New Flemish Alliance

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New Flemish Alliance
Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie
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
Ideology Flemish nationalism
Liberal conservatism[1]
Political position Centre-right
European affiliation European Free Alliance
European Parliament group The Greens–European Free Alliance
Colors Black, gold
Chamber of Representatives
27 / 150
14 / 71
Flemish Parliament
17 / 124
Brussels Parliament
1 / 89
European Parliament
1 / 22
Politics of Belgium
Political parties

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 the autumn of 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 in which a non-traditional political party dominated the outcome of a Belgian election.[18]

The main objective of the party is to work on great 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 Flemish Interest) in order to legitimize increased Flemish autonomy.[19]


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.[20] 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]

Party leader since 2004: Bart De Wever

The N-VA entered into an election 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.[21]

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]

On the European level the N-VA is part of the European Free Alliance that consists mainly of regionalist or minority parties. The EFA forms a parliamentary group together with the larger European Green Party called The Greens–European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA). The N-VA has been invited to move to the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group formed by the British Conservative Party, after Bart De Wever was invited to talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2011.[22]

Party chairmen[edit]

Name From To
1 Geert Bourgeois 2001 2004
2 Bart De Wever 2004 present


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. 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.

2007 federal elections[edit]

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.

2009 regional elections[edit]

In the regional elections of June 11, 2009, N-VA (now on its own after the break of the cartel with CD&V) won an unexpected 13% of the votes, making them the winner of the elections along with their old cartel partner.

2010 federal elections[edit]

Belgian federal election, 2010
The six biggest Flemish political parties and their results for the House of Representatives (Kamer). From 1978 to 2010, 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 17.4 27.8 (#1)
27 / 150
27 / 88
Increase 22 in opposition
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

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

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

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 9.9 (#5)
1 / 22
1 / 13
Steady 0


European Politics[edit]

European Parliament
Name Notes
Mark Demesmaeker Member of the European Free Alliance party and the Greens-EFA parliamentary group

Federal Politics[edit]

Chamber of Representatives
Constituency Name Notes
West Flanders West Flanders Bert Maertens replaces Geert Bourgeois, joined Flemish Government
West Flanders West Flanders Daphné Dumery
West Flanders West Flanders Cathy Coudyser
West Flanders West Flanders Koenraad Degroote
East Flanders East Flanders Siegfried Bracke
East Flanders East Flanders Sarah Smeyers
East Flanders East Flanders Karel Uyttersprot
East Flanders East Flanders Peter Dedecker
East Flanders East Flanders Ingeborg De Meulemeester
East Flanders East Flanders Miranda Van Eetvelde
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Jan Jambon Floor leader
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Sophie De Wit
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Flor Van Noppen
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Zuhal Demir
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Reinilde Van Moer
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Jan Van Esbroeck
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Bert Wollants replaces Kris Van Dijck, remained MFP
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Minneke De Ridder
Flemish Brabant Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde Ben Weyts
Flemish Brabant Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde Nadia Sminate
Flemish Brabant Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde Kristien Van Vaerenbergh
Flemish Brabant Leuven Theo Francken
Flemish Brabant Leuven Els Demol
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Peter Luykx replaces Frieda Brepoels, remained MEP
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Veerle Wouters replaces Jan Peumans, remained MFP
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Steven Vandeput
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Karolien Grosemans
Type Name Notes
Directly elected Patrick De Groote replaces Bart De Wever, remained MFP
Directly elected Frank Boogaerts replaces Helga Stevens, remained MFP
Directly elected Louis Ide
Directly elected Lieve Maes
Directly elected Danny Pieters President of the Belgian Senate until 11 October 2011
Directly elected Sabine Vermeulen replaces Luc Sevenhans, resigned
Directly elected Bart De Nijn replaces Piet De Bruyn, became MFP
Directly elected Elke Sleurs
Directly elected Inge Faes
Community Senator Lies Jans
Community Senator Helga Stevens
Community Senator Wilfried Vandaele
Co-opted senator Huub Broers
Co-opted senator Karl Vanlouwe

Regional politics[edit]

Flemish Government Peeters II
Name Function
Geert Bourgeois Vice-Minister-President of the Flemish Government
Flemish Minister for Administrative Affairs, Local and Provincial Government, Civic Integration, Tourism and the Vlaamse Rand
Philippe Muyters Flemish Minister for Finance, Budget, Work, Town and Country Planning and Sport
Flemish Parliament
Constituency Name Notes
West Flanders West Flanders Wilfried Vandaele replaces Geert Bourgeois, joined Flemish Government, also Flemish Community Senator
West Flanders West Flanders Danielle Godderis-T'Jonck
East Flanders East Flanders Helga Stevens also Flemish Community Senator
East Flanders East Flanders Marius Meremans
East Flanders East Flanders Matthias Diependaele Floor leader
East Flanders East Flanders Karim Van Overmeire elected as a member of Vlaams Belang, joined N-VA at 31 August 2011
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Bart De Wever
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Liesbeth Homans
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Marc Hendrickx
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Kris Van Dijck
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Goedele Vermeiren replaces Sophie De Wit, became MP
Antwerp (province) Antwerp Vera Celis
Flemish Brabant Flemish Brabant Piet De Bruyn
Flemish Brabant Flemish Brabant Tine Eerlingen
Flemish Brabant Flemish Brabant Willy Segers
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Jan Peumans President of the Flemish Parliament
Limburg (Belgium) Limburg Lies Jans also Flemish Community Senator
Brussels Regional Parliament
Name Notes
Paul De Ridder (nl) Floor leader


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  2. ^ Pronunciation: About this sound Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie
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  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, cabinet information page
  18. ^ N-VA wins General Election, Retrieved on 2010-06-14.
  19. ^ Internationale persconferentie, Retrieved on 2010-06-14.
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  21. ^ Trouw: "Laat Belgie maar rustig verdampen", last seen April 8th, 2010.
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External links[edit]