Bart De Wever
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|Bart De Wever|
|Chairman of the
New Flemish Alliance
|Preceded by||Geert Bourgeois|
|Mayor of Antwerp|
1 January 2013
|Preceded by||Patrick Janssens|
|Member of the Flemish Parliament|
7 June 2009
13 June 2004 – 10 June 2007
|Member of Parliament
(Chamber of Representatives)
10 June 2007 – 7 June 2009
13 July 2010 – 1 January 2013
|Born||Bart Albert Liliane De Wever
21 December 1970
|Political party||New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of Leuven|
Bart Albert Liliane De Wever (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbɑrt də ˈʋeːvər]; born in Mortsel, 21 December 1970) is a Belgian politician. Since 2004 he has been the president of the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), a Belgian political party advocating independence for the Flemish region of Belgium within the European Union, and is a member of the Flemish Parliament. He played a prominent role in the 2007 Belgian government formation and presided over his party's victory in the 2010 Belgian federal elections when N-VA became the largest party in both Flanders and in Belgium as a whole.
De Wever attended the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL), graduating with a licentiate (equivalent of the master's degree) in History. As a student he was a member of the Liberaal Vlaams Studentenverbond (LVSV, Liberal Flemish Students' Union), the Katholiek Vlaams Hoogstudentenverbond (KVHV, Catholic Flemish Students' Union) of Antwerp and Leuven. He is a former editor-in-chief of the KVHV newspapers Tegenstroom (magazine of KVHV in Antwerp) and Ons Leven (in Leuven).
He was employed as a scientific assistant[clarification needed] working on the 'Nieuwe Encyclopedie van de Vlaamse Beweging' (New Encyclopedia of the Flemish Movement). In 2004, he was elected as president of the N-VA with 95% of the votes. He was the only candidate that stood for the election.
De Wever went through a rough stretch in 2006 when he accepted the conservative-liberal[clarification needed] Jean-Marie Dedecker as an N-VA member, causing a split with the CD&V party. In order to reconcile the party, Dedecker had to leave. Although he was extensively criticised, the local N-VA leaders permitted De Wever to remain as N-VA president.
In the 2009 regional elections, his party won an unexpectedly high 13% of the votes, making N-VA the overall winner of the elections together with old cartel partner CD&V. N-VA subsequently joined the government,[clarification needed] with De Wever choosing to remain party president and appointing two other party members as ministers in the Flemish Government and one party member as speaker of the Flemish Parliament.
Under his presidency his party gained around 30% during federal elections held in June 2010. De Wever himself won the most preference votes of the Dutch-speaking region (nearly 800,000).
- Member of the district council of Berchem (1996–1997)
- Member of the Flemish Parliament. (2004–2007)
- President of N-VA (2004- )
- Representative (2007- )
- Member of Antwerp municipal council (2007- )
- Mayor of Antwerp (2013- )
In 2008, while being interviewed on an early morning TV programme, he stated that: "I think that there is no French-speaking minority in Flanders; there are immigrants who have to adapt. We ask the Moroccans and the Turks to do that. We don't say to them 'There's a lot of you, so Arabic will become an official language.' That's crazy."
In 1996, he was photographed attending a conference held by the French extreme-right Front National leader Jean-Marie Le Pen. De Wever justified his attendance by arguing that "in a democracy everyone should have the right to express his opinion, even if it's an opinion I detest. And I always prefer to get my information first hand than to get it in a filtered way."
In October 2007, in reaction to the apology of the Mayor of Antwerp for his city's collaboration in the deportation of Jews during World War II, Bart De Wever said that:
- "Antwerp did not organise the deportation of the Jews, it was the victim of Nazi occupation ... Those who were in power at the time had to take tricky decisions in difficult times. I don't find it very courageous to stigmatise them now."
He later issued an apology to representatives of Antwerp's Jewish community. Following these events, in a tribune published in Le Monde, the Belgian French-speaking writer Pierre Mertens claimed that Bart De Wever was a "convinced negationist leader". De Wever sued Mertens for this allegation.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bart De Wever.|
- [dead link]
- Pierre Gilissen, La photo qui énerve Bart de Wever, Le Soir, 31 August 2007.
- A Belgian leader flirts with the far-right, blog post by 'Charlemagne', 31 October 2007, hosted by The Economist.
- Flemish nationalist politician apologizes to Antwerp Jews, European Jewish Press, October 2007.
- (nl) Le Soir daagt De Wever uit, De Standaard, 8 July 2008.
- (fr) Bart de Wever attaque Pierre Mertens, La Dernière Heure, 8 July 2008.
- Face of Flanders, Bart De Wever, Flanders today, 23 June 2010