Separatists Win Belgian Election

The New Flemish Alliance, a Dutch-speaking separatist party led by Bart de Wever, announced victory in Belgium’s general election today, beating out the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, both former partners in government. Meanwhile, the French-speaking Socialists, whose leader Elio Di Rupo was predicted by many to become prime minister, went on to finish with 26 seats overall. Set to be the largest party in Dutch-speaking Flanders and in the country—by TV projections, at least—the New Flemish Alliance received “some 30 percent” of the Flemish vote, according to de Wever. The party is stirring up controversy in Belgium by advocating a separation from the French-speaking portion of the population in order to join the European Union. De Wever has called for the few remaining areas of government shared by Dutch speakers and Francophones—including justice, health, and social security—to be separated between the two camps. Voting was mandatory in today's election.