federalization was a mistake. Why did Belgium become federal and create split constituencies in the first place? Couldn't the government have forseen that it would have just made problems worse?

(This is more "individual politics" but whatever :p )

Federalism was not a mistake in the sense that the Flemish movement as a cultural struggle and the Walloon industrial belt both had very legitimate claims for feeling disenfranchised in a Belgian unitary state. Flemish was marginalised as a language and the lifeblood of the Walloon economy was suddenly closed for reinvestment in new industries up north. The convergence was clear and I think we could have found a decent compromise between cultural and economic devolution, while still maintaining a strong effective Belgian state.

The issue of the constituencies is another matter. I think it harms directly the ability of federal debate to happen, and also it reinforces the traditional parties and harms smaller parties. Instead narrow interests are courted at provincial level and we don't have a proper federal debate on foreign policy, criminal justice, our reason to exist, etc. keep the constituencies a t regional level.*

*Wallonia has a different constituency make up for its regionals though.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 01, 2019, 06:29:06 am
Very interesting articles in the press about tensions between the CD&V and it's associated pillar organisations due to the shocking performance last week. Potentially a cdH style implosion because of the various Catholic orgs no longer relaying to the party.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on June 01, 2019, 01:13:18 pm
Very interesting articles in the press about tensions between the CD&V and it's associated pillar organisations due to the shocking performance last week. Potentially a cdH style implosion because of the various Catholic orgs no longer relaying to the party.

Which articles?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 01, 2019, 04:06:45 pm
Very interesting articles in the press about tensions between the CD&V and it's associated pillar organisations due to the shocking performance last week. Potentially a cdH style implosion because of the various Catholic orgs no longer relaying to the party.



Which articles?

En Flandre, la famille chrétienne au bord de l'éclatement https://www.lecho.be/r/t/1/id/10132314


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 04, 2019, 02:45:43 am
Just an update on all the regional and community government formation talks (which should be quicker than the federal, although the federal talks will be taken more into account.

In Flanders the N-VA, with De Wever as formateur and essentially regional president in waiting, have received every party and already ruled out PVDA but say they are open to talks with the others. Although its somewhat more logical that they leave the door open to VB, as it allows them to threaten the other parties of attempting an alliance with VB if they don't conform to their demands, this has obviously been derided by the centre-left as evidence that the N-VA's claim they don't deal with extremes is only as good as their word.

In Wallonia, Di Rupo (PS) is the formateur with Paul Magnette and has received every party. The main headlines in Wallonia are about whether the PTB are allowed into the government majority. Hedebouw came to the Elysette with strong words saying that he hopes the PS would "respond to the electorates demands by taking a leftwards turn" and that it would be "nice to see if ECOLO are actually a left or right wing party". Thierry Bodson, the leader of the largest (socialist pillar) union, FGTB, re-itterated his desire for a PS-ECOLO-PTB coalition.

In Brussels, things have gotten a bit more complicated because of the possibility of MR replacing PS in the potential majority with ECOLO and Défi on the francophone side. And although traditionally the two majorities on both sides of the linguistic colleges are formed seperately, Open VLD's FLemish branch have instructed their Brussels branch toput on hold any coalition in a bid to blackmail ECOLO and Groen into accepting MR into the office. This is Reynders' ambition again taking center stage. His relations with VLD already soured because of the previous majority not including him and them ing him in the federal negotiations (he wanted a Commission portfolio, it went to CD&V instead). Now he's also banking on putting the foot down with his Flemish counterpart, and his close ties with Bernard Clerfayt of Défi too, so that he can fulfill his ambition of becoming Minister-President of Brussels.

In OstBelgien/German speaking community there is already a majority formed. ProDG had already taken first spot from the CSP in the elections so they were expected to reconduct a majority with Olivier Paasch. It gives them a nice mandate for the eventuality of any state reform to realise their dream of obtaining a region seperate from Wallonia. You can see a run down of their results here : https://www.rtbf.be/info/election/circonscription/detail_les-resultats-des-elections-communautaires-germanophones-2019?id=10216047

In the Francophone Community, people tend to wait for the regions to form and then act accordingly, but the big question is whether cdH's poor results can be seen as a vote of no confidence in Marie Martine-Schyns "pact of excellence" educational reform as a bid to catch up with Flanders (seen as having much higher standard of secondary education). cdH might actually end up in opposition at all levels for the first time in a while as Prévot eyes the long game and banking on a personalist campaign from opposition in 4 years time.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: ¢®🅰ß 🦀 ©@k€ 🎂 on June 04, 2019, 05:03:24 am
What do the linguistic community parliaments actually do? I always assumed they were joke chambers.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 04, 2019, 05:15:41 am
What do the linguistic community parliaments actually do? I always assumed they were joke chambers.

The Flemish one is more of a committee than a parliament in itself. And at the same time it was the Flemish regional competences that were transfered to the Community parliament so its wierd...basically an excuse to have Brussels as their "capital".

Anyway I laid out the community competences (to you :P ) here :

What exactly do the linguistic parliaments do?

Amai. Do you have time to read the Belgian constitution? :D

The simple memory technique we learnt at school was that everything not on the federal level that has to do with material goods and the allocation of resources is devolved to the regional parliaments. This is how the PS(!) demanded Belgian federalism should be shaped in order to stop the CVP from favouring Flemish industry over the declining Walloon one.
Here are the competences : https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/government/regions/competence


The linguistic parliament (or communities) deals with non-material issues. Education is the main one, then healthcare, culture, science, tourism, etc. The Flemish demanded this as they saw it as the next logical step towards the creation of Flemish nationhood (same curriculum, and so on).
https://www.belgium.be/en/about_belgium/government/communities/competence


The typically Belgian compromise was having both. Brussels-Region and the German speaking community (Ostbelgien) politicians tended to lobby for regional structures only, with education and economic policy back in their respective hands.

However, a legal scholar would be able to give you more insight into the exact competences, the particularity of Flanders' government merging the two parliaments and essentially making the linguistic one a committee, etc.

tl,dr its a mess.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 06, 2019, 02:15:29 am
Big development in francophone politics : cdH actually *choosing* to be in opposition..at all levels.

This gives a massive headache to PS, as they are know forced to either back a hard left coalition with ECOLO and PTB and risk alienating the Flemish Right for good or a Purple coalition with MR (remember they already have this configuration in certain key communes) that would pave the way for the same coalition at federal level + the Greens.

For cdH opposition is going to be a time of self-reflection. There's basically 3 movements in the party now : one that is the traditional movement that wants the party to remain a patrician party that serves narrow catholic pillar interests and thus should remain in government, one younger that thinks it should modernise in opposition and become a sort of Macronist movement essentially centrist but not too liberal, an another that wants to merge with the MR. I think its inevitable that the latter happens.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on June 06, 2019, 09:51:27 am
I saw in Le Soir that Maxime Prévot is considering changing the CdH's name as part of rebuilding the party (although no decision has yet been made).

Do you have any idea what the new name could be, or which type of image Prévot wants to give the party?

At anyrate CdH probably does have to rebrand at this point, I think the CdH brand is too damaged at this point, the question would be to what and to attract which type of electorate.

How do you think Maxime Prévot compares two his two predecessors, Benoît Lutgen and Joelle Milquet?

And when you say that a merger with MR is inevitable, how long do you think it will be until that happens?

At anyrate it does seem like there isn't much room for the CdH left on the political scene (my understanding is it's basically thanks to Prévot the party did as well as they did in the first place).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 06, 2019, 10:31:09 am
I saw in Le Soir that Maxime Prévot is considering changing the CdH's name as part of rebuilding the party (although no decision has yet been made).

Do you have any idea what the new name could be, or which type of image Prévot wants to give the party?

No but expect something very...French *hint*

Quote
At anyrate CdH probably does have to rebrand at this point, I think the CdH brand is too damaged at this point, the question would be to what and to attract which type of electorate.


How do you think Maxime Prévot compares two his two predecessors, Benoît Lutgen and Joelle Milquet?

The party itself might be centred around Prévot. He's seen as the "gendre idéal" type. The good son-in-law, clean cut, well spoken. He's also definitely more to the Right and more liberal in the economic sense than Lutgen who was from the farmers interest Luxemburgish wing and especially Milquet who was definitely on the left of the party.  

Weirdly I don't think Prévot is perceived as part of the old establishment parties and glued to the PS (remains to be seen with MR) the same way Milquet and to a lesser extent Lutgen were. Thus he can still remodel the party on a personalist line of "vote for me the squeeky clean guy", a sort of Belgian Macron but with obviously much less slime as we are less self-congratulatory as a people, and also less power over his party, because he didn't found it.

So the type of electorate a new cdH could attract in Wallonia are the people who realise tough decisions need to be made both in terms of economy, immigration and justice but still want a minimum of dignity for them to be done in. Prévot provides a pretty good profile for that. I really don't think there's a big constituency for that though, especially as MR must by now have realised putting firebands in communication roles like Georges-Louis Bouchez did not help them.

Brussels electorate is a wierd mix, mainly "establishment" people, people whose kids go to expensive catholic schools and muslim democrats. I don't think they can look beyond that as a party here.


Quote
And when you say that a merger with MR is inevitable, how long do you think it will be until that happens?

I'd give it one maybe two more elections. Including the potential for fresh federal elections. It'll probably be like what the MCC did*, so initially a cartel so that cdH can make the threshold in the constituencies they do poorly in, then a gradual party merger.  

*and don't discount the MCC vetoing a cdH entry into the MR bubble, they have personal grudges since the split too, but Deprez is getting old and he even appears to have made up with Maingain.


Quote
At anyrate it does seem like there isn't much room for the CdH left on the political scene (my understanding is it's basically thanks to Prévot the party did as well as they did in the first place).

I don't think Prévot could do much, but I don't think he is the reason they did "better than expected" (yet still disastrously bad) either.

 They still always overperform because the pollsters always underestimate family voting in Wallonia (so people who litterally dont give a sh**t about politics but vote because mum and dad vote that way, or vote for their pillar).

Nevertheless, their core electorate is dying or in depopulating regions, their pillar organisations are defecting to ECOLO, they have no clear message, just policy, they are in the EPP (despite their efforts to kick him out at the last, the whole Orban controversy did not help them),  the youth wing and the party itself are at odds because they sold themselves as "radical centrists" and that attracts Macronista types to what is fundementally still a christian democratic party.  and they have the most split party in terms of geography (the Brussels branch humiliated Lutgen by not collapsing the Brussels gov)...I could go on.

Basically Prévot strategy of turning it into a personalist machine that tries to "moralise" politics from the centre ground is the best one...but he's no Emmanuel Macron, and France doesn't have to deal with the cesspit of communitarian politics, which Prévot does not have a stance on because, as I said before, most of the francophone political class don't actually think about things like what happens in Flanders. So he will get found out eventually, or merge with MR with some going to ECOLO.

What I predict will happen in the first case is that then a series of celebrity political entrepreneurs will try their hand in cdH with a soppy unionist message as the country delves further into institutional crisis, the prime candidate being one Vincent Kompany as I don't think its a coincidence his dad is a cdH mayor. And then when that fails they will merge with MR with some going to ECOLO.


EDIT : sorry for the long post :p bored at work.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on June 06, 2019, 11:12:19 am
I saw in Le Soir that Maxime Prévot is considering changing the CdH's name as part of rebuilding the party (although no decision has yet been made).

Do you have any idea what the new name could be, or which type of image Prévot wants to give the party?

No but expect something very...French *hint*

I heard that some communal branches of CdH changed their name to Mouvement Démocrate (like how in France the rump that stuck with Bayrou in the UDF after 2/3rds of the party including VGE jumped ship to join the UMP in 2002 rebranded to the Mouvement Démocrate in 2007) whille others to Challenge Humaniste +. Would either of those be possible at national level, and if so which would be more plausible? I take it Mouvement Démocrate would appeal more to the type of electorate that Prévot represents, who are also the type of electorate that to a large degree have jumped ship to MR in the last 10, 15, 20 years, while Challenge Humaniste + kind of signals that the party is digging its heels in, something that doesn't sound like would fit a Prévot type party. Any opinion on that?

