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  Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019 (search mode)
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Author Topic: Belgian Politics & Elections: Federal Election May 26, 2019  (Read 46645 times)
Zinneke
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« Reply #125 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.

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Also, what's the question about trade unions paying unemployment benefits?

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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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #126 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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #127 on: April 25, 2019, 10:36:27 am »
« Edited: April 25, 2019, 10:50:17 am by coloniac »

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.

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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.

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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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #128 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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #129 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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #130 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"  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). 

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Zinneke
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« Reply #131 on: May 14, 2019, 10:26:42 am »
« Edited: May 14, 2019, 04:21:36 pm by coloniac »

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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #132 on: May 14, 2019, 05:40:26 pm »
« Edited: May 14, 2019, 05:45:55 pm by coloniac »

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #133 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".
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Zinneke
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« Reply #134 on: May 18, 2019, 03:02:55 pm »
« Edited: May 18, 2019, 04:08:55 pm by coloniac »

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.  
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Zinneke
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« Reply #135 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*
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Zinneke
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« Reply #136 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.


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Zinneke
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« Reply #137 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.
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Zinneke
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« Reply #138 on: May 21, 2019, 01:08:12 pm »
« Edited: May 21, 2019, 01:15:43 pm by coloniac »

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.

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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 Cheesy


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Zinneke
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« Reply #139 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

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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.  

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Zinneke
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« Reply #140 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.   
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« Reply #141 on: May 25, 2019, 01:37:11 pm »
« Edited: May 25, 2019, 01:48:40 pm by coloniac »

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

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).
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« Reply #142 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.
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« Reply #143 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.
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« Reply #144 on: May 25, 2019, 03:10:41 pm »
« Edited: May 25, 2019, 04:43:51 pm by coloniac »

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.  
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« Reply #145 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.
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« Reply #146 on: May 26, 2019, 01:55:02 am »
« Edited: May 26, 2019, 02:32:57 am by coloniac »

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.
 


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« Reply #147 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.
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« Reply #148 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.
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« Reply #149 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.
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