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Belgians vote on future, united country in doubt

zimmer

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Flanders tends to be conservative and free-trade minded. Wallonia's long-dominant Socialists have a record of corruption and poor governance. Flanders has half the unemployment of Wallonia and a 25 percent higher per-capita income, and Dutch-speakers have long complained that they are subsidizing their Francophone neighbors.

But those in Wallonia don't want to join France and France has never expressed any interest in absorbing the region because of its high unemployment and other costs. France also does not to encourage separatism so regions like the French island of Corsica don't get their own separatist ideas.
Belgians vote on future, united country in doubt

I think a break up would be great.
The French section, if they were smart would not join the EU and turn themselves into Liechtenstein, Luxembourg or Switzerland.

Of course they wouldn't though. They'd be siphons on EU cash.

.
 
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Mirepoix

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The problem would be Brussels and the little region around it. Would the town became Flemish? I read that there is 80 % of Francophone in Brussels. And without Brussels, Flanders would lose a big part of its wealth.
 

bub

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Belgians vote on future, united country in doubt

I think a break up would be great.
The French section, if they were smart would not join the EU and turn themselves into Liechtenstein, Luxembourg or Switzerland.

Of course they wouldn't though. They'd be siphons on EU cash.

.

Actually your article is wrong, a poll indicates that nearly 70% of the French people (75% of those who live in the Northern departments) would welcome Wallonia in case of a break up of Belgium. And around 50% of the Walloons would support joining France. That's 6% more than last year and 12% more than 2 years ago.

The real reason why Belgium won't break up is that we disagree about what to do with Brussels, we disagree about how to share our huge debt, and, as your article point out, if France and UK let Flanders be independent, it's gonna give ideas to Corsicans and Scottish people.


But your article sums it up quite well

Yet in Belgium just about everything—from political parties to broadcasters to boy scouts and voting ballots—already comes in Dutch- and French-speaking versions. Even charities like the Red Cross and Amnesty International have separate chapters.

We don't have anything in common, and the Flemish are fed up paying for the Walloon jobless people. When the Flemish nationalists started singing the Flemish anthem in the federal parliament, no one started singing the Belgian anthem. That says a lot.
 
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bub

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But ... if they split, who gets the king? :/

The Walloons.

If Flanders becomes independant, "Belgium" will be Wallonia and Brussels.

But in fact it is quite unlikely that Flanders becomes independent, for the reasons I gave in the previous post.
 

bub

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As for the elections, we'll have the first results in about one hour.

All polls predict a landslide victory for the Flemish independentists (up to 26% in Flanders). Around 75 or 80% of the Flemish are going to vote for right-wing parties, most of them asking for further autonomy for Flanders.

On the Walloon side, the socialists are probably going to get around 30%, and there will probably be a left-wing coalition again (with the christians and the ecologists).



The question is: who will be the next prime minister.



The man who'll probably get the most support will be Bart De Wever, the leader of the Flemish independentist party.
Good point: he'll probably be the most popular guy in Belgium. Bad point: he wants to break up Belgium.



Another possibility