Quote
And when you say that a merger with MR is inevitable, how long do you think it will be until that happens?

I'd give it one maybe two more elections. Including the potential for fresh federal elections. It'll probably be like what the MCC did*, so initially a cartel so that cdH can make the threshold in the constituencies they do poorly in, then a gradual party merger. 

*and don't discount the MCC vetoing a cdH entry into the MR bubble, they have personal grudges since the split too, but Deprez is getting old and he even appears to have made up with Maingain.

That makes sense. Do you think that would be a good thing for non-"leftwing" bourgeois parties?

I saw in Le Soir that Maxime Prévot is considering changing the CdH's name as part of rebuilding the party (although no decision has yet been made).
Quote
At anyrate CdH probably does have to rebrand at this point, I think the CdH brand is too damaged at this point, the question would be to what and to attract which type of electorate.


How do you think Maxime Prévot compares two his two predecessors, Benoît Lutgen and Joelle Milquet?

The party itself might be centred around Prévot. He's seen as the "gendre idéal" type. The good son-in-law, clean cut, well spoken. He's also definitely more to the Right and more liberal in the economic sense than Lutgen who was from the farmers interest Luxemburgish wing and especially Milquet who was definitely on the left of the party. 

Weirdly I don't think Prévot is perceived as part of the old establishment parties and glued to the PS (remains to be seen with MR) the same way Milquet and to a lesser extent Lutgen were. Thus he can still remodel the party on a personalist line of "vote for me the squeeky clean guy", a sort of Belgian Macron but with obviously much less slime as we are less self-congratulatory as a people, and also less power over his party, because he didn't found it.

So the type of electorate a new cdH could attract in Wallonia are the people who realise tough decisions need to be made both in terms of economy, immigration and justice but still want a minimum of dignity for them to be done in. Prévot provides a pretty good profile for that. I really don't think there's a big constituency for that though, especially as MR must by now have realised putting firebands in communication roles like Georges-Louis Bouchez did not help them.

Brussels electorate is a wierd mix, mainly "establishment" people, people whose kids go to expensive catholic schools and muslim democrats. I don't think they can look beyond that as a party here.

I think CdH being glued to PS and running to the left under Milquet may have saved it in Brussels (thanks to getting the muslim democrat vote), but I think it really caused a decline for the party in Wallonia. I was in enseignement libre in a catholic school there and I didn't know a single person who came from a family that still voted CdH (tbf though, I obviously didn't speak politics with everyone) (this was about 10 years ago). The more bourgeois types were from MR supporting types while poorer ones or ones from immigrant backgrounds (that includes Italians) were from PS backgrounds. The latter makes sense, but I think the former all ran to MR because CdH was trying to become a PS light, which I don't think appealed to bourgeois catholics.

The problem for CdH now is the people who still vote CdH for ancestral reasons are in rural areas that are dying off, and given I think the chunk of bourgeois catholics who defected to MR have been there a while now, it will probably be hard to get them back (but I guess it's possible if Prévot does a good job of transforming the party or if something goes wrong with MR (like a bad leader or something).

And now CdH is losing its leftwing who are defecting to Ecolo. I guess it needs to be seen if a tradeoff between the two wings is possible, and how well that works out for them. At anyrate CdH is definitely in between a rock and a hard place right now.

Obviously correct me on this stuff if I'm wrong, or if my knowledge is too anecdotal.

I saw in Le Soir that Maxime Prévot is considering changing the CdH's name as part of rebuilding the party (although no decision has yet been made).

Do you have any idea what the new name could be, or which type of image Prévot wants to give the party?
Quote
At anyrate it does seem like there isn't much room for the CdH left on the political scene (my understanding is it's basically thanks to Prévot the party did as well as they did in the first place).

I don't think Prévot could do much, but I don't think he is the reason they did "better than expected" (yet still disastrously bad) either.

 They still always overperform because the pollsters always underestimate family voting in Wallonia (so people who litterally dont give a sh**t about politics but vote because mum and dad vote that way, or vote for their pillar).

Nevertheless, their core electorate is dying or in depopulating regions, their pillar organisations are defecting to ECOLO, they have no clear message, just policy, they are in the EPP (despite their efforts to kick him out at the last, the whole Orban controversy did not help them),  the youth wing and the party itself are at odds because they sold themselves as "radical centrists" and that attracts Macronista types to what is fundementally still a christian democratic party.  and they have the most split party in terms of geography (the Brussels branch humiliated Lutgen by not collapsing the Brussels gov)...I could go on.

Basically Prévot strategy of turning it into a personalist machine that tries to "moralise" politics from the centre ground is the best one...but he's no Emmanuel Macron, and France doesn't have to deal with the cesspit of communitarian politics, which Prévot does not have a stance on because, as I said before, most of the francophone political class don't actually think about things like what happens in Flanders. So he will get found out eventually, or merge with MR with some going to ECOLO.

What I predict will happen in the first case is that then a series of celebrity political entrepreneurs will try their hand in cdH with a soppy unionist message as the country delves further into institutional crisis, the prime candidate being one Vincent Kompany as I don't think its a coincidence his dad is a cdH mayor. And then when that fails they will merge with MR with some going to ECOLO.

And why don't francophones seem to care about what happens in Flanders, whether it be the political class or the voters? It seems to me it has a very clear effect on Wallonia, even if albeit indirectly.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 07, 2019, 03:13:05 am
Quote
I heard that some communal branches of CdH changed their name to Mouvement Démocrate (like how in France the rump that stuck with Bayrou in the UDF after 2/3rds of the party including VGE jumped ship to join the UMP in 2002 rebranded to the Mouvement Démocrate in 2007) whille others to Challenge Humaniste +. Would either of those be possible at national level, and if so which would be more plausible? I take it Mouvement Démocrate would appeal more to the type of electorate that Prévot represents, who are also the type of electorate that to a large degree have jumped ship to MR in the last 10, 15, 20 years, while Challenge Humaniste + kind of signals that the party is digging its heels in, something that doesn't sound like would fit a Prévot type party. Any opinion on that?

I wouldn't read too much into name changes at communal level. I made a post about that time about how Walloons treat their communal politics very different to Flemings and Brusseleirs. Its much more local-focused and the big parties, although previously using their communal links to clientelise certain regions to much greater effect, have realised they are better served sometimes re-branding. There's also very strange cross-party alliances at communal level that mean you get some re-branding names.

Quote
That makes sense. Do you think that would be a good thing for non-"leftwing" bourgeois parties?

To unite? I'm not so sure what you mean?

I don't thinks its a good thing personally because I still think a lot of people in MR value a semblance of secularism in their ranks, even though they now discretely support catholic education. cdH joining in exchange for catholic pillar defence? If I were MR and actually valued my liberal identity, no thanks. Thankfully there is Défi that is now actively promoting laïcisme, but without them it would mean no more voice for those of us who want to see a strict seperation of church and state and an end to our stupid "neutrality" stance and massive overfunding of religious ASBLs and education. I still think its important to have that voice in the democratic debate even if its a non-issue these days IMO.    

Electorally it would be insignificant. Remember MR is also a merger that was supposed to overturn PS hegemony by uniting the Right. It has electorally, in the long term, been an abject failure. cdH are better served re-attracted social christians back to their wing when ECOLO inevitably displays incompetence due to lack of personnel than allying with a broad right. But cdH are facing an existential crisis.


Quote
(...), but I think the former all ran to MR because CdH was trying to become a PS light, which I don't think appealed to bourgeois catholics.

Its this but the real cause of this is the 2000-2010s (especially late 2000s after Purple) being heavily polarised between right and left in Wallonia. The class cleavage is especially strong so as a cross-class party cdH struggles. I honestly think cdH could have become "MR-light" instead of "PS-lite" and still struggled because there just wasn't a clear centrist message to be had.


Quote
And why don't francophones seem to care about what happens in Flanders, whether it be the political class or the voters? It seems to me it has a very clear effect on Wallonia, even if albeit indirectly.

(again this is my personal perspective)

Same reason why the region itself is stagnant : complacency, kakomomics,  (https://gloriaoriggi.blogspot.com/2011/01/kakonomics-or-strange-preference-for.html)and in fairness a sense of helplessness. Francophones are, institutionally at least, in a position of strength relative to their population too. And because there is zero federal constituency left, and thus zero electoral debate at the federal level, voters in Wallonia themselves vote according the regional issue salience and don't actually think how their northern neighbours will vote. These past two election some in Flanders do because you have a clear, albeit small, pattern of people who vote CD&V and VLD regionally but N-VA federally or have switched to NVA because they know N-VA will veto the PS. I don't think the Walloons vote PS do it to keep the N-VA out. I think they are just not too bothered about it as much.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on June 07, 2019, 06:00:58 pm
https://www.rtbf.be/info/opinions/detail_la-belgique-peut-disparaitre-par-implosion?id=10240352

"Belgium may disappear by implosion"


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Chief Justice windjammer on June 08, 2019, 04:30:54 am
https://www.rtbf.be/info/opinions/detail_la-belgique-peut-disparaitre-par-implosion?id=10240352

"Belgium may disappear by implosion"
Good, hopefully it will disappear. This country never made any sense.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: The Saint on June 10, 2019, 10:09:42 am
Any updates on coalition-building here?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 10, 2019, 10:49:33 am
Any updates on coalition-building here?

Mostly regional coalition are being formed with only an eye on the Federal. THere are a lot of headaches at regional level compared to last time, mainly because of the rise of the extremes and the weakening of the christian democrat parties (who usually are good value for a majority). THere's a big debate in Flanders and internally in the N-VA as to whether they should let VB govern to expose them as rank amateurs. Francken and his wing are obviously in favour while the moderate Bracke in his retirement interview (he is leaving N-VA and politics for good) says the divergences between VB and the majority of N-VAers are too big.

The King appointed Didier Reynders and Johan Vande Lanotte as "informateurs" to investigate possible federal configuration. They submitted a report ruling out VB and PTB-PVDA. They also stressed a protracted breaking of our no government record is not feasible given the incumbent government does not have a majority, so its entirely possible we head to new elections sooner rather than later and the debate is centered on the institutional make up of the country.

The problem is that regional legislatures are fixed term parliaments and if there are new federal elections on the horizon its going to be difficult to maintain majorities until those are done. And yet at the same time to negotiate on federal you're better off mirroring regional.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 11, 2019, 02:11:06 pm
Talks between PS and PTB break down at Walloon level.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 15, 2019, 03:45:35 pm
npdata.be has some great maps about the evolution of the vote from 2014-2019 :


http://www.npdata.be/BuG/426-Uitslagen/


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on June 17, 2019, 04:59:19 am
Talks between PS and PTB break down at Walloon level.

From what I understood, PTB is still PS's preferred coalition partner, even though talks had previously broken down, is that correct?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Ex-Assemblyman Steelers on June 20, 2019, 11:38:55 pm
How long will be negotiations this time?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 21, 2019, 01:49:20 am
Talks between PS and PTB break down at Walloon level.

From what I understood, PTB is still PS's preferred coalition partner, even though talks had previously broken down, is that correct?

It's a very complicated relationship and situation in general. A lot of insiders are saying they both just put on a show but the relative speed at which the talks broke down showed that both PS and PTB have absolutely no intention of governing together, and the PS-ECOLO partnership that thought they had a majority in the bag with a pre-electoral pact are now just showing voters that they started negotiating from the Left, and tried everything after, including ECOLO's weird idea of a "civil society" government instead of MR, supported by cdH.

FOr the PS there are undoubtedly a lot of militants who would much rather prefer PTB to MR but the party top brass (which, again, I must stress is quite heterogeneous in views, and geographical interests) dislike PTB and Hedebouw a lot.

PTB are a resolutely testimonial party and have proved that once again. They will not enter power even if its to lead Portuguese-style social democratic/eurocommunist program. They are, in many ways, one of the last authentic Marxist-Leninist parties in Western Europe still performing, mainly because most of their own members don't even know this. Their main strength and attraction though is that their party activities are by no means restricted to electoral politics.


