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 New Flemish Alliance (right-wing faction) and Spirit (centre-left faction)
Ideology Flemish nationalism
Federalism
Political position Big tent
European affiliation European Free Alliance

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), with the internal divisions between the right-wing and left-wing members re-emerging in 2001. The party split into the right-wing New Flemish Alliance (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, or NV-A) and the left-wing Spirit, while the liberal members joined the Flemish Liberals and Democrats. The two parties proceeded to form new electoral alliances, known in Belgium as cartels, with the NV-A allying with Christian Democratic and Flemish and Spirit with the Socialist Party - Different. These cartels broke up in 2008 as the parties continued their decline, until the NV-A experienced a resurgence in 2009, eventually becoming the largest party in Flanders, while Spirit ceased to exist, merging with Groen.

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]