5 May 2004
BRUSSELS – As widely expected, Belgium’s far-right Flemish party, the Vlaams Blok, has announced that is to appeal against a recent court ruling that it is legally racist, it was announced on Wednesday.
The Blok will argue that the court had no right to make such a ruling so close to next month’s European and regional elections in Belgium as the judgement could prevent the party from standing in the poll under its own name.
Last month a Gent court ruled that the Blok breaks Belgium’s anti-racism laws by regularly publishing openly racist propaganda.
If the ruling is upheld, the Blok is set to lose millions of euros a year in state funding.
Meanwhile, a professor at Gent university has found that anti-social neighbours encourage people to vote for extreme-right parties like the Vlaams Blok.
According to research by Professor Paul Ponsaers, anti-social behaviour by neighbours raises feelings of insecurity in many communities and pushes people to vote for extremist, populist parties that promise tough law and order policies.
Ponsaers said issues like public drunkenness, poorly maintained buildings, theft and illegal rubbish dumping all led people to turn to far-right parties.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news