Don't hold your breath that's for sure. Already the regional coalitions might take longer than it took to form the federal one last time round. But at the same time there is probably going to be what PS leader Magnette called a stop-gap government at federal level to find a budget and then the calling of new elections in about a year or so that will be fought on institutional devolvement of powers. The problem is no one on the Flemish right will want to blink first and yet at the same time they don't want to be held responsible for the country's credit rating falling like last time out.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on June 28, 2019, 11:32:05 am
Just an update on this process :

In Wallonia, ECOLO and PS are trying to steamroll forward with a ridiculous "poppy" coalition : Red, Green and Black, not for black shirts but for civil society. Basically they are attempting a minority government because they don't want to negotiate MR (which they will have to do on the federal level anyway). Its likely to fail but they need to signal to their electorates that they "had no choice" when they accepted the liberals.

In Brussels, Open VLD have put the breaks on talks about renewing the previous coalition + Greens and minus the Christian Democrats? Why? Party orders from Mother Flanders who want MR in the coalition, but also really want to signal to their electorate they are a right-wing party.

In Flanders, N-VA and VB are still talking, because apparently prospective governments without majorities are definitely a new fad in this country. they are probably negotiating the eventuality of achieving a majority one day and how to push through confederalism/independence with that mandate. N-VA will most likely renew with CD&V and VLD though eventually.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on July 02, 2019, 01:31:46 pm
Michel leaving for Council President at EU

Taking a leaf out of the Leterme/Van Rompuy book and getting out while he still can,


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on July 18, 2019, 09:38:50 am
Some updates :

In Wallonia, PS-ECOLO tried a minority government with civil society actors called the "Poppy" coalition, hoping to court the small cdH delegation who only ruled out taking ministries, not supporting a government. Maxime Prevot rejected it as undemocratic and was subsequently harshly criticized by the ECOLO leadership desperate to court his remaining votes. Now that means PS and ECOLO can only look towards MR, and they both sent out almost apologetic emails to their electors blaming PTB and cdH for unreasonable stances forcing them into MR hands.

In Brussels the expected government of PS-ECOLO-DEFI-Groen-sp.a-VLD has been announced but not without controversy. With the Walloon MR coming back into play down south, their secretariat tried to force their hand into the Brussels government formation talks, and working with the Flemish Open VLD, tried to put a stop to the latter's Brussels branch from forming a government. Only problem? The two doyens of Brussels VLD, Vanhengel and Gatz, know that they are in a position of weakness and also have little time for VLD president Gwendoline Rutten. So they went ahead with the deal anyway, which has cause a pretty severe split in the party and between Flemish gov and their BXL representation (Gatz will not be named as Flemish Minister and sit on the Flemish cabinet meetings which is tradition for Flemish Brussels ministers. In ECOLO too Khattabi has resigned her presidency because the candidates she proposed to their portfolios were rejected by ECOLO's Brussels GA. New Presidency stakes at ECOLO are expected for end of August. Khattabi and Nollet have been widely criticized internally for their leadership, but the latter wishes to stay on and needs to find a female Brusselite. Rudi Vervoort will stay on as Minister-President.

No real change in Flanders. Pieter De Crem (CD&V) came out and said his party should abandon the Catholic pillar in favour of the "People's party'' approach of VVD or CDA before them in the North. He is running for their leadership after Beke resigned. That would really be the end of their party though.

At the Federal level there are discussions to see who is PM. It will either be from Christian Democrat family or Liberal family, although Jambon put his name forward as he seems to think VB might vote him in. After 2 Walloons it will almost certainly be a Fleming now, and Reynders (who got done 3 times by Michel in his career no less) will settle for a Commission portfolio. We have not had a Brusseleir PM for years though. hmmm....


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on July 21, 2019, 01:06:40 pm
CD&V leader Pieter De Crem said they don't intend to enter a federal government without the N-VA, and Open VLD leader Gwendolyn Rutten faces a leadership challenge: Vincent Van Quickenborne wants to pull the party to the right and is also opposed to Purple-Green unless Groen-Ecolo are willing to "burn their entire manifesto".

So as expected, forming a government with MR-PS-Ecolo on the Walloon side and Groen, Open VLD, CD&V and perhaps sp.a (who should also really do a tour in opposition...) on the Flemish side will mostly be very difficult because the Flemish center-right parties Open VLD and CD&V don't want to lose even more to N-VA and VB.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on July 22, 2019, 10:17:00 am
It seems like every single party leader bar cdH, PTB and VB will step down at some point.


sp.a : Combrez is touted to at least re-run but he'll be up again "Red Lion" (a Flemish social nationalist) and Vilvoorde mayor Hans Bonte at the very least. 
PS : Di Rupo is facing challenge on his left from Magnette, who insists on not negotiating with NVA.
NVA : De Wever is under a lot of pressure from the Right of his party.
VLD : Rutten is not even in control of all of her party and will likely lose out to Van Quickenborne or De Croo jr. (hopefully the latter even if I hate nepotism in Belgian politics)
CD&V : see David´s post about De Crem. Beke has already stepped down and will likely be replaced by someone on the right of the party.
MR : with Michel gone, one would say the road is clear for Reynders but I think both are ok with a new challenger.
Défi : Maingain is stepping down. Someone from the Clerfayt camp will likely take over.
ECOLO : Khattabi has stepped down.
Groen : A lot of criticism aimed at their duo (Almaci-Calvo) for their polarising campaign too. One will likely take a step back. 


Looks like the traditional parties want to radicalise while the Greens want a more professional approach. Interesting...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on July 30, 2019, 02:21:35 am
ECOLO refused to attend a round table of all the "non-extreme" parties with more than a couple of seats, organised by the informateurs because of their refusal to associate themselves with the N-VA. Even PS went despite still commiting to no government with N-VA. ECOLO are getting a lot of flak as a result. Their leadership has honestly been shocking considering how issue salience fell right into their lap with the climate protests.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on August 13, 2019, 02:16:41 am
N-VA, CD&V and Open VLD have re-formed a centre-right government in Flanders Region. Policy-wise its same as last  term (similar to Brussels, a bit of a re-hash). But the big surprise is Jan Jambon, who wanted to be PM, will be Minister-President and not De Wever, who stood at the regional level for the purpose, and declared it his dream.  


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 16, 2019, 10:40:24 am
It seems like every single party leader bar cdH, PTB and VB will step down at some point.


sp.a : Combrez is touted to at least re-run but he'll be up again "Red Lion" (a Flemish social nationalist) and Vilvoorde mayor Hans Bonte at the very least.  
PS : Di Rupo is facing challenge on his left from Magnette, who insists on not negotiating with NVA.
NVA : De Wever is under a lot of pressure from the Right of his party.
VLD : Rutten is not even in control of all of her party and will likely lose out to Van Quickenborne or De Croo jr. (hopefully the latter even if I hate nepotism in Belgian politics)
CD&V : see David´s post about De Crem. Beke has already stepped down and will likely be replaced by someone on the right of the party.
MR : with Michel gone, one would say the road is clear for Reynders but I think both are ok with a new challenger.
Défi : Maingain is stepping down. Someone from the Clerfayt camp will likely take over.
ECOLO : Khattabi has stepped down.
Groen : A lot of criticism aimed at their duo (Almaci-Calvo) for their polarising campaign too. One will likely take a step back.  


Looks like the traditional parties want to radicalise while the Greens want a more professional approach. Interesting...


cDH already had a new leader this year. And there were no recent replacements of leaders. It was about time.

Why do you prefer De Croo Jr. and not Quicky? I hope Francisco Vanderjeugd becomes the new VLD leader. I really dislike Rutten. I don't like CD&V moving to the right. Jambon's government is more than Bourgeois'. And i would really dislike De Crem as CD&V chairman.

Who is Red Lion? I prefer Crombez in that race. I'd like Green to change their leaders. Almaci is not left-wing enough, and I dislike Calvo's attitude

PVDA-PTB has no reason to be in the Walloon government, although i prefer a PTB-Ecolo-PS government, but PS is corrupt, still better than the other parties, including Green and s.pa. I don't think it's the right time, but i'm unsure. I approve Magnette, and disapprove Di Rupo. Ideally a Magnette II government with a left-wing broad coallition between PS-Ecolo and PTB but i understand PTB's viewpoint.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 16, 2019, 10:48:14 am

Don't hold your breath that's for sure. Already the regional coalitions might take longer than it took to form the federal one last time round. But at the same time there is probably going to be what PS leader Magnette called a stop-gap government at federal level to find a budget and then the calling of new elections in about a year or so that will be fought on institutional devolvement of powers. The problem is no one on the Flemish right will want to blink first and yet at the same time they don't want to be held responsible for the country's credit rating falling like last time out.

I hope it will take a long time, and that they'll call new elections. Happily waiting for MR/Open VLD, CD&V (De Crem lol) and N-VA to lose more.

Quote
PTB are a resolutely testimonial party and have proved that once again. They will not enter power even if its to lead Portuguese-style social democratic/eurocommunist program. They are, in many ways, one of the last authentic Marxist-Leninist parties in Western Europe still performing, mainly because most of their own members don't even know this. Their main strength and attraction though is that their party activities are by no means restricted to electoral politics.

That's absolutely not true.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 16, 2019, 11:22:10 am
https://m.hln.be/showbizz/muziek/festivals/pukkelpop/anuna-de-wever-verlaat-pukkelpop-nadat-ze-uitgejouwd-en-belaagd-werd-op-camping-organisatie-opent-onderzoek~a18f996c/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=PushCrew_notification_1565949476&pushcrew_powered=1&fbclid=IwAR1_aE2WMvKIWh6Pqld3RA_nT9DJ-YfwB2hKBq05-9e8aky648wmpACObWk&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F (https://m.hln.be/showbizz/muziek/festivals/pukkelpop/anuna-de-wever-verlaat-pukkelpop-nadat-ze-uitgejouwd-en-belaagd-werd-op-camping-organisatie-opent-onderzoek~a18f996c/?utm_source=browser&utm_medium=push_notification&utm_campaign=PushCrew_notification_1565949476&pushcrew_powered=1&fbclid=IwAR1_aE2WMvKIWh6Pqld3RA_nT9DJ-YfwB2hKBq05-9e8aky648wmpACObWk&referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F)

The growing polarization among the youth is problematic. The strongest voting bloc of both the far-left and far-right is a bit going too far. On a festival, climate activist Anuna De Wever (similar person to Greta Thunberg) has been boo'ed, and they've chased her to her tent, waking her up with death threats, ruining her tent and throwing urine at her. The video's has been shared by the far-right facebook page "Make Vlaenderen Great Again".

Last year, there was an incident as well when some people chanted "Chopping off hands, Congo's ours".

Quote
One of the youngsters seen in a video chanting a racist song at the Pukkelpop music festival has apologised.  The teenager wrote an email to the press in which he apologised for singing "Chopping off hands, Congo's ours".


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on August 16, 2019, 06:10:57 pm
Loved the booing of Anuna but obviously harassing her is utterly unacceptable. In response, the festival was accused of taking people's Flemish national flags away from them. Not a good response either...


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 17, 2019, 06:00:16 am
Loved the booing of Anuna but obviously harassing her is utterly unacceptable. In response, the festival was accused of taking people's Flemish national flags away from them. Not a good response either...

They've called it a "collaboration flag". N-VA want apologies from the festival organization.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 17, 2019, 06:07:24 am
Climate activist Anuna De Wever targeted in Pukkelpop incident (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/08/17/climate-activist-anuna-de-wever-targeted-in-pukkelpop-incident/)

Climate activist Anuna De Wever targeted in Pukkelpop incident

The renowned Pukkelpop music festival in Kiewit (Limburg) was disturbed by an incident in which the young Belgian climate activist Anuna De Wever was targeted. De Wever was first booed while she was on stage for her climate campaign, and she and some friends were later harrassed at their tent on the festival campsite.

