Politics in Belgium

There used to be three parties in Belgium : Catholics (orange), Liberals (blue) and Socialists (red). And even though they all split in a French-speaking and a Dutch-speaking part fifty to sixty years ago, these big three ruled Belgium for more than one hundred years.

The Seventies and Eighties saw the rise of extremist parties like VU-Volksunie and Agalev. Both joined the federal government briefly, but dissolved right after that. The Nineties saw the rise of Vlaams Blok.

Look at the total percent of votes that went to the big three :
1985: 79%
1987: 79%
1991: 71%
1995: 72%
1999: 64%
2003: 73% (including the Dutch-speaking socialist kartel)
2007: 70% (including several kartels)
Some of these kartels are history today.

The Naughties already made clear that many new and/or extremist parties (LDD, Ecolo, Vlaams Belang, Groen) might rival the election results of the big three (who are six now).

Too many parties will get around ten percent of all Belgian votes (including the six from the big three). Forming a government will become very difficult.

The upcoming elections of June 7th are European and regional (not federal!), but they will have an impact on the federal government. Many people expect federal elections in October 2009.

So what's the choice for the upcoming elections ?

My European vote might go to Bart Staes, the only politician in Europe to have a clue about open standards, and who also votes accordingly.

On the Flemish front:
- LDD wants smoking back in restaurants ?! No!
- Groen wants to halt nuclear energy ! No!
- CD&V the good old catholics, with this miserable failure?! No!
- Vlaams Belang is excluded by all other parties (except LDD?), this gives them some sympathy. But they lack a real program, and get lots of votes from racists. No!
- N-VA has Peter Dedecker, but they are too Flemish extremist. No!

This leaves only OpenVLD (the good old liberals) and SP.a (the good old socialists). One could vote for blue integrity and experience ? Or one could follow Pieter and vote for red charm and beauty ;-)


Anonymous said...

I wonder if the political fragmentation will make much of a difference. All of the Big Three had bucketloads of internal disagreements in the past couple of years, and political incompetence can be found in every single party. Forming a government might be a bit more difficult now, but I doubt that much would change in parliament. Half the MPs still wouldn't show up, and the other half will spend their time filibustering...Belgian politics make me sad.

Bram said...

Whoops. Previous comment was made by me, pardon the anonimity.

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localhost said...

CVP/PSC (now CD&V/CDH) split up in 1968
PVV/PLP (now OVLD/MR) split up in 1971
BSP/PSB (now SPA/PS) split up in 1978

That's not 50 years ago... some of the older generation that are still in politics today, were already on the political scene back then.

Oh and why do you only have an emotional/personal argument against CD&V, while you have rational arguments against all other parties?

I expected a bit more intellectual integrity from you, Paul...

By the way, you cannot vote for Freya, because you don't live in East Flanders.

Paul Cobbaut said...

The PSC-CVP split was indeed official in 1968, but the namechange from "catholic party" to "PSC-CVP" was in 1945. I guess the 'internal' split happened somewhere inbetween those dates... hence the about 50-60 years ago.

I don't have a rational argument against CD&V because I have not considered voting for them since Jean-Luc Dehaene.

I know I cannot vote for Freya, I just wanted to link to those pictures ;-)