Flemish Interest is equal biggest party
19 June 2006, BRUSSELS — The extreme-right Flemish Interest continues to rise in popularity and is now almost the biggest party in Flanders behind the traditional heavyweight Christian Democrat CD&V.
19 June 2006
BRUSSELS — The extreme-right Flemish Interest continues to rise in popularity and is now almost the biggest party in Flanders behind the traditional heavyweight Christian Democrat CD&V.
If elections were held now, the Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang in Dutch) would gain 26.6 percent of the vote, just 0.1 percent behind the coalition involving the CD&V and the New Flemish Alliance (26.7 percent).
The poll — conducted by newspapers 'De Morgen' and 'La Libre' — also showed that electoral support for the Flemish Liberal VLD continues to slide. It fell another 2 percent to 16.9 percent, far below its 24.2 percent at the May 2003 federal elections.
The green Groen! party would win 7.6 percent of the vote in Flanders while the Socialist SP.A and left-wing Spirit coalition would win 19.9 percent of the vote.
Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (VLD) and Yves Leterme (CD&V) remain the most popular leaders in Flanders (37 percent) and could fight it out for the prime minister's post at the 2007 federal parliamentary elections.
Across the linguistic border in Wallonia, a series of fraud scandals in Charleroi have cost the Socialist PS party electoral support, falling back to 30 percent from 33 percent in a poll conducted March. That is also 6.4 percent less than the federal elections in 2003.
Besides the extreme-right Front National — which has managed to almost double its 2003 result and now stands to win 10 percent of the vote — the green Ecolo (10.3 percent) and Humanist CDH (19.3) have also gained ground.
The possibility that PS leader Elio Di Rupo will exchange the Liberal MR with the CDH in a federal government coalition after the 2007 elections now looms as a strong possibility. Di Rupo has already entered into a coalition with the CDH at a regional level.
The MR remains the second largest party in Wallonia at 25.9 percent, but has slipped from its 2003 result of 28.4 percent.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news