The problems started on the Boiler Room stage, where De Wever held the "Clap for Climate" action together with the Flemish film director and fellow climate activist Nic Balthazar. The aim was to have the people clap their hands together to highlight the global warming issue.

Part of the audience cooperated, while others booed De Wever. "It's normal that some people support the action, while others are against. Anuna can cope with that", said festival spokesman Frederik Luyten. However, Anuna De Wever said it was the first time the response was so negative. She had staged similar actions at Dranouter, the Lokerse Feesten and the Cactus Festival.


However, organisers say a line was crossed by what happened afterwards. De Wever and her friends were reportedly harrassed on the campsite. There are talks of verbal abuse, and bottles filled with urine being thrown at them. Jeroen De Preter's daughter was also targeted in the incident: he writes on Twitter that "I just talked to my daughter on the telephone. She was deeply touched by what happened. After Anuna had been spotted at their tent, young men kept them awake uttering death threats; bottles filled with urine were hurled at them and a party tent was destroyed."

About 20 "black" lion flags were seized after the incident

De Wever and her friends got protection from security teams at the site. Festival organisers have announced an investigation, adding that "such things shouldn't have happened. It is completely unacceptable that people are being harrassed at a music festival, for whichever reason."

There may be a link with right extremist groups. Organisers have seized some 20 Flemish lion flags after the incidents; these flags show the lion with black claws and not with the traditional red claws. Organisers called this "black flag" a "collaboration flag" but this was not well received by Flemish nationalist MP Peter De Roover (N-VA), who demands public apologies.

()

It's like this is the flag of Nazi Germany or of CSA :p I think the Flemish flag is great, and should not be seen as a collaboration flag and is more comparable with the German/Prussian eagle, but my main concern is the radicalisation of the youth, especially on the right. They're surprisingly the strongest voting bloc for both PVDA-PTB, the Greens (probably) and Flemish Interest, and i've seen that around my friends and people around here as well. I live in a region where Flemish Interest did very well and N-VA has lost a substantial amount of vote in West-Flanders (lacking strong persons in this region of the country).

I have five people who've liked the page of Dries Van Langenhove including my dad and three former classmates


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on August 17, 2019, 06:38:48 am
Seriously, it's just because of the black claws that they call it a collaboration flag? That's just ridiculous. I thought it would be a black flag with a yellow lion on it or so.

Anyway, this is what happens when festival organizers live in a cosmopolitan bubble and think inviting someone like Anuna is completely uncontroversial because "the youth are all Greens", whereas a festival like Pukkelpop is a microcosm of Belgium in terms of political adherance and most people just don't want politics to be shoved into their faces when enjoying a concert.

Perfectly timed "fophefje" for the N-VA, considering that they received a ton of criticism for sidelining VB and forming a coalition with Open VLD and CD&V.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on August 17, 2019, 03:56:56 pm
https://www.facebook.com/comacstudenten/videos/561524894381555/ (https://www.facebook.com/comacstudenten/videos/561524894381555/)

Sad that a music festival gets politicized. Here a group of youngsters boo'ed at Flemish right-wing activists while singing: "Come on Belgium, Come on Belgium"


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on August 17, 2019, 06:55:15 pm
Seriously, it's just because of the black claws that they call it a collaboration flag? That's just ridiculous. I thought it would be a black flag with a yellow lion on it or so.

Anyway, this is what happens when festival organizers live in a cosmopolitan bubble and think inviting someone like Anuna is completely uncontroversial because "the youth are all Greens", whereas a festival like Pukkelpop is a microcosm of Belgium in terms of political adherance and most people just don't want politics to be shoved into their faces when enjoying a concert.

Perfectly timed "fophefje" for the N-VA, considering that they received a ton of criticism for sidelining VB and forming a coalition with Open VLD and CD&V.

Pukkelpop is a private festival. Their house, their rules. Go form your own Nazi-apologist festival, some already exist even where I would not be allowed to fly antifa flags, but I'm sure an LGBT jew would be welcome there too and not harrassed like Anuna...  

The "squared" VB Flemish flag has always been associated with...VB and Collaboration. The Strijdvlag is another matter. Sure there's not much difference but VB know exactly what they are doing trying to normalise their own flag and equate it with the Flemish Movements one.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on August 17, 2019, 07:34:34 pm
Pukkelpop is a private festival. Their house, their rules.
Where do I argue they shouldn't be allowed to ban people from waving these flags? That's right - nowhere. It's their right. However, that doesn't make it morally justified to ban them. Especially not if they didn't announce this policy beforehand (and I think this is where legal issues would enter the picture too, since I doubt banning Flemish flags is part of the "small letters...").

Sure there's not much difference but VB know exactly what they are doing trying to normalise their own flag and equate it with the Flemish Movements one.
Peter De Roovere and Steven Vandeput from N-VA have been the most loud about this, not VB...

As for the legal/moral question, here's your state press:
Quote
"Het is juist dat die zwarte Vlaamse Leeuw gebruikt geweest is door collaboratiebewegingen, net zoals de Belgische vlag gebruikt geweest is door collaboratiebewegingen", vertelt Vuye aan onze redactie. "De Belgische vlag tooide de uniformen van het Waals Legioen van Léon Degrelle. Dus ook dat is dan een collaboratievlag als je het uitsluitend herleidt tot de periode 1940-1944. Maar die vlaggen zijn natuurlijk veel ouder."

Vuye, Vlaams-nationalist en professor Staatsrecht, verwijst naar rechtspraak van het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens. "Men noemt dat polysemische symbolen, symbolen die meerdere betekenissen hebben. De vlag met de zwarte Vlaamse Leeuw heeft een andere betekenis wanneer ze zou opgehangen worden bij een herdenking van een of andere collaborateur dan wanneer ze gebruikt wordt binnen de Vlaamse Beweging. Zo'n polysemisch symbool gaan verbieden door het te herleiden tot een héél beperkte periode van de geschiedenis is een vrij flagrante inbreuk op de vrijheid van meningsuiting."
https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/nl/2019/08/17/de-zwarte-vlaamse-leeuw/


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on August 18, 2019, 12:34:35 am

Pukkelpop is a private festival. Their house, their rules.
Where do I argue they shouldn't be allowed to ban people from waving these flags? That's right - nowhere. It's their right. However, that doesn't make it morally justified to ban them. Especially not if they didn't announce this policy beforehand (and I think this is where legal issues would enter the picture too, since I doubt banning Flemish flags is part of the "small letters...").

What are you going to do? Write a book about your woeful injustice at not being able to fly a provocative flag that for many people (including many jewish community members) is associated with collaboration...all because it didnt say so in the fine print? Get real. Them banning the flags makes perfect sense, just like they would probably ban antifa flags at this stage. Its a question of public order, not indulging types like you in their massive inferiority complex about being a neo-neo-fascist.

Quote
As for the legal/moral question, here's your state press:

Using Henrik Vuye (ex-NVA but left because they were't flamingant enough) as an objective source? With his sh**tty whataboutism? You realise Belgium and its state had a government in exile that opposed occupation, while most of the Flemish Movement openly collaborated? The Flamingant narrative that anything Flanders did bad, the Belgian state did worst is just sh**tty nationalist-driven propganda, with no basis in history. Its like the people who say FDF is the equivalent of VB in Francophonia, just because they need to justify VB's existence and insane scores for an openly neo-fascist party. Flanders is always innocent right?


But sure man, if you want to advocate the right of Flamingants to celebrate SS collaborators openly, I'm sorry to say there is no injustice, we've been letting them do it for years. But don't say that they can't assume the social consequences of their actions either. And that includes private entities like Pukkelpop banning them for whatever reason they want. That's the moral and legal aspect here. Nobody is banning them from right of assembly or expression, just from causing sh**tstorms at festivals and assaulting women.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: DavidB. on August 18, 2019, 05:15:59 am
Calm down, lol. This namecalling and these personal attacks are completely unnecessary. All I'm saying is that it's a bad decision, both because these flags are Flemish flags and because people didn't know these flags weren't allowed in advance. Color me highly skeptical that young people having fun at a festival flying (a version of) their national flag are secretly "celebrating SS collaborators openly" (Bruno De Wever, hardly a right-winger, agrees).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on August 19, 2019, 01:07:08 am
I'm talking specifically about S&V's act of distributing that flag. Its not the national flag, its a political one. There is a constitutional flag and then there are flags that are deemed not so. Its the equivalent of handing out Spanish flag from the Franco era.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on August 25, 2019, 07:46:10 am
The government has designated Didier Reynders (MR) as candidate for Commissioner, despite the government not commanding a majority in parliament. This has created a storm especially in the Walloon Left, as they all say that its ridiculous that Michel and Reynders are both given top jobs when MR "lost" the elections, and that the nomination is unconstitutional anyway. They are trying to call back federal parliament to block his nomination. He has N-VA support but if VB vote against him with the Walloon Left (lol) he's toast.

Reynders can't catch a break.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on September 09, 2019, 02:26:50 pm
Di Rupo announced an agreement on a Walloon government of MR, PS, and Ecolo.



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: bigic on September 09, 2019, 03:24:32 pm
Di Rupo announced an agreement on a Walloon government of MR, PS, and Ecolo.



Does this mean that a similar coalition can be formed on the federal level?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on September 09, 2019, 04:03:56 pm
Di Rupo announced an agreement on a Walloon government of MR, PS, and Ecolo.



Does this mean that a similar coalition can be formed on the federal level?

Short answer is yes, although they still fall one or two seats short but Défi and maybe CD&V would back them in, the latter needing a big portfolio.

Long answer is that it would require Open VLD to backtrack on their commitment to upholding a Flemish majority on the Federal level. They are in the midst of internal strife so no one in Open VLD has an incentive of backing any federal agreement.

There is still the idea touted of having to replicate Antwerp's coalition (Yellow-Red-Blue) if only to pass a budget and/or re-voting.

I think its a given that this one is going to be formed after long long drama and negotiations.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on September 10, 2019, 06:27:51 am
Di Rupo announced an agreement on a Walloon government of MR, PS, and Ecolo.



Does this mean that a similar coalition can be formed on the federal level?

Short answer is yes, although they still fall one or two seats short but Défi and maybe CD&V would back them in, the latter needing a big portfolio.

Given Belgium's reputation, short answer is never the likely outcome.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: arevee on September 10, 2019, 06:30:31 am
Di Rupo announced an agreement on a Walloon government of MR, PS, and Ecolo.



Does this mean that a similar coalition can be formed on the federal level?

Short answer is yes, although they still fall one or two seats short but Défi and maybe CD&V would back them in, the latter needing a big portfolio.

Long answer is that it would require Open VLD to backtrack on their commitment to upholding a Flemish majority on the Federal level. They are in the midst of internal strife so no one in Open VLD has an incentive of backing any federal agreement.

There is still the idea touted of having to replicate Antwerp's coalition (Yellow-Red-Blue) if only to pass a budget and/or re-voting.

I think its a given that this one is going to be formed after long long drama and negotiations.

It wouldn't be atypical for Open VLD :D .


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on September 18, 2019, 06:00:05 pm
ECOLO have reconducted Jean-Marc Nollet as their co-president alongside newcomer from Molenbeek Rajae Maouane, who replaces Zakia Khattabi. Not much of a contest. Plus ça change...

