New Flemish Alliance

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New Flemish Alliance
Leader Bart De Wever
Founder Geert Bourgeois
Founded 2001
Preceded by People's Union
(split in 2001)
Headquarters Koningsstraat 47, bus 6
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
Ideology Flemish nationalism
Regionalism
Conservatism
Liberal conservatism[1]
Political position Centre-right
European affiliation European Free Alliance
European Parliament group European Conservatives and Reformists
Colors Black, gold
Chamber of Representatives
33 / 150
Senate
12 / 60
Flemish Parliament
43 / 124
Brussels Parliament
3 / 89
European Parliament
4 / 21
Flemish Provincial Councils
104 / 351
Website
www.n-va.be
Politics of Belgium
Political parties
Elections

The New Flemish Alliance (Dutch: Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, N-VA)[2] is a Flemish nationalist[3] and conservative[4][5][6] political party in Belgium, founded in 2001.[7] It is a regionalist[8][9] and separatist[10][11][12][13] movement that self-identifies with the promotion of civic nationalism.[14] It is part of the Flemish Movement, and strives for the peaceful[15] and gradual secession of Flanders from Belgium.[16]

The party is also known for its insistence on the exclusive use of Dutch, Flanders' sole official language, in dealings with government agencies, and for the promotion of the use of Dutch in Flanders as the language enabling integration.[14] The N-VA currently participates in the Flemish Government, in coalition with Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) and Socialist Party Different (SP.A).[17]

After initially struggling with the election threshold, the N-VA operated as part of an alliance with CD&V. The parties ran together in the 2004 regional elections and 2007 federal elections, winning both. The alliance ended in 2008 due to lack of progression in state reform negotiations, leaving the regional government and running separately in 2009 in the Flemish election, winning sixteen seats, and European election, winning one seat. It joined the regional government again and currently holds two out of nine minister seats in the cabinet.[17]

As of the 2010 federal elections the N-VA gained a substantial plurality in the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium with 28% of the votes in Flanders and 17% of the national vote, becoming the largest party in both Flanders and Belgium altogether. This was the first time a non-traditional political party had dominated the outcome of a Belgian election.[18]

The main objective of the party is to work on institutional reforms by gradually obtaining more powers for both Belgian communities separately. Furthermore, it emphasizes its non-revolutionary and pro-European character (as opposed to the far-right character of the Vlaams Belang) in order to legitimize increased Flemish autonomy.[19]

The N-VA advocates free-market economics, and their manifesto proposes immediate tax reductions to stimulate the economy.[20] They also advocate deepening ties with the European Union.[21]

History[edit]

Fall of the People's Union[edit]

The N-VA stems from the People's Union (Dutch: Volksunie, VU), a Belgian political party and broad electoral alliance of Flemish nationalists. Towards the end of the 20th century, with a steadily declining electorate and the majority of the party's federalist agenda implemented, friction between several wings of the People's Union emerged. In the beginning of the 1990s, Bert Anciaux became party president and led the party in an ever more progressive direction, combining the social-liberal ideas of his new iD21-movement with the regionalist course of the People's Union. These experiments were opposed by the more traditional centre-right party base.

Tension rose towards the end of the decade, as Geert Bourgeois, foreman of the traditional and centre-right nationalist wing, was elected chairman by party members, above the incumbent and progressive Patrik Vankrunkelsven. Factions subsequently clashed multiple times, over the future course of the party and possible support to current state reform negotiations. On 13 October 2001 the party openly split into three factions: The progressive wing around Bert Anciaux, which would later become the Spirit party, the conservative nationalist wing around Geert Bourgeois and a centrist group opposing the imminent split. A party referendum was held on the future of the party, where the right wing gained a substantial plurality of 47% and inherited the party infrastructure.[22] Since no faction got over 50%, however, the name Volksunie could no longer be used.

Foundation and the election threshold[edit]

In the autumn of 2001, the New Flemish Alliance (Dutch: Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, N-VA) was founded. Seven members of parliament from the People's Union joined the new party. The new party council created a party manifesto and a statement of principles. The first party congress was held in May 2002, voting on a party program and permanent party structures. Geert Bourgeois was elected chairman.

The party participated in elections for the first time in the 2003 federal elections, where it struggled with the election threshold of 5%. This threshold was only reached in West Flanders, the constituency of Geert Bourgeois. With only one federal representative and no senator, the party lost government funding and faced irrelevance.

Cartel with CD&V[edit]

The N-VA entered into an electoral alliance, commonly known in Belgium as cartel, with Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V). They joined forces in the regional elections in 2004 and won. Both parties joined the new Flemish government, led by CD&V leader Yves Leterme. Bart De Wever became new party leader, as Geert Bourgeois became minister.

