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Author Topic: Belgian Politics & Elections: local elections Oct 14  (Read 15536 times)
Watermelon sin Jamón
Zanas46
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« Reply #25 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.
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IN NATE WE still TRUST?

I haven't seen anything pointing to a Brexit win at this point, when you factor in how a referendum actually works.

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coloniac
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« Reply #26 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.
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« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2017, 02:09:43 pm »



This map shows MR winning districts in Flanders (around Brussels), how is it possible?
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 02:14:39 pm by Zuza »Logged
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« Reply #28 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.
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« Reply #29 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 ? Wink
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I haven't seen anything pointing to a Brexit win at this point, when you factor in how a referendum actually works.

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« Reply #30 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 ? Wink

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.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 12:54:21 am by Rogier »Logged
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« Reply #31 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?
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« Reply #32 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?
« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 04:38:42 am by Rogier »Logged
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« Reply #33 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.







« Last Edit: April 19, 2017, 05:41:42 am by Nanwe »Logged
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« Reply #34 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. Sad

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.
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Nanwe
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« Reply #35 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
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coloniac
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« Reply #36 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).
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« Reply #37 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.
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« Reply #38 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.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 03:10:26 am by coloniac »Logged
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« Reply #39 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.
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« Reply #40 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.
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« Reply #41 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.
« Last Edit: May 07, 2017, 08:54:58 am by Rogier »Logged
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« Reply #42 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?
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« Reply #43 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.
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« Reply #44 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.
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« Reply #45 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.
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« Reply #46 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.
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« Reply #47 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.
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« Reply #48 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?
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« Reply #49 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.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2017, 03:17:28 pm by Rogier »Logged
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