MR also have a presidency vacancy after Michel and Reynders left for Europe. Reynders has parliament support but is facing a corruption allegation from a secret service officer in his hearing. He likely has enough political capital to get away with it though. Anyway, the party itself is set for radical change now that these two are gone. The new Walloon ministers have pledged not to stand so that takes out outgoing Walloon Minister-President Willy Borsus. For the moment it looks like it will be between Sophie Wilmès, who is very technocratic and on the more left side of the party, and Denis Ducarme who is quite a hard right figure by MR's standards. They have kind of soiled themselves tying their mast to PS, their old frenemy, and ECOLO, who they spent the entire campaign criticising, to lead a hard right campaign again though. Interesting time for the Walloon Right for sure.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on September 24, 2019, 07:01:42 am
https://www.hln.be/nieuws/binnenland/de-grote-peiling-vlaams-belang-wipt-over-n-va-naar-eerste-plaats-dramatische-score-voor-cd-v-en-sp-a~a8e15ff7/?fbclid=IwAR2ub89AaqZQ8dRVbNlDkx6v52_Y_EulKOm-5dDreT2odyQ1i49U4Zmp5gM (https://www.hln.be/nieuws/binnenland/de-grote-peiling-vlaams-belang-wipt-over-n-va-naar-eerste-plaats-dramatische-score-voor-cd-v-en-sp-a~a8e15ff7/?fbclid=IwAR2ub89AaqZQ8dRVbNlDkx6v52_Y_EulKOm-5dDreT2odyQ1i49U4Zmp5gM)

New polling. Far-right Vlaams Belang now takes the lead.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: parochial boy on September 24, 2019, 07:06:57 am
I actually have a somewhat random question, because Spotify in it's wisdom, decided to play me the club song of KAS Eupen the other day - I realised that there are actually some German speaking people in Belgium.

Meaning, what generally is their relation with the rest of Wallonia/Belgium? Do they feel like they are part of Wallonia, or like an ignored minority? Is there any irredentist sentiment with Germany hanging around?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: urutzizu on September 24, 2019, 09:21:26 am
I actually have a somewhat random question, because Spotify in it's wisdom, decided to play me the club song of KAS Eupen the other day - I realised that there are actually some German speaking people in Belgium.

Meaning, what generally is their relation with the rest of Wallonia/Belgium? Do they feel like they are part of Wallonia, or like an ignored minority? Is there any irredentist sentiment with Germany hanging around?

Not Belgian ofc, but as far as I know they are basically neutral in the whole Belgian divide. There is no real separatist/irredentist movement there, as they have quite a good deal, with considerable autonomy as their own language community and German as a full third official language in Belgium.
They dont really have much to complain about, and thats why (unlike with Saarland 1945-1956) nobody in Germany cares about them.
That said, when Belgium went to the brink 2010-11, their leader said that he hoped that Belgium stays together, but if not, they will decide between 4 Options:
1. Stay with independent Wallonia
2. Independence in their own right
3. Join Luxembourg
4. Join Germany

Reason why the last option is not really very attractive for them, is because then they would invariably lose the generous autonomy they currently have. They are way too small to become a state of Germany, so they would just end up becoming another district of NRW. Not so attractive.
That said, if the whole of Wallonia joins Germany as Paul Magnette wants, then it would be whole different story. But that is not happening in a million years, aside from the language barrier, nobody here wants to have to heavily subsidise another state, when subsidising our own states in the east is already extremely controversial. Now that the financial redistribution has been phased out anyway, Wallonia would have to run a balanced budget without outside money anyway, and that is fantasy land.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on September 24, 2019, 12:16:07 pm
I actually have a somewhat random question, because Spotify in it's wisdom, decided to play me the club song of KAS Eupen the other day - I realised that there are actually some German speaking people in Belgium.

Meaning, what generally is their relation with the rest of Wallonia/Belgium? Do they feel like they are part of Wallonia, or like an ignored minority? Is there any irredentist sentiment with Germany hanging around?

You are teaching me something - that KASE have vocal supporters amongst their hardcore and not the usual hools imported from Aachen/Parkstad Limburg.

To add to urutzizu's excellent reply, they are mainly concerned about :

1/ preserving their MEP, which as far as I can tell is the one who needs the least votes to get elected outside of Malta
2/ preserve their influence in the RhineMaas EuroRegion, which acts as a massive economic boon for them as a way to link Flemish, Walloon and NRW business.
3/ in the long term, becoming a region on their own known as OstBelgien inside a Belgian (con)federal model. ProDG, the largest party, mainly asks this. They ask for regional powers because they think they can do a Luxemburg and become a tax haven if that happens, but also because they do not feel Walloon, as evidenced by the row they had with cdH leader Maxime Prévot when he did call them Walloons - although the Walloon perspective is that their regionalism is opportunistic rather than a sense of non-kinship.

The francophones there feel more Liègeois, and the Germanophones can vary a lot (inc. far right German nationalists, who frequent KASE with Roda JC and Alemannia far right hools as alluded above) but in general just don't identify with Wallonia.

The northern German speakers are essentially Limburgers whose original dialect is very similar to Parkstad/Aachen but got caught out by the linguistic border and the southern ones are associated with Luxemburgers because their dialect is more franconian. Like Belgium itself really the Germanophone identity take pride in that they are a bit of a historical anomaly and are some of the more patriotic ones (i.e against the split of Belgium) while paradoxically not liking the idea of reduced autonomy and encouraging "neo-sovereignty" through mechanisms like the EuroRegion.  



Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on September 30, 2019, 10:28:18 am

The party composition was agreed beforehand but negotiations are finally concluded for a Flemish government today. One stumbling block was trying to find a Brussels -based minister (which is a legal obligation due to the Flemish government taking Dutch speaking Community competences under its wing). VLD Brussels veterans Guy Vanhengel and Sven Gatz (both more social liberals) joined the Brussels government without consent from their Flemish branch that wanted to turn to the right. It will be interesting to see who gets the portfolio.   


Also, in the MR there is now a battle being waged for power after Reynders and Michel both left for European functions. So far there is a strange powerplay going on between the Provinces and within them because apparently MR are considering having a more balanced co-presidency to avoid the French style personality warfare, and the tensions that the PS have between their provincial branches (Hainaut, Liège and Brussels usually tussle for influence within a Francophone party). luck has it though that two eminent figures of their hard right, Denis Ducarme and Georges-Louis Bouchez, are in open warfare against each other in Hainaut. The former had one of his protégés leak Bouchez reprimanding a member of his "Mons en Mieux" list for backing a motion with MR asking for a more progressive liberalism. Its unknown who exactly will incarnate what is left of MR's "social liberal" wing - which was the official party line under both Reynders and Michel for a while, but rumour has it it could be Eupen-based federal deputy Kattrin Jadin. Other potential candidates are Sophie Wilmès (very technocratic style) or Phillippe Goffin. Ducarme is the slight favorite.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 02, 2019, 06:45:07 am
I'm very opposed to Jambon I, which seems to be a very asocial government. Can honestly say that i oppose 90% of what they've agreed upon. Now awaiting federal government formation, possibly liberals - socdems and flemish nationalists. Although i'd prefer a green - liberal - flemish nationalist government.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: mileslunn on October 03, 2019, 12:11:11 pm
How close are we to a government?  Belgium I think holds record for longest government formation of 583 days so any chance this record might be broken or is that likely to hold?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 04, 2019, 07:18:48 am
How close are we to a government?  Belgium I think holds record for longest government formation of 583 days so any chance this record might be broken or is that likely to hold?

We are nowhere near close but not because of the previous crisis reasoning, where NVA and PS were basically put into a room and told to get a deal when none of them wanted that at that time (now might be different). Its mainly because there are like 6 parties that have to elect Presidents and it suits no one for the moment to commit to anything on the federal level (because being constructive and compromise in a clown world where VB gets 20% is impossible), so we are basically waiting for them to solve their internal squabbles that are usually solved by backroom deals anyway (cfr ECOLO or MR who today said they expect to "coronate" Georges-Louis Bouchez after Michel struck a deal with the barons of the party...never mind the fact that he ran their worst campaign in almost a generation).

Anyway the  new Flemish regional government are already trying ot wrestle competences/agencies such as internal security, the human rights watch organisation and the quotas for medical students (all federal competences) from the highest level so we're heading for state breakup. None of the francophones have any balls to talk about institutional matters, to tell Flanders to have their cake and eat it with a referendum on independence, no no, that would be far too clever for us dumbos.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 21, 2019, 01:37:17 pm
Leadership elections are underway :

MR have the most competitive one. Although Georges Louis-Bouchez (of Mons) has official support from both old barons of the party (Michel and Reynders), there are left-wing challengers in the form of Christine Defraigne (of Liège), and Phillippe Goffin (of Cresneux, near Liège), both of whom are true to their Province and are social liberals. The token Brusselite is Clémentine Barzin, who is close to the Reynders clan, with some suggesting Reynders is not actually that happy with the coronation of "GLB". Completing the set is GLB's now arch-rival in Hainaut Denis Ducarme, who wants to be the "Walloon Francken" but is a loyal foot soldier of MR. GLB is given as a winner but he's got to justify how effective he will be.  

Défi have a 4 way battle between two ex-PS card carriers, one ex- Institute Jean Gol (MR think tank) philosopher, and some crank from Luxemburg. The philosopher is Emmanuel De Bock who wants to distance the party from its traditional roots and focus on social liberalism, trying to profit from MR's veering to the right. The young challengers are Christophe Magdalijns who is part of the "pragmatic" wing of the now retired Didier Gosuin, and the more social, young, female,  (and Walloon, for once) Julie Leclerq, who wants the party to run in FLanders - and not as a Francophone interests group. Lastly there is Jean-Claude Cremer, who runs the Luxemburgish provincial wing of Défi, which must be a fun pass-time. De Bock has the intelligentsia, Le Soir reading francophone liberal support, Leclerq seems to fit the better mould for #woke Défi, but Magdalijns might crucially have a better ground game because of Gosuin's support.  

PS : With Elio Di Rupo gone after almost 2 decades at the head of the Walloon-Brussels party of government and behemoth, it was CETA celebrity, ex-PoSci professor Paul Magnette who was elected unopposed. No surprises here, although something must have been promised at the federal level to Jean-Claude Marcourt and the Liègeois PS, who tend to prefer mandates over presidencies.

Groen had their election and Meryem Almaci was elected with tandem partner Dany Neudt after two rounds following a challenge from her "realo"-right. Bjorn Rzoska fought a campaign with Rina Rabau on "not guilt tripping" the core Flemish vote and wanting to take government responsibility. He pushed for an alliance with N-VA at Provincial level in East Flanders.

CD&V's leadership election is a sh**teshow judging by the fact that a guy most famous for playing a garden gnome in a tv-cum-theme park attraction is the candidacy generating the most headlines. I'll complete it when its done (or Laki) but its the one that's garnering the most media attention north of the border.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Flyersfan232 on October 23, 2019, 06:05:28 pm
Let’s say one of the regionally party for reason ends up with a majority what’s happens then?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 24, 2019, 09:44:44 am
CD&V's leadership is a joke, but I prefer Sammy Mehdi. Would be a fresh young face for the party, with immigration background. That would be good. Glad Magnette will be chairman of PS. I'm both not in favour of Rzoska and Almaci in Groen and they likely won't get my vote, especially after they cancelled a climate march in Ghent. Not interested in who become MR chairman that much. In s.pa my preference goes to Hannes De Reu, and in VLD my preference goes to loyal mayor Francesco Vanderjeugd (also a young fresh face).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 25, 2019, 07:33:22 am
()

An amendment was filled in by PVDA-PTB (the marxists) about creating more funds for nurses & so (the white march as it was called), and was accepted by far-right VB, both the green parties, and both socialist while the center-left walloon parties and regionalists (Défi) abstained.

This is exactly why i hate the neoliberal parties (cd&v, n-va and open vld), and why i think VB is less bad than them. A s.pa / PS / Groen / Ecolo / PVDA-PTB / VB government will never happen, but it's my preference.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 25, 2019, 07:58:22 am
You have got to understand that VB only support these measures because their entire political philosophy was so much in the gutter for so many years that they can get away with pretty much supporting any policy left, right or center.

I infinitely prefer, as a leftist, a Conservative with principles like De Wever to an arsonist demagogue like Van Grieken who support a left-wing policy once in a blue moon to show he "cares" about poor people.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 25, 2019, 12:02:49 pm
VLD always namecalling us communists and us being the same as VB is also something that bothers me. It's one of the reasons why i internationally am very hesitant to support (neo-)liberals. Why would they vote against more funds for care sector, and especially nurses which are demanded so much by the economy. Make it an attractive profession!


