Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"VLD" redirects here. For other uses, see VLD (disambiguation).
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats
Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten
Leader Gwendolyn Rutten
Founded 1846 (Liberal Party)
1961 (PVV-PLP)
1992 (VLD)
2007 (Open VLD)
Preceded by Party for Freedom and Progress
Headquarters Melsensstraat 34 Brussels
Membership  (2014) Decrease 63,239[1]
Ideology Liberalism,[2]
Social liberalism,[3]
Conservative liberalism
Political position Centre-right[4]
International affiliation Liberal International
European affiliation Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
European Parliament group Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
French-speaking counterpart Reformist Movement
Colours Blue
Former names Flemish Liberals and Democrats
(Dutch: Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten)
Chamber of Representatives
(Flemish seats)
14 / 87
Senate
(Flemish seats)
5 / 35
Flemish Parliament
19 / 124
Brussels Parliament
(Flemish seats)
5 / 17
European Parliament
(Flemish seats)
3 / 12
Flemish Provincial Councils
54 / 351
Website
www.vld.be
Politics of Belgium
Political parties
Elections

Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (About this sound Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten), commonly known as Open Vld or simply as the VLD, is a liberal[2] and conservative-liberal[5][6] Flemish political party in Belgium. The party was created in 1992 from the former Party for Freedom and Progress (PVV) and politicians from other parties. The party led the government for three cabinets under Guy Verhofstadt from 1999 until March 2008. Open VLD most recently formed the Federal Government from June 2003 through 2007 (the so-called purple governments) with the Flemish Sp.a-Spirit cartel, the Francophone Socialist Party (PS) and Reformist Movement (MR).

In the Flemish Parliament, the VLD formed a coalition government with sp.a-Spirit and Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) from after the 2004 regional election until the 2009 regional election. Open VLD has been a member of the Leterme I Government formed on 22 March 2008, the Van Rompuy I Government formed on 2 January 2009, the Leterme II Government formed on 24 November 2009 and the Di Rupo Government formed on 6 December 2011.

Ideologically, Open VLD started as an economic liberal[7] somewhat Thatcherite party under its founder, Guy Verhofstadt. The VLD rapidly became more centrist and gave up much of its free market approach, partly under the influence of Verhofstadt's political scientist brother Dirk Verhofstadt. Party chairman Bart Somers called in November 2006 for a "revolution" within the party, saying that "a liberal party," like the VLD, "can be only progressive and social."[8]

From 2000 to 2004, during the second period of its participation in the Belgian federal government and under Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, the VLD allegedly lost most of its ideological appeal. Several of its thinkers such as (former member) Boudewijn Bouckaert, president of Nova Civitas, heavily criticised the party. Many others resented the priority it placed on the 'Belgian compromise', which enabled the French Community's Socialist Party to gain a dominant position in the formulation of Belgian federal government policy.

In 2004 the VLD teamed up with the minority social-liberal party Vivant for both the Flemish and European elections. VLD-Vivant lost the elections to arch rivals CD&V and the Flemish Bloc. The VLD fell from second to third place among the Flemish political parties, slipping narrowly behind the sp.a-Spirit cartel. Internal feuds, the support for electoral rights for immigrants and an unsuccessful economic policy were seen as the main reasons for its election defeat.

On 19 June 2004 the VLD successfully negotiated a regional coalition government with CD&V and the moderate nationalist New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), and with the social-democratic sp.a-Spirit. In a federal cabinet reshuffle in July 2004, VLD chairman Karel De Gucht replaced Louis Michel (Reformist Movement) as minister for Foreign Affairs. Former Flemish Minister-President Bart Somers is the new party chairman.

History[edit]

As such the liberal party is the oldest political party of Belgium. In 1846, Walthère Frère-Orban succeeded in creating a political program which could unite several liberal groups into one party. Before 1960, the Liberal Party of Belgium was barely organised. The school pact of 1958, as a result of which the most important argument for the traditional anti-clericalism was removed, gave the necessary impetus for a thorough renewal. During the liberal party congress of 1961, the Liberal Party was reformed into the bilingual Party for Freedom and Progress (PVV-PLP), and Omer Vanaudenhove became the chairman of the new party. The new liberal party, which struggled with an anti-clerical image, opened its doors for believers, but wasn't too concerned about the situation of workers and primarily defended the interests of employers.

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the tensions between the different communities in Belgium rose and there were disagreements within the liberal movement as well. In 1972, the unitary PVV-PLP was split into separate a Flemish and a Francophone parties. On Flemish side, under the guidance of Frans Grootjans, Herman Vanderpoorten and Willy De Clercq, the PVV was created, on Walloon side Milou Jeunehomme became the head of the PLP and Brussels got its own but totally disintegrated liberal party landscape. Willy De Clercq became the first chairman of the independent Party of Freedom and Progress (Dutch: Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang, PVV). De Clercq, together with Frans Grootjans and Herman Vanderpoorten, set out the lines for the new party. This reform was coupled an Ethical Congress, on which the PVV adopted very progressive and tolerant stances regarding abortion, euthanasia, adultery, homosexuality and gender equality.

In 1982, the 29-year-old reformer Guy Verhofstadt became the chairman of the party, and even was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Budget from 1986 to 1988. Annemie Neyts succeeded him as chairman, becoming the first female party chairman. In 1989, Verhofstadt once more became the chairman of the PVV, after his party had been condemned to the opposition by the Christian People's Party (CVP) in 1987.