The cartel was briefly broken when the former right-wing liberal Jean-Marie Dedecker left the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD) and entered the N-VA on behalf of the party executive. However, the party congress did not put Dedecker on the election list, instead preferring to continue the cartel with CD&V, who had strongly opposed placing him on a joint cartel list. Dedecker saw this as a vote of no confidence, and left the party after only 10 days, to form his own party, List Dedecker (LDD). Deputy leader Brepoels, who supported Dedecker, stepped down from the party board afterwards.

In the Belgian federal election of 2007 the CD&V/N-VA cartel won a major victory again, with a campaign focusing on good governance, state reform and the division of the electoral district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde. They N-VA claimed five seats in the Chamber of Representatives and two seats in the Senate. Yves Leterme initiated coalition talks, which repeatedly stalled (see 2007–2008 Belgian government formation). On the 20 March 2008, a new federal government was finally assembled. N-VA did not join this government, but gave its support pending state reform.

The cartel ended definitely on 24 September 2008, due to lack of progression in state reform matters and a different strategy on future negotiations. N-VA left the Flemish Government and gave up its support of Leterme at the federal level.

Mainstream party[edit]

In the regional elections of June 2009, N-VA won an unexpected 13% of the votes, making them the winner of the elections, along with their old cartel partner CD&V. N-VA subsequently joined the government, led by Kris Peeters (CD&V). Bart De Wever chose to remain party leader and appointed Geert Bourgeois and Philippe Muyters as ministers in the Flemish Government and Jan Peumans as speaker of the Flemish Parliament.

Foundation and ideology[edit]

The New Flemish Alliance is a relatively young political party, founded in the autumn of 2001. Being one of the successors of the Volksunie (1954–2001), it is, however, based on an established political tradition. The N-VA works towards the same goal as its predecessor: to redefine Flemish nationalism in a contemporary, pro-European setting. Party leader De Wever calls himself a conservative and a nationalist.[23]

The N-VA argues for a Flemish republic, a member state of a democratic European confederation. The party believes that the challenges of the 21st century can best be answered by strong communities and by well-developed international co-operation, a position which is reflected in their tagline: "Necessary in Flanders, useful in Europe." (Dutch: Nodig in Vlaanderen, nuttig in Europa.)

A label for the political orientation of the N-VA is difficult to find as the party combines both left and right-wing policies. According to its 2009 election programme for Flanders, the N-VA is economically liberal and ecologically green. The N-VA supports public transport, open source software, renewable energy and taxing cars by the actual number of kilometres driven. It wants more aid for developing countries but also more compulsory measures to require that immigrants learn Dutch.[citation needed]

At European level, the N-VA is part of the European Free Alliance (EFA), a European political party consisting of regionalist, pro-independence and minority interest political parties, of which the People's Union was a founder member. During the 7th European Parliament of 2009–2014, the N-VA was a member of The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA) group in the European Parliament. However, following the 2014 European elections, the N-VA moved to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group.[24]

Party chairmen[edit]

Name Portrait From To
1 Geert Bourgeois Geert Bourgeois.jpg 2001 2004
2 Bart De Wever De Wever cropped.jpg 2004 present

Electorate[edit]

At the federal elections in 2003 N-VA received 3.1% of the votes, but achieved only one seat in the federal parliament. In February 2004 they formed an electoral alliance (cartel) with Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V). The cartel won the elections for the Flemish Parliament. The N-VA received a total of 6 seats. However, on 21 September 2008 the N-VA lost its faith in the federal government and the following day minister Geert Bourgeois resigned. In a press conference he confirmed the end of the cartel CD&V/N-VA.

In the 2004 European elections, N-VA had 1 MEP elected as part of the cartel with CD&V.

In the 10 June 2007 federal elections, the cartel won 30 out of 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 9 out of 40 seats in the Senate.

In the regional elections of 11 June 2009, N-VA (now on its own after the split of the cartel with CD&V) won an unexpected 13% of the votes, making them the winner of the elections along with their former cartel partner. In the 2009 European elections held on the same day, the N-VA returned one MEP.

In the 2010 federal elections, N-VA became the largest party of Flanders and of Belgium altogether.

In the 2014 federal elections, N-VA increased their dominant position, taking away votes and seats from the far-right Flemish Interest. In the simultaneous 2014 regional elections and 2014 European elections, the N-VA also became the largest party in the Flemish Parliament and in the Belgian delegation to the European Parliament.

The six biggest Flemish political parties and their results for the House of Representatives (Kamer). From 1978 to 2014, in percentages of the total vote in Belgium.