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 26, 2019, 06:09:55 pm
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 27, 2019, 07:12:04 am
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Tender Branson on October 27, 2019, 08:12:13 am
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.

Welcome to the club.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 27, 2019, 09:46:54 am
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.

Welcome to the club.
We're used to it.


Title: Re: Politics and Elections in Belgium
Post by: Republican Left on October 28, 2019, 09:15:40 pm
Sort of tenuously linked to the langugage question - but what is the political identity of Brussels? Does it see itself as a francophone city, and solidaire with Wallonia? Or does Brussels consider itself to be a separate entity in its own right?

I guess the the same question would go for Halle Vilvorde, do they see theselves as Flemish or Bruxellois? or is it just too messy to say?

The simple answer is that the people currently living in Brussels do consider themselves separate politically from Walloons. But at the same time see their existence inside a Belgian state as being reliant on voting for "Walloon" parties (and also largely because Brussels is now 90-10 francophone/dutch-speaking). Because Brussels is a city the political debate is tailored around different issues than Wallonia. And, as you can clearly see, it votes slightly differently to Wallonia (ecolo are still strong here along with Défi and PS, + the Flemish parties' influence that has to govern in the cross-community set-up).

The French-speakers in the periphery identify with Brussels, although keep in mind (i.e the Flemish nationalist perspective) many can also be Walloon immigrants who don't understand why the Flemings are so aggressive on language policy, and just fall back on the grandiose idea of BHV.

It varies with the Flemings, it usually depends on whether or not their socio-economic life revolves around Brussels, in which case they tend to be a bit more cosmopolitan, but still proud of Flemish roots. Then you have the ones desperate not to suffer the "Brusselisation" of their communities. A good indicator is whether the commune building flies the Belgian flag or not (no joke). There are also parts of "North North Brussels" where flying the wrong flag out of your window is a bad idea.

If I understood correctly you can vote for more than one candidate as long as these candidates belong to the same party. How does this work?

Yup, a simple rule. If you vote for several candidates in the same list, then a +1 is made to the party list total. The district's assigned seats are then distributed between the lists, but the actual candidates of the list selected are based on which ones got the most votes and jump the list (just like NL). So by adding +1 to each candidate you like you and your friends can make several candidates jump the list rather than say, focusing on one. If that makes sense.

Also if you vote blanc your vote automatically goes to the largest party list, which for me is a more motivating factor to go out and vote than the potential fine you can incure for not turning out on election day.

What is Wallonia counterpart, the HDC like?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 29, 2019, 02:52:02 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 29, 2019, 08:17:40 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 08:27:17 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative roots under Joëlle Milquet in the early 2000s, in order to become more relevant to non-Christian voters by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 29, 2019, 08:31:01 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 08:41:37 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Yeah that was the beginning of the end for the PSC. MCC defected in what? 1998?

So in 1999 PSC did very badly as they lost their more economically right-wing voters to PRL (1999 was PSC/CdH's worst result before 2019 I believe, and I think it was still a considerably better result than their 2019 one if I recall correctly). What was the reason for MCC? Infighting between Gerard Deprez and the rest of the party? And what were the disagreements over?

After that Joelle Milquet took over the party and decided the only way to remain relevant was to ditch the Christianity and social/cultural conservatism in order to appeal to non Christians, hence the party name change in 2002. I believe the social/cultural conservatives in the party left after that for the most part (except old people in Luxembourg province), but those voters got replaced by new voters from immigrant communities in Brussels and moderately left-wing voters in Wallonia. Who then bolted after CdH decided to back MR in the Walloon government in 2018.

I may be wrong, but I think a big reason MR voted against legalizing gay marriage in 2003 while their VLD counterparts in Flanders voted for it was in order to get the votes of those PSC voters who felt alienated by Milquet. And it seems to have worked. MR really became a force in Wallonia in the mid 2000s, and I'm guessing right-wing defections from PSC/CdH is perhaps the main factor that got them there.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 08:53:10 am
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.

I'd assume there's almost no chance of the next PM (non-caretaker) being from MR?

Yeah this is just symbolic.

I think the next PM will be Flemish.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 08:53:40 am
And how is the government formation process coming along?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 29, 2019, 09:26:14 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Yeah that was the beginning of the end for the PSC. MCC defected in what? 1998?

So in 1999 PSC did very badly as they lost their more economically right-wing voters to PRL (1999 was PSC/CdH's worst result before 2019 I believe, and I think it was still a considerably better result than their 2019 one if I recall correctly). What was the reason for MCC? Infighting between Gerard Deprez and the rest of the party? And what were the disagreements over?

After that Joelle Milquet took over the party and decided the only way to remain relevant was to ditch the Christianity and social/cultural conservatism in order to appeal to non Christians, hence the party name change in 2002. I believe the social/cultural conservatives in the party left after that for the most part (except old people in Luxembourg province), but those voters got replaced by new voters from immigrant communities in Brussels and moderately left-wing voters in Wallonia. Who then bolted after CdH decided to back MR in the Walloon government in 2018.

I may be wrong, but I think a big reason MR voted against legalizing gay marriage in 2003 while their VLD counterparts in Flanders voted for it was in order to get the votes of those PSC voters who felt alienated by Milquet. And it seems to have worked. MR really became a force in Wallonia in the mid 2000s, and I'm guessing right-wing defections from PSC/CdH is perhaps the main factor that got them there.

You are right, but MR had their best result in 2007 (only time they have beaten the PS in ages) and that's partly due to Reynders actually moving away from those topics and running a campaign that didn't spook the centre-left and talked about maintaining social liberal values (against immigration). But then there was also the Charleroi corruption scandals.
 

Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.

I'd assume there's almost no chance of the next PM (non-caretaker) being from MR?

Yeah this is just symbolic.

I think the next PM will be Flemish.

Next PM will be Flemish yeah. Liberal family will still be largest as far as I can tell.

And how is the government formation process coming along?

Better than expected. There was talk of an early government formation for a while at the start of the month.
Now Rudy Demotte (PS) and Geert Bourgeois (N-VA) are formateurs.
They have invited the Greens back but I think ECOLO will sit out while Groen will support it because the Flemish parties (including sp.a) do not like ECOLO. At all.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 29, 2019, 02:52:59 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 29, 2019, 02:56:10 pm
Sophie Wilmès will replace Charles Michel as Prime Minister. First woman prime minister in Belgian history.
It's more symbolic, because this government can't do much. It's all about the next government.

I'd assume there's almost no chance of the next PM (non-caretaker) being from MR?

Yeah this is just symbolic.

I think the next PM will be Flemish.

Thank you Lechasser and Zinneke.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 29, 2019, 06:24:56 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it. 

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 06:26:43 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Well I think all parties in Belgium would be left-wing on economic issues so I think as an American no party there would bother you in terms of being to economically right-wing or whatever.

Afterwards, no. I don't think there's any audience left for that.

Previously that party was the left-wing of PSC but there's no Christian party anymore.

If religion is your main factor in determining who you'd vote for you'd probably support the CdH anyway but they aren't an explicitly Christian party anymore.

MR are generally the more conservative party at this point but they're generally secular.

At this point though CdH are basically a non-factor though, they're only like the 5th largest party in Wallonia at this point and probably not any better off in Brussels.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 06:29:17 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it. 

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.

Exactly. I agree with everything you just said.

Which direction is Prévot trying to push CdH in? How is he trying to reinvent them?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 29, 2019, 06:40:09 pm
I agree apart from one thing - cdH are still a "factor" - its thanks to them we have a weird coalition in Wallonia of MR, ECOLO and PS. Despite consistently declining over the last 20 if not 30 years they have always been a kingmaker as such, even when they decide to opt out. The last 4 changes of Walloon government have effectively formed on the basis of cdH changing course. Which is frightening.

He is trying to re-invent them into the Maxime Prévot party. Taking a leaf out of a certain politician down south
The difference is, Prévot is nowhere near as shrewd, competent, communicative or intelligent as Macron. And he didn't found the party so the old guard are left and they are usually mayors in the kind of places cdH relies on.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 06:57:05 pm
I agree apart from one thing - cdH are still a "factor" - its thanks to them we have a weird coalition in Wallonia of MR, ECOLO and PS. Despite consistently declining over the last 20 if not 30 years they have always been a kingmaker as such, even when they decide to opt out. The last 4 changes of Walloon government have effectively formed on the basis of cdH changing course. Which is frightening.

He is trying to re-invent them into the Maxime Prévot party. Taking a leaf out of a certain politician down south
The difference is, Prévot is nowhere near as shrewd, competent, communicative or intelligent as Macron. And he didn't found the party so the old guard are left and they are usually mayors in the kind of places cdH relies on.

True, CdH are still kingmakers.

I more meant in an electoral sense, as not many people vote for them anymore.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on October 29, 2019, 06:59:57 pm
I agree apart from one thing - cdH are still a "factor" - its thanks to them we have a weird coalition in Wallonia of MR, ECOLO and PS. Despite consistently declining over the last 20 if not 30 years they have always been a kingmaker as such, even when they decide to opt out. The last 4 changes of Walloon government have effectively formed on the basis of cdH changing course. Which is frightening.

He is trying to re-invent them into the Maxime Prévot party. Taking a leaf out of a certain politician down south
The difference is, Prévot is nowhere near as shrewd, competent, communicative or intelligent as Macron. And he didn't found the party so the old guard are left and they are usually mayors in the kind of places cdH relies on.

And then for the second paragraph, I could guess that much lol.

But is their any ideological direction he's trying to push the party in or anything?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 29, 2019, 08:21:54 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it. 

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.

Might I ask if Catholicism like practicing Catholics sitll exist in Belgium and the Netherlands, they seem rare nowadays if not endangered especially in the latter? Are they nations whose adherence is comparable to France but being smaller countries, it's extremely small even if the proportional figures are similar therefore it looks non existent but it's still there and will continue to be there though it's much harder to find?

I know you say it's a non issue but is there a Pro Life movement in Belgium even if its small?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 30, 2019, 02:45:03 am
They still exist in both countries yes, but church goers are on the decline. In politics, Wouter Beke is an example though of a prominent practicing Catholic.
Belgium is very much a Catholic country while in the Netherlands its only the South where there is or used to be heavy catholic majorities (its one of the main cleavages that led to the Belgo-Dutch split).

There is virtually no pro-life movement with any weight. Vlaams Belang are the most socially conservative party but most of their new electorate especially don't even know this.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Walmart_shopper on October 30, 2019, 03:57:10 am
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it.  

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.

Might I ask if Catholicism like practicing Catholics sitll exist in Belgium and the Netherlands, they seem rare nowadays if not endangered especially in the latter? Are they nations whose adherence is comparable to France but being smaller countries, it's extremely small even if the proportional figures are similar therefore it looks non existent but it's still there and will continue to be there though it's much harder to find?

I know you say it's a non issue but is there a Pro Life movement in Belgium even if its small?

The Dutch church has been decimated, like Christianity generally in the Netherlands. Catholics were always a minority, but now they are a small minority within a minority, which means political powerlessness even compared to the small conservative Reformed population. Devout Catholics do exist, but not commonly.

Belgium is similar, although Catholicism os more common especially in more conservative Flanders, but because Catholics are a much larger chunk of the overall population the number of devout Catholics is larger. Belgium also has a small but vibrant traditionalist community, likely inherited from neighboring France, which is less common in the Netherlands. Notably, the most conspicuous mark of devout Catholicism or Orthodoxy may actually be from Christian migrants from the Middle East.

France, by contrast, has a very robust devout traditionalist minority. So although Catholic life has bottomed out there is a large enough minority to meaningfully impact political discourse and maintain a Christian presence generally in the country.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 30, 2019, 09:41:39 am
Quote
Devout Catholics do exist, but not commonly.

Do the Catholics there still have community even if it's small?

Does Wallonia still have some sort of presence like France?

How's the Catholic scene in Israel?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Walmart_shopper on October 30, 2019, 10:19:40 am
Quote
Devout Catholics do exist, but not commonly.

Do the Catholics there still have community even if it's small?

