Flemish politics parties

Leuven Travel Blog

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In a week's time I have to vote in the EU elections for parties from the Flemish list. My reference point in political parties is really Australian, US and UK politics, so I have been trying to work out which Flemish parties equate to which Australian/US/UK parties. My current approximation is:

Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest)
= One Nation (Australia)
= Ann Coulter wing of the Republican Party (US)
= British National Party (UK)

N-VA (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie)
= Nationals (Australia)
= Mike Huckabee wing of the Republican Party (US)
= Tories (UK)

Lijst Dedecker (Dedecker's List)
= Liberals (Australia)
= Lou Dobbs wing of the Republican Party (US)
= Tories (UK)

CD&V (Flemish Christian Democrat party)
= Kevin Rudd-wing of Labor Party (Australia)
= Blue Dog caucus in the Democratic Party (US)
= Tony Blair-wing of Labor (UK)

Open VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats)
= "Wet" Liberals (Australia)
= Mitt Romney wing of Republican Party (US)
= David Cameron wing of Tories (UK)

SLP (Social Liberal Party)
= Bob Hawke wing of Labor (Australia)
= New Democrat Coalition caucus of the Democratic Party (US)
= "Old" Labor (UK)

SPA (Socialist Progressive Alternative)
= Greens (Australia)
= Progressive caucus of the Democratic Party (US)
= Left-wing of Labor (UK)

Groen! (Green)
= Greens (Australia)
= Code Pink wing of the Democratic Party (US)
= Liberal Democrats (UK)

Any foreign politics-orientated Flemish care to help me out?
Adrian_Liston says:
Fascinating as always Cedric - it is like having my own personal "integration trainer" :)

I started to reply on how I think a party comparison is more useful than it immediately appears, but it ended up being so long I made it a separate post.

I read an interview recently of Frieda Brepoels (#1 on the N-VA list for the EU elections) in which she referred to 4th generation Dutch-speaking immigrants with Belgian citizenship as "non-Belgians". What is your opinion on how much of the Flemish independence movement is based on actual desire for self-determination (something I respect) versus simple xenophobia (which I despise)? When independence gets linked to a rejection of Turkey joining the EU or wanting to bar the children of French-speaking parents from attending Dutch-speaking schools it starts to smell rather foul. It must be difficult for reasonable self-determination people to advocate independence without being perceived as xenophobic.
Posted on: May 31, 2009
lamadude says:
Some general remarks:
-Apart from the VB every party is pro-EU or extremely pro-EU (cd&v and openvld).
-Two parties want flemish indepence (NVA and VB) and all the others want more competences to go to Flanders, without wanting to break up the country. Most favour a sort of confederation. This feeling is stronger in right parties, but exists everywhere. The green party is the most "Belgian" party if you will, with the least requests for more flemish competences.

This doesn't really matter in regional or EU elections like we will have now but it's important to understand belgian politics:
-The main "Power parties" are the Open VLD, CD&V and SP.A, they don't differ that greatly on core policy plans because they know they will often have to work together in the next coalition. Together with the green party they are much more likely to get in power because a coalition usually takes form of parties from Flemish and French speaking parties from the same ideology, so when the openVLD is in power, the french speaking MR will be as well. These are the language pairs:
OpenVLD - MR (liberal)
CD&V - CDH (Christian Democrat)
SPA - PS (socialist)
Groen! - écolo

Although it must be said that the position of these "language pairs" is very different and they usually disagree, especially on matters that touch on anything that has to do with flemish-walloon competencies. Parties often are a lot closer to ideologically different parties within the same region than to their ideological "partner" in the other region.
Posted on: May 28, 2009
lamadude says:
This is the Christian-Democratic party, the party that is most often in power, and doesn't really take any strong stance on issues because it has to balance its own left and right wing within its party. The left wing consists of: the farmers-union, and the Christian labour union and health care, which has millions of members, the right wing focusses on careful public finances (keeping the state budget in check) and "good governence) the right wing is very close to the N-VA, with slightly more moderate, but still existing, flemish sympathies.

SP.A is the main socialist party, they focus on labor rights, and a strong health care and social security, they have suffered a lot because many working class people have shifted to VB or LDD. It is not an extremely socialist party and I think you can compare it to Labour in general in the UK.

This is a brand new party that was made out of what remains of the old "spirit" party after a lot of its members shifted to SP.A. They are sort of a mix between socialist and liberal parties, focussing on the freedom aspect on the one hand (liberal) and equal opportunities (socialist) on the other. It is unlikely that this party will reach the 5% threshold so probably it won't get any seats.

Groen! is a green party, pretty comparable with green parties in other countries, their program is comparable with that of the SP.A with more of a focus on the environment, naturally.
Posted on: May 28, 2009
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