Electoral results[edit]

Federal Parliament (Federaal Parlement)[edit]

Chamber of Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers)
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
2003 201,399 3.1
1 / 150
1 / 88
in opposition
2007 1,234,950 18.5 29.6 (#1)
5 / 150
5 / 88
Increase 4 in opposition
In cartel with CD&V; 30 seats won by CD&V/N-VA.
2010 1,135,617 17.40 27.8 (#1)
27 / 150
27 / 88
Increase 22 in opposition
2014 1,366,073 20.32 (#1)
33 / 150
33 / 87
Increase 6 TBD
Senate (Senaat)
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/–
2003 200,273 3.1
0 / 71
0 / 41
2007 1,287,389 19.4 31.4 (#1)
2 / 71
2 / 41
Increase 2
In cartel with CD&V; 14 seats won by CD&V/N-VA.
2010 1,268,780 19.6 31.7 (#1)
14 / 71
14 / 41
Increase 12
2014 N/A N/A N/A (#1)
12 / 60
12 / 35
Decrease 2

Regional parliaments[edit]

Brussels Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
2004 10,482 16.8 (#4)
0 / 89
0 / 17
in opposition
In cartel with CD&V; 3 seats won by CD&V/N-VA
2009 2,586 5.0 (#6)
1 / 89
1 / 17
Increase 1 in opposition
2014 9,085 17.0 (#4)
3 / 89
3 / 17
Increase 2 in opposition

Flemish Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
2004 1,060,580 26.1 (#1)
6 / 124
in coalition
In cartel with CD&V; 35 seats won by CD&V/N-VA.
2009 537,040 13.1 (#5)
16 / 124
Increase 10 in coalition
2014 1,339,946 31.88 (#1)
43 / 124
Increase 27 in coalition

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/–
2004 1,131,119 17.4 28.2 (#1)
1 / 24
1 / 14
In cartel with CD&V; 4 seats won by CD&V/N-VA
2009 402,545 6.13 9.88 (#5)
1 / 22
1 / 13
Steady 0
2014 1,123,363 16.85 26.67 (#1)
4 / 21
4 / 12
Increase 3

Representation[edit]

European Politics[edit]

European Parliament (2014–2019)
Name Parliamentary group
Johan Van Overtveldt European Conservatives and Reformists
Helga Stevens
Louis Ide
Mark Demesmaeker

Federal Politics[edit]

Chamber of Representatives (2014–2019)
Constituency Name Notes
 Antwerp Rita Bellens
 East Flanders Siegfried Bracke
 East Flanders Peter Buysrogge
 West Flanders An Capoen
 Flemish Brabant Inez De Coninck
 East Flanders Peter Dedecker
 West Flanders Koenraad Degroote
 Antwerp Zuhal Demir
 Antwerp Peter De Roover
 Antwerp Bart De Wever
 Antwerp Sophie De Wit
 East Flanders Christoph D'Haese
 West Flanders Daphne Dumery
 Flemish Brabant Theo Francken
 West Flanders Rita Gantois
 Limburg (Belgium) Karolien Grosemans
 Antwerp Jan Jambon Floor leader
 Limburg (Belgium) Werner Janssen
 Limburg (Belgium) Peter Luykx
 Antwerp Koen Metsu
 East Flanders Sarah Smeyers
 Flemish Brabant Jan Spooren
 East Flanders Goedele Uyttersprot
 Antwerp Yoleen Van Camp
 Limburg (Belgium) Steven Vandeput
 Antwerp Rob Van de Velde
 Antwerp Valerie Van Peel
 Flemish Brabant Kristien Van Vaerenbergh
 West Flanders Jan Vercammen
 West Flanders Brecht Vermeulen
 Flemish Brabant Hendrik Vuye
 Antwerp Bert Wollants
 Limburg (Belgium) Veerle Wouters
Senate (2014–2019)
Type Name Notes
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Community Senator TBD
Co-opted senator Jan Becaus
Co-opted senator Pol Van Den Driessche

Regional politics[edit]