In 1992, the PVV was reformed into the Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten, VLD) under the impulse of Verhofstadt. Although the VLD was the successor of the PVV, many politicians with democratic nationalist or socialist roots joined the new party. Notable examples are Jaak Gabriëls, then-president of the Flemish People's Union, and Hugo Coveliers. From the early 1990s, the VLD advanced in every election, only to get in government following the 1999 general election when the VLD became the largest party. Guy Verhofstadt became Prime Minister and Patrick Dewael became Minister-President of Flanders. They were both at the head of a coalition of liberals, social democrats and greens.

2007 elections[edit]

Before the 2007 general election, the VLD participated in a cartel with Vivant and Liberal Appeal. In February 2007, it decided to cease the cartel and start operating under the name Open VLD. In the 10 June 2007 general elections, Open VLD won 18 out of 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 5 out of 40 seats in the Senate.

2010 elections[edit]

In the 2010 general election, Open VLD won 13 out of 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives. After the long government formation process, on 6 December 2011 the Di Rupo Government was formed, with Open VLD one of the six constituent parties.

Europe[edit]

The party is fairly pro-European, and holds three seats in the European Parliament, where it sits as a member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) Group. Then-current VLD Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt was rejected as a candidate for the presidency of the European Commission in June 2004.

Electoral results[edit]

Federal Parliament[edit]

The main six Flemish political parties and their results for the Chamber of Representatives. From 1978 to 2014, in percentages for the complete 'Kingdom'.
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
1995 798,363 13.1
21 / 150
in opposition
1999 888,973 14.3
23 / 150
Increase 2 in coalition
2003 1,009,223 15.4 25.9 (#1)
25 / 150
25 / 88
Increase 2 in coalition
2007 789,445 11.8 18.8 (#2)
18 / 150
18 / 88
Decrease 7 in coalition
2010 563,873 8.6 13.6 (#4)
13 / 150
13 / 88
Decrease 5 in coalition
2014 659,582 9.8
14 / 150
14 / 87
Increase 1 in coalition
Senate (Senaat)
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/–
1995 796,154 13.3 21.2 (#2)
6 / 40
6 / 25
1999 952,116 15.4 24.6 (#1)
6 / 40
6 / 25
Steady 0
2003 1,007,868 15.4 25.9 (#2)
7 / 40
7 / 25
Increase 1
2007 821,980 12.4 20.1 (#2)
5 / 40
5 / 25
Decrease 2
2010 533,124 8.24 13.3 (#4)
4 / 40
4 / 25
Decrease 1
2014 N/A N/A N/A

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
1995 11,034 2.7 (#8)
2 / 75
in opposition
1999 13,729 3.2 (#7)
2 / 75
Steady 0 in coalition
In cartel with VU
2004 12,433 2.7 19.9 (#2)
4 / 89
4 / 17
Increase 2 in coalition
2009 11,957 2.6 23.1 (#1)
4 / 89
4 / 17
Steady 0 in coalition
2014 14,296 26,7 (#1)
5 / 89
5 / 17
Increase 1 in coalition

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
1995 761,262 20.2 (#2)
26 / 124
in opposition
1999 855,867 21.7 (#2)
27 / 124
Increase 1 in coalition
2004 804,578 19.8 (#3)
25 / 124
Decrease 2 in coalition
In cartel with Vivant
2009 616,610 15.0 (#4)
21 / 124
Decrease 4 in opposition
2014 594,469 14.2 (#3)
19 / 124
Decrease 2 in coalition

European Parliament[edit]

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of electoral
college vote
# of
overall seats won
# of electoral
college seats won
+/–
1994 678,421 18.4 (#2)
3 / 25
3 / 14
Increase 1
1999 847,099 21.9 (#1)
3 / 25
3 / 14
Steady 0
2004 880,279 21.9 (#3)
3 / 24
3 / 14
Steady 0
2009 837,834 20.6 (#2)
3 / 22
3 / 13
Steady 0
2014 858,872 20,4 (#2)
3 / 21
3 / 12
Steady 0

Representation[edit]

Election year Chamber Senate Brussels
Parliament
Flemish
Parliament
European
Parliament
1994
3 / 25
1995
21 / 150
6 / 40
2 / 75
26 / 124
1996
1997
1998
1999
23 / 150
6 / 40
2 / 75
27 / 124
3 / 25
2000
2001
2002
2003
25 / 150
7 / 40
2004
4 / 89
25 / 124
3 / 24
2005
2006
2007
18 / 150
5 / 40
2008
2009
4 / 89
21 / 124
3 / 22
2010
13 / 150
4 / 40
2011
2012
2013
2014
14 / 150
5 / 89
19 / 124
3 / 21

International[edit]

The party is a member of the Liberal International, which was co-chaired by Annemie Neyts, member of Open VLD.

Presidents[edit]

Notable members[edit]

Notable former members[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Open VLD heeft de meeste leden en steekt CD&V voorbij". deredactie.be. 30 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck
  3. ^ Almeida, Dimitri (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. Routledge. p. 107. 
  4. ^ Josep M. Colomer (24 July 2008). Comparative European Politics. Taylor & Francis. pp. 220–. ISBN 978-0-203-94609-1. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Hans Slomp (30 September 2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. pp. 465–. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8. Retrieved 13 July 2013. 
  6. ^ 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. pp. 192–. ISBN 978-1-137-31484-0. 
  7. ^ Thomas Banchoff; Mitchell Smith (1999). Legitimacy and the European Union: The Contested Polity. Routledge. pp. 123–. ISBN 978-0-415-18188-4. Retrieved 16 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Somers wil revolutie binnen de VLD" (in Dutch). Belga. 4 November 2006. 

External links[edit]