People's Union (Belgium)

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People's Union
Volksunie
Founded 1954
Dissolved 2001
Preceded by Christian Flemish People's Union
Succeeded by N-VA (conservative)
Spirit (socialist)
Ideology Flemish nationalism
European affiliation European Free Alliance
Politics of Belgium
Political parties
Elections

People's Union (Dutch: Volksunie, VU) was a Flemish nationalist[1][2][3] political party in Belgium, formed in 1954 as a successor to the Christian Flemish People's Union.[4]

The party initially proved successful and had members elected to the Chamber of Representatives (five) and the Senate (two) of the Belgian Federal Parliament in 1961. The party continued to grow in stature and reached the 11.0% at the national level in 1978 elections, gaining 21 representatives. Generally, however, the Volksunie preferred to position itself around the centre and saw itself as a coalition of various shades of Flemish thought.

The acceptance of federalism in place of separatism by the VU in the 1970s did not sit well with the party's right-wing and a split became inevitable, particularly after the party entered the coalition government of Leo Tindemans (CVP, Christian-Democrat). The right wing organized itself in the Vlaams Blok, becoming a much stronger political force and surpassing Volksunie at the beginning of the 1990s (6.6% against VU's 5.9% in 1991 elections).

The Volksunie was a member of the European Free Alliance.[5][6]

Volksunie continued its decline (5.6% in 1999 elections against the 9.9% of the Blok), while the left-right struggle re-emerged in 2001, and finally the party split into the New-Flemish Alliance (the right-wing) and Spirit (the left-wing). Both parties were participating in federal and regional elections as part of a cartel, the New-Flemish Alliance forming an alliance with CD&V, and Spirit with the SP.a, but in the meantime these cartels split up.

Electoral results[edit]

Federal Parliament[edit]

Chamber of Representatives

Election year # of overall votes  % of overall vote  % of language
group vote
# of overall seats won # of language
group seats won
+/- Government Notes
1954 113,632 2.2 (#6)
1 / 212
in opposition
1958 104,823 2.0 (#5)
1 / 212
Steady 0 in opposition
1961 182,407 3.1 (#4)
5 / 212
Increase 4 in opposition
1965 346,860 6.7 (#4)
12 / 212
Increase 7 in opposition
1968 506,697 9.8 (#4)
20 / 212
Increase 8 in opposition
1971 586,917 11.1 (#3)
21 / 212
Increase 1 in opposition
1974 536,287 10.0 (#4)
22 / 212
Increase 1 in opposition
1977 559,567 10.0
20 / 212
Decrease 2 in coalition
1978 388,762 7.0
14 / 212
Decrease 6 in coalition
1981 588,436 9.8
20 / 212
Increase 6 in opposition
1985 477,755 7.9
16 / 212
Decrease 4 in opposition
1987 495,120 8.1
16 / 212
Steady 0 in coalition
1991 363,124 5.9
10 / 212
Decrease 6 in opposition
1995 283,516 4.7
5 / 150
Decrease 5 in opposition
1999 345,576 5.6
8 / 150
Increase 3 in opposition

Regional parliaments[edit]

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 Notes
1995 338,173 9.0
9 / 124
in opposition
1999 359,226 9.3
11 / 124
Increase 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
+/– Notes
1979 324,540 9.7
1 / 24
1 / 13
1984 484,494 13.9
2 / 24
2 / 13
Increase 1
1989 318,153 8.7
1 / 24
1 / 13
Decrease 1
1994 262,043 7.1
1 / 25
1 / 14
Steady 0
1999 471,238 7.6 12.2
2 / 25
2 / 14
Increase 1

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). pp. 397–. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Thomas Poguntke; Paul Webb (21 June 2007). The Presidentialization of Politics: A Comparative Study of Modern Democracies. Oxford University Press. pp. 158–. ISBN 978-0-19-921849-3. Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  3. ^ Alan T. Arwine; Lawrence C. Mayer (10 June 2013). The Changing Basis of Political Conflict in Advanced Western Democracies: The Politics of Identity in the United States, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 83–. ISBN 978-1-137-30665-4. 
  4. ^ Sonia Alonso (26 April 2012). Challenging the State: Devolution and the Battle for Partisan Credibility: A Comparison of Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Oxford University Press. pp. 95–. ISBN 978-0-19-969157-9. 
  5. ^ Lucas F. Bruyning (1990). Italy - Europe. Rodopi. pp. 18–. ISBN 90-5183-195-1. 
  6. ^ Andrew C. Gould; Anthony M. Messina (17 February 2014). Europe's Contending Identities: Supranationalism, Ethnoregionalism, Religion, and New Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 132–. ISBN 978-1-107-03633-8. 

See also[edit]