Does Wallonia still have some sort of presence like France?

How's the Catholic scene in Israel?

Yes, there are plenty of Catholic churches, as well as groups like Opus Dei, that operate in the Netherlands.

Wallonia'a Catholic life is less vibrant than France, but not lifeless, either.

The Catholic scene in Israel is fantastic and growing, bur as you can imagine it's not at all easy.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 30, 2019, 01:55:31 pm
Walter De Donder (candidate CD&V chairman & "the mayor from a child show") has said that there are districts in Antwerp that are completely depopulated by "our people". A controversial statement, especially from a CD&V candidate chairman. He definitely wants to profile himself as the most anti-immigration CD&V chairman. Not a bad decision in my belief.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Republican Left on October 30, 2019, 02:23:16 pm
Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it.  

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.

Might I ask, how to help Wallonia?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 30, 2019, 04:17:33 pm
Walter De Donder : "Il y a des quartiers entièrement vidés de notre propre population" (https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/fr/2019/10/30/walter-de-donder-candidat-a-la-presidence-du-cd-v-il-y-a-des/)

In french for the ones who read it. Dries Van Langenhove (leader of the white identitarian group Shield & Friends and MP for federal parliament Belgium) has approved his views. Some far-right Vlaams Belangers have said that this sounds promising for 2024 (a CD&V, N-VA and VB coalition).


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on October 31, 2019, 09:09:26 am
Very positive reactions on social media about Walter De Donder. Could "Kabouter Plop" become a candidate PM for the future? Who knows, but it might destroy my childhood memories :p He tries to be the "right-wing" candidate on. He also sounds like the most populist candidate.

()

This is the almost complete opposite candidate who's more to the left on immigration, called Sammy Mahdi. Chairman of young CD&V. Would be a young face. He responded with: Leviticus 19:34. #christendemocratie like a real christian democrat.

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 31, 2019, 12:14:04 pm
Hahaha Mahdi on the left on immigration? Maybe on the Flemish spectrum, but then again he is from BXL ;)


Do you mean the Humanist Democratic Center? cdH?

Yes them (though I did read about them in previous pages).

CdH abandoned its Christian and conservative, in order to become more relevant to immigrant communities by becoming a "humanist" party.

Now most people basically see them as a wishy washy party that doesn't really stand for anything.

Under Joëlle Milquet they were for all intents and purposes a left-wing party which lost them their old conservative vote, and then in the last few years they tried to pivot right again but it didn't get them their old conservative voters back and it just lost them their left-wing voters acquired during the Milquet years.

That explains their electoral collapse during the last election.

Basically in Wallonia and Brussels if you're non left-wing you vote MR (Mouvement Réformateur). And it's basically been that way since the 2000s.

Flanders has far more options in terms of parties for right-wingers.

Correct, particularly this part. MCC's defection from the Christian Social Party back in the 90s in return of the PRL abandoning its crusade (for lack of a better word) on the Catholic hold on education, effectively ensured traditional conservatives have been voting MR for ages now, although you do meet some relics who just blindly vote cdH.

Why not a religious centrist, moderate, left coalition or support a socially conservative/justice vision or there's no audience for that? If you're an MR voter, do you need be both types of conservative/right leaning or may it be somewhat possible to be little/moderate/somewhat left on economic and fiscal issues?

Yes, its easy to identify a couple of MR figures with the profile I think you are trying to draw (Willy Borsus for one). But Americans here on general just need to understand that issues such as religion's place in society, abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage etc. are just about non-issues for large swathes of European electorates, including self-declared Christians. Belgium is not different. Its a heavily culturally catholic country, with a very strong catholic pillar and catholic genealogy that can explain a lot of good and bad characteristics about Belgium. But that's about it. 

The economic cleavage dominates in francophone Belgium especially. That's not to say MR have a radically different economic program to PS (they are after all in coalition together at the Walloon region). But your socio-economic status usually determines how you vote. cdH were by definition in Wallonia a party of rural economic renewal, dominating in Luxemburg province, and of associative governance models with a trade unions that targeted certain sections of the working class.

Prévot is trying to re-invent them into something a bit different now that they are in opposition, but encounters resistance.

Might I ask, how to help Wallonia?

I'm not sure what you mean? If cdH would help rural Wallonia? If I think they would help rural Wallonia?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on October 31, 2019, 12:20:48 pm
I think though that Mahdi and the President of Plopsaland are beginning to touch upon an issue though, which is that Belgian society tends to segregate itself (it was the case when we had football clubs for the catholic pillar and for secular people for example, until it became financially unviable). And now (Greater) Brussels and Antwerp are clearly designed to ensure sections of society don't mix, which creates perceived racial segregation (and "entire districts gone to foreigners" perceptions) when really its a much more complex issue.

Mahdi of course is far more effective at communicating that in a more nuanced way, especially how its not about race, nor indeed an extension of some sort of Clash of Civilisation, but more about micro-cultural aspects.

As long as you have VB and Theo Francken monopolising the immigration issue though its going to be tough not to fall into "amalgames"...the Morroccan (largely Berber origin) kids in Molenbeek are third generation immigrants, I'm a second generation immigrant myself. We are as Belgian as each other...why they are amalgamated with Syrian refugees while I am not is where the racism really lies.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: urutzizu on October 31, 2019, 03:32:35 pm
...the Morroccan (largely Berber origin) kids in Molenbeek are third generation immigrants, I'm a second generation immigrant myself. We are as Belgian as each other...why they are amalgamated with Syrian refugees while I am not is where the racism really lies.

Among the the second/third generation Immigrants, would you say is there a tendency to Identity strongly with the Country of Belgium and Belgian Unity or rather do they Identify as Flemish/Walloons? (or neither/with their country of origin?)
I remember, in Britain Immigrants are likely to Identify with "British" as opposed to the Whites who identify as English, Welsh, etc. Is Fleming/Walloon similarly percieved to be a ethnic indicator?
Do you think that the lack of a strong Belgian identity/patriotism is partly responsible for issues like Molenbeek?

Thanks!


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 01, 2019, 06:55:10 am
https://www.facebook.com/UNDIVIDEDKULeuven/ (https://www.facebook.com/UNDIVIDEDKULeuven/)

Radicalizing youngsters at Royal University Leuven. They think it's funny, but minimalizing Congo genocide, saying LGBTQ are sick, defending slavery and so on... aren't. I'm really afraid of the radicalizing youngsters.

Meanwhile i've heard from my mom & dad that children are robbed by immigrants here in this city, so in some way i understand the negative sentiment towards immigrants.

The right solution seems to be to be harsh on crime. When immigrants do a crime, they should be sent back to country of origin. We should be very harsh on crime, as well as youth crime. But should also strongly condemn radicalizing youngsters and bully behavior from radicalizing students.

This needs to stop, because it's destabilizing the world. If we continue like this, we will be on our way to dark years.

I also believe we need an immigrant stop to stabilize the country, call it a national crisis and focus on integrating immigrants, as well as REINTEGRATING second and third immigration childs, and return to normalcy when it comes to our values and culture. No more refugees, no more immigrants from muslim countries, spread immigrants towards our whole country (instead of the ghetto's we have now), and focus on integrating them. Immigrants who violate the rule, no mercy and back to the country where they belong.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 01, 2019, 07:02:22 am
I think though that Mahdi and the President of Plopsaland are beginning to touch upon an issue though, which is that Belgian society tends to segregate itself (it was the case when we had football clubs for the catholic pillar and for secular people for example, until it became financially unviable). And now (Greater) Brussels and Antwerp are clearly designed to ensure sections of society don't mix, which creates perceived racial segregation (and "entire districts gone to foreigners" perceptions) when really its a much more complex issue.

Mahdi of course is far more effective at communicating that in a more nuanced way, especially how its not about race, nor indeed an extension of some sort of Clash of Civilisation, but more about micro-cultural aspects.

As long as you have VB and Theo Francken monopolising the immigration issue though its going to be tough not to fall into "amalgames"...the Morroccan (largely Berber origin) kids in Molenbeek are third generation immigrants, I'm a second generation immigrant myself. We are as Belgian as each other...why they are amalgamated with Syrian refugees while I am not is where the racism really lies.

You're a good example of an immigrant (2nd gen) that fully integrated and it's sad a small group is ruining it for everyone, and especially the ones that try to do good. It's because of people like you i don't vote for the right, even though i'm right-wing on immigration, crime and that kind of issues. Reasonable right though. But I avoid talking about the issue in my own political party (PVDA-PTB), because they're left-wing or far-left on immigration, and i'm okay with it as my most important issues i side with them.

Second and third generation Belgians are Belgians. That's something i fully agree with, but crime should be harsh, for both whites, Belgians, immigrants or whatever. First gen needs to be sent back in case of major crime (robbery included). We need more national security. I think it's not okay that children are robbed (like 6 in my town) in the last week. This was something that didn't happen years ago.

I've read that in the region of Walsall and Birmingham, the incidents with knives have also strongly risen. I think that's unacceptable for a developed country like the UK.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 01, 2019, 12:56:28 pm
...the Morroccan (largely Berber origin) kids in Molenbeek are third generation immigrants, I'm a second generation immigrant myself. We are as Belgian as each other...why they are amalgamated with Syrian refugees while I am not is where the racism really lies.

Among the the second/third generation Immigrants, would you say is there a tendency to Identity strongly with the Country of Belgium and Belgian Unity or rather do they Identify as Flemish/Walloons? (or neither/with their country of origin?)

In Flanders, yes, clearly there is a "Belgian vote", and on npdata.be there is ample evidence for that, although its less traditional Belgian nationalism/Belgicist sentiment, more of a backlash movement against Flemish nationalism. It can vary according to communities though (it won't have escaped you in this thread that the Flemish nationalists love to play communitarian politics within immigrant communities, like in Genk).

In Wallonia and Brussels, its a non-issue. Identity is a non-issue in general. Integration is somewhat an issue, identity is never actually debated fully the way Flanders often descends into "Who is a Good Fleming?". The demographic history of Wallo Brux explains a lot about that.

Quote
I remember, in Britain Immigrants are likely to Identify with "British" as opposed to the Whites who identify as English, Welsh, etc. Is Fleming/Walloon similarly percieved to be a ethnic indicator?

Walloon and Brusseleir its very difficult to say yes. Already most Walloons don't identify with Wallonia : https://www.lecho.be/actualite/archive/En-depit-des-reformes-les-Wallons-s-identifient-peu-a-leur-Region/8652800

And Brussels is a city identity with its own characteristics

 Both are civic national identities and there is very little discussion about these topics there anyway. Di Rupo is hardly a Wallon de souche yet if you asked people here who is a famous Walloon he would come up quite quickly (alongside the likes of Nacer Chadli, for example).

 Fleming...depends...but in academia absolutely not. And in modern Fleming and Flemish nationalism has always meant "I'm a Dutch speaker before a French speaker in Belgium"...which gradually evolved into the territorial idea of Flanders as a unilingual entity you have now and the "Flemish minority" in Brussels. Technically Limburgers could be considered a different ethnicity to actual Flemings, but their Stockholm Syndrome the political evolution of Belgium dictates they consider themselves Flemish. Flemish identity can be very politically driven as a concept.


Quote
Do you think that the lack of a strong Belgian identity/patriotism is partly responsible for issues like Molenbeek?

Do you mean specifically the terrorism or the general delinquency perceived in these places?

No, for me its a failure of the relevant state institutions being able to act effectively that is the direct cause. Street policing, child services, education, internal intelligence, welfare (that left a gaping hole for the extremist "non-profits" to fill), etc. All of those things the Netherlands does better and it shows on our streets compared to theres...we are a ing freak show here in BXL but nobody wants to actually intervene.  

An indirect cause of this could be the dismantling and underfunding of state institutions caused by lack of strong Belgian patriotism. But I really don't get the very French argument that somehow this would have all been avoided if they had had laicité and patriotism classes at school or worse, military service...its like these people never met rebellious school kids.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 03, 2019, 07:00:51 am
Theo Francken prijst Donald Trump: “Hij staat aan de kant van de kleine man, van het volk” (https://www.nieuwsblad.be/cnt/dmf20191103_04697413)

Theo Francken praises Donald Trump: "He sides with the side of the small man, the people". He has realized a lot in his first term. Trump has vision, direction and an agenda.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 03, 2019, 08:27:41 am
()

"If Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders becomes the nominee, i'll support Trump".

Hmm, i now know who not to vote for.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 05, 2019, 05:43:16 am
Talks have broken down between N-VA and PS over the regionalisation of social security.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 12, 2019, 03:56:35 pm
Results of first round presidency of MR :

Georges-Louis Bouchez : 6044
Ducarme : 3405
Goffin ; 1521
Defraigne : 1899
Barzin : 685

It will be Ducarme vs GLB. Pretty clear that the MR base is swinging rightwards.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on November 13, 2019, 05:40:04 pm
Results of first round presidency of MR :

Georges-Louis Bouchez : 6044
Ducarme : 3405
Goffin ; 1521
Defraigne : 1899
Barzin : 685

It will be Ducarme vs GLB. Pretty clear that the MR base is swinging rightwards.

So what's the difference between them politically? And who would be a better leader for the party?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 14, 2019, 05:41:19 am
Results of first round presidency of MR :

Georges-Louis Bouchez : 6044
Ducarme : 3405
Goffin ; 1521
Defraigne : 1899
Barzin : 685

It will be Ducarme vs GLB. Pretty clear that the MR base is swinging rightwards.

So what's the difference between them politically? And who would be a better leader for the party?

There is more a difference in style than in their ideas as both are on the right of the party. GLB is more socially liberal in the American sense I guess, he's not against good ideas if they come from the left of the party but he still hangs out with Francken, is hard on immigration,etc. He's got the support of Reynders, Michel and the rest of the barons., but he's definitely a maverick more than a manager who loves debating and provoking. But he's still learning I guess.

Ducarme is the kind of guy that attracts Destexhe voters. An older demographic . He's basically there to be a stone in the shoe of GLB as they both hate each other (refused to debate each other in the aftermath). The kind politician that thinks speaking with a raised voice on a debate platform is enough.

Ducarme definitely isn't a good fit for leader. GLB is clearly talented but he can also be a divisive figure and he ran their worst campaign for quite awhile in May.  Either way MR need to be careful they don't lose their loyal centrist voters to cdH/Défi . A lot of people who vote MR don't have time for big mouths, they just want someone to protect their tax rates.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 14, 2019, 08:48:59 am
Meanwhile in Flanders, there is typically more theatrical politics at play. First, the burning down of a protracted asylum seeker hostel in Bilzen, prompting internet comments wishing there were people in it.
Then there is a big debate over culture subsidies. N-VA announced proudly they would cut it massively and it has suddenly received an unlikely backlash in some parts.

sp.a have also elected a new president : Conner Rousseau, a young Flemish parliament member from Gent who is close to the Combrez wing of the party, so no real change in line of direction, other than trying to understand the "ok boomer" crowd better.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Lechasseur on November 14, 2019, 09:41:03 am
Results of first round presidency of MR :

Georges-Louis Bouchez : 6044
Ducarme : 3405
Goffin ; 1521
Defraigne : 1899
Barzin : 685

It will be Ducarme vs GLB. Pretty clear that the MR base is swinging rightwards.

So what's the difference between them politically? And who would be a better leader for the party?

There is more a difference in style than in their ideas as both are on the right of the party. GLB is more socially liberal in the American sense I guess, he's not against good ideas if they come from the left of the party but he still hangs out with Francken, is hard on immigration,etc. He's got the support of Reynders, Michel and the rest of the barons., but he's definitely a maverick more than a manager who loves debating and provoking. But he's still learning I guess.

Ducarme is the kind of guy that attracts Destexhe voters. An older demographic . He's basically there to be a stone in the shoe of GLB as they both hate each other (refused to debate each other in the aftermath). The kind politician that thinks speaking with a raised voice on a debate platform is enough.

Ducarme definitely isn't a good fit for leader. GLB is clearly talented but he can also be a divisive figure and he ran their worst campaign for quite awhile in May.  Either way MR need to be careful they don't lose their loyal centrist voters to cdH/Défi . A lot of people who vote MR don't have time for big mouths, they just want someone to protect their tax rates.

Who do you think will win? GLB?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 14, 2019, 09:50:46 am
Results of first round presidency of MR :

Georges-Louis Bouchez : 6044
Ducarme : 3405
Goffin ; 1521
Defraigne : 1899
Barzin : 685

It will be Ducarme vs GLB. Pretty clear that the MR base is swinging rightwards.

So what's the difference between them politically? And who would be a better leader for the party?

There is more a difference in style than in their ideas as both are on the right of the party. GLB is more socially liberal in the American sense I guess, he's not against good ideas if they come from the left of the party but he still hangs out with Francken, is hard on immigration,etc. He's got the support of Reynders, Michel and the rest of the barons., but he's definitely a maverick more than a manager who loves debating and provoking. But he's still learning I guess.

Ducarme is the kind of guy that attracts Destexhe voters. An older demographic . He's basically there to be a stone in the shoe of GLB as they both hate each other (refused to debate each other in the aftermath). The kind politician that thinks speaking with a raised voice on a debate platform is enough.

Ducarme definitely isn't a good fit for leader. GLB is clearly talented but he can also be a divisive figure and he ran their worst campaign for quite awhile in May.  Either way MR need to be careful they don't lose their loyal centrist voters to cdH/Défi . A lot of people who vote MR don't have time for big mouths, they just want someone to protect their tax rates.

Who do you think will win? GLB?

Easily.

But the fact that there is a second round is a blow in itself to his credentials...hence why Ducarme was smug afterwards.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 16, 2019, 08:08:25 am
In Flanders, Walter De Donder (Kabouter Plop, The Mayor from Samson & Gert -> two child shows) and Sammy Mehdi are the favourites for CD&V. De Donder would be a turn to the right while Mehdi would be a turn to the left.

()

vs

()

()


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Estrella on November 16, 2019, 12:24:29 pm
In Flanders, Walter De Donder (Kabouter Plop, The Mayor from Samson & Gert -> two child shows) and Sammy Mehdi are the favourites for CD&V. De Donder would be a turn to the right while Mehdi would be a turn to the left.

What exactly would that entail? Would a turn to the right mean moving closer to the N-VA (more economically liberal and nationalist) and a turn to the left becoming something like ChristenUnie?

And, more generally, who votes for CD&V, other than retirees and farmers? Is the religious immigrant vote actually significant?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 16, 2019, 02:50:48 pm
In Flanders, Walter De Donder (Kabouter Plop, The Mayor from Samson & Gert -> two child shows) and Sammy Mehdi are the favourites for CD&V. De Donder would be a turn to the right while Mehdi would be a turn to the left.

What exactly would that entail? Would a turn to the right mean moving closer to the N-VA (more economically liberal and nationalist) and a turn to the left becoming something like ChristenUnie?

And, more generally, who votes for CD&V, other than retirees and farmers? Is the religious immigrant vote actually significant?

Hard to predict, but i think you're right there.

I don't know, conservatives, religious people also vote CD&V. It has no support from the youth. In pollings between 18 and 25 years old, both s.pa and CD&V score below 5%. VB, Open VLD, N-VA, Groen and PVDA do better among youngsters. I have to meet a youngster who back them. I have a lot of PVDA friends here, but Vlaams Belang is really popular in my neighbourhood and friend circle.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 17, 2019, 05:04:25 am
In Flanders, Walter De Donder (Kabouter Plop, The Mayor from Samson & Gert -> two child shows) and Sammy Mehdi are the favourites for CD&V. De Donder would be a turn to the right while Mehdi would be a turn to the left.

What exactly would that entail? Would a turn to the right mean moving closer to the N-VA (more economically liberal and nationalist) and a turn to the left becoming something like ChristenUnie?

They have a different purpose to both those parties, as they are a patrician party that seeks government to protect what remains of their pillar (the "Boerenbond", the mutuality, their hold on Flemish education, just to name a few examples). Some on the Right of the party want to distance themselves more from the Christian civil society actors to become NVA light but the garden gnome guy is still pretty traditional.

Also Mahdi is more right-wing than the ChristenUnie in general. I'd actually argue he's more right-wing than the incumbent Wouter Beke but I'm interested in what Laki thinks.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: mileslunn on November 20, 2019, 02:34:13 am
Does Belgium yet have a national government.  They took a record 583 days in one earlier and with how fragmented seems like forming a national one before New Year will be tough.  I suspect though socialists and/or Greens will be included this time while between Liberals and Christian Democrats, one or both will be.  Since Liberalism is different in Europe than English speaking world, which would be more open to a left wing one and which more for a right wing one of Christian Democrats and Liberals?


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 20, 2019, 05:40:49 am
The garden gnome didn't get through the CD&V first round in the end. Joachim Coens will face off against Samy Mahdi. Coens is ACW so economically quite left-wing but socially he is keen on emphasising CD&Vs conservative credentials.

@mileslunn, in general liberals here are more right-wing . But it can vary.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 20, 2019, 09:54:22 am
Does Belgium yet have a national government.  They took a record 583 days in one earlier and with how fragmented seems like forming a national one before New Year will be tough.  I suspect though socialists and/or Greens will be included this time while between Liberals and Christian Democrats, one or both will be.  Since Liberalism is different in Europe than English speaking world, which would be more open to a left wing one and which more for a right wing one of Christian Democrats and Liberals?

Liberals wanted to have a right-wing coalition. CD&V prefers right-wing coalition as well.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on November 30, 2019, 07:46:38 am
GLB comfortably wins MR leadership second round 62-38 share against Ducarme, and already promotes Phillippe Goffin to Foreign Secretary.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on November 30, 2019, 11:29:44 am
I support Mahdi. My mom said he stands for radical christian democracy, while Coens stands for nothing and is more of the same, no charisma, no story, not appealing to voters, another nobody middle-of-the-way christian democrat with no real proposals but entering any coalition they can. If they vote for Mahdi, i might put christian democrat on my to watchlist for the next elections, although it's still a 5% chance i'll vote for them, and I don't vote in European elections for EPP. Walter De Donder who already lost would have been a fresh choice with a clear right-of-center on immigration view, so that would have been an interesting choice at well.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on December 02, 2019, 05:45:32 am
Apparently there have been talks for a green - social democrat - liberal coalition. N-VA said the Open VLD supporters wouldn't appreciate this move, especially since this would have a minority on flemish side.

Though it's the coallition i want.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Zinneke on December 02, 2019, 08:53:57 am
De Clerq, Somers and other VLD progressives are supportive of the idea. They'd have a lot of influence unlike last time where MVA dominated the agenda through irregular tactics.

But I agree with De Wever that we should try to have a majority on both sides. Or move forward with a federal voting district, scrapping the constituencies, that way we have de jure federal parties and thus these coalitions would be easier. Won't happen though.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on December 03, 2019, 08:54:37 am
Yes, i was once also a VLD progressive but got alienated by the party's right-wing stances esp. on economy. But VLD is here the king maker, and it would be ideal. It would still be a government where will be critical, and I would still be skeptical but it's much better than the alternative: N-VA, social democrats & liberals, which would be similar as the VVD - PvdA coalition once in the Netherlands, and where i would be scared to see the death of social democrats, although that can in time turn out to be well for the PVDA.


Title: Re: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019
Post by: Laki on December 06, 2019, 12:33:18 pm
Coens elected with 53% of the vote as new chairman of CD&V. Sad they didn't give Mehdi a chance. That would have been a fresh and interesting face. Coens is just a boring white guy who will contribute nothing, not change the party direction, and make a bland party even more bland. I think I would rank Open VLD suddenly again above CD&V again.

1) PVDA-PTB
2) Ecolo
3) Groen
4) s.pa
5) PS
6) MR
7) Défi
8) cdH
9) Open VLD
10) CD&V
11) Vlaams Belang
12) N-VA

would be my order.