Belgium turns right

Article published on June 12, 2007
community published
Article published on June 12, 2007
- by Veronica Scognamiglio It will take as usual some time for the new Federal Belgian Government to be formed, but at least one result is clear: the growth of the centre-right and the fall of the socialists. And if in Walloonia the Francophone Socialists (PS) lose votes, in the Flanders the Flemish Socialist (sp.
a-Spirit) lose their head…The PS lost 2,11 % of votes at the Chamber and 2,59% at the Senate in comparison to 2003 elections, while sp.a-Spirit lost 4,54% at the Chamber and 5,42%.

If the PS paid for the scandals emerged in Charleroi (where it remains, however, the first party), from the Flemish side it is quite difficult to say what determined such a catastrophic result. Indeed, it is quite surprising that after only one year from the administrative elections, with a good score and the battle won in Antwerp against the extreme right (Vlaams Belang), the Flemish Socialist could perform so bad…It is true that the voting behaviour is now-a-days so volatile that there is barely a consistency between elections scores at local, regional and national levels.

But at least for the Flemish side, could it be a side-effect of the “Sarkozy tsunami” in the neighbour France? Could it be that since France presidential elections a “domino” effect is investing socialists throughout all Europe? In Belgium, only the environmentalist left, in particular the Francophone Ecolo, has achieved a good score, thank both to the switch made by “traditional left” voters disappointed by the socialists and the great relevance of environmental issues in the current debate at all levels.

Anyhow, what it is really worrying in the outcome of Belgian elections is the good score that the Flemish extreme right, Vlaams Belang, keeps to achieve: 11,99% (+0,4%) at the Chamber and 11,89% at the Senate (+0,57%). There has been only a slight increase in votes since 2003 elections; but the fact that an anti-democratic and racist party collects more votes than the Flemish socialist and almost the same as the Flemish Liberals (Open VLD, 12,40%) is scary. The Belgian democratic parties keep Vlaams Belang out of power, never granting a government seat to its representatives. But the 2007 elections remind to all democratic forces that the battle against the extreme right is still raging and demands to be on the alert.

Veronica Scognamiglio