Flemish Government Bourgeois (2014–2019)
Name Function
Geert Bourgeois Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Foreign Policy and Tourism
Liesbeth Homans Vice Minister-President and Flemish Minister for Local Government, Poverty Reduction, Housing, Civic Integration, Equal Opportunities, Cities and Social Economy
Ben Weyts Flemish Minister for Mobility and Public Works, the Brussels Periphery and Animal Welfare
Philippe Muyters Flemish Minister for Work, Economy, Innovation, Science Policy and Sport
Flemish Parliament (2014–2019)
Constituency Name Notes
 Antwerp Vera Celis replacing Liesbeth Homans, who became minister in the Flemish Government
 Limburg (Belgium) Jan Peumans
 West Flanders Bert Maertens replacing Geert Bourgeois, who became minister in the Flemish Government
 Flemish Brabant Peter Persyn replacing Ben Weyts, who became minister in the Flemish Government
 East Flanders Matthias Diependaele Floor leader
 Brussels-Capital Region Karl Vanlouwe
 West Flanders Ann Soete
 Limburg (Belgium) Lies Jans
 East Flanders Elke Sleurs
 Flemish Brabant Nadia Sminate
 Antwerp Kris Van Dijck
 East Flanders Andries Gryffroy
 Flemish Brabant Piet De Bruyn
 Limburg (Belgium) Grete Remen
 Antwerp Annick De Ridder
 West Flanders Wilfried Vandaele
 Flemish Brabant Lorin Parys
 West Flanders Axel Ronse
 Antwerp Marc Hendrickx
 East Flanders Marius Meremans
 Limburg (Belgium) Jos Lantmeeters
 Limburg (Belgium) Jelle Engelbosch
 Flemish Brabant Lieve Maes
 West Flanders Cathy Coudyser
 Antwerp Paul Van Miert
 East Flanders Karim Van Overmeire
 West Flanders Björn Anseeuw
 Flemish Brabant Bart Nevens
 East Flanders Ingeborg De Meulemeester
 Antwerp Manuela Van Werde
 Flemish Brabant Danielle Godderis-T'Jonck
 East Flanders Sabine Vermeulen
 Flemish Brabant Willy Segers
 Antwerp Herman Wynants
 East Flanders Miranda Van Eetvelde
 Antwerp Kathleen Krekels
 East Flanders Koen Daniëls replacing Lieven Dehandschutter, who remains Mayor of Sint-Niklaas
 Antwerp Jan Hofkens replacing Philippe Muyters, who became minister in the Flemish Government
 Antwerp Peter Wouters
 Antwerp Ludo Van Campenhout
 Antwerp Sofie Joosen
 Antwerp Jan Van Esbroeck
 Antwerp Tine Van der Vloet
Brussels Regional Parliament (2014–2019)
Name Notes
Liesbet Dhaene
Cieltje Van Achter
Johan Van den Driessche

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  2. ^ Pronunciation: About this sound Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie
  3. ^ Austin Sarat (2013). Special Issue: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Constitution of Legality. Emerald Group Publishing. p. 132. ISBN 978-1-78190-431-2. 
  4. ^ Kris Deschouwer; M. Theo Jans (2007). Politics Beyond the State: Actors and Policies in Complex Institutional Settings. Asp / Vubpress / Upa. p. 75. ISBN 978-90-5487-436-2. 
  5. ^ Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, a Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 465. ISBN 978-0-313-39181-1. 
  6. ^ Jan Erk; Lawrence M. Anderson (13 September 2013). PARADOX FEDERALISM. Routledge. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-317-98772-7. 
  7. ^ n-va.be, english information page
  8. ^ Régis Dandoy; Arjan Schakel (19 November 2013). Regional and National Elections in Western Europe: Territoriality of the Vote in Thirteen Countries. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-137-02544-9. 
  9. ^ Peter Starke; Alexandra Kaasch; Franca Van Hooren (7 May 2013). The Welfare State as Crisis Manager: Explaining the Diversity of Policy Responses to Economic Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-137-31484-0. 
  10. ^ Anuradha Kataria (2011). Democracy on Trial, All Rise!. Algora Publishing. p. 119. ISBN 978-0-87586-811-0. 
  11. ^ Larry Johnston (13 December 2011). Politics: An Introduction to the Modern Democratic State. University of Toronto Press. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-4426-0533-6. 
  12. ^ European Politics. Oxford University Press. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-19-928428-3. 
  13. ^ Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. (1 March 2011). Britannica Book of the Year 2011. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. p. 29. ISBN 978-1-61535-500-6. 
  14. ^ a b Manifesto of the New Flemish Alliance point 13: "Inclusion for newcommers" (in Dutch)
  15. ^ Manifesto of the New Flemish Alliance point 6: "Pacifisme" (in Dutch)
  16. ^ Manifesto of the New Flemish Alliance point 3: "Flanders member state of the European Union" (in Dutch)
  17. ^ a b flanders.be, cabinet information page
  18. ^ N-VA wins General Election, deredactie.be. Retrieved on 2010-06-14.
  19. ^ Internationale persconferentie, N-VA.be. Retrieved on 2010-06-14.
  20. ^ Knack Magazine election manifesto review 2014
  21. ^ FAQ | Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie "Is the N-VA a pro-Europe party?"
  22. ^ New Parties in Old Party Systems. Oxford University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-19-964606-7. 
  23. ^ Trouw: "Laat Belgie maar rustig verdampen", last seen April 8th, 2010.
  24. ^ Van Overtveldt, Johan (2014-06-18). "N-VA kiest voor ECR-fractie in Europees Parlement" [N-VA chooses ECR Group in the European Parliament]. standaard.be (in Dutch). Retrieved 2014-06-18. 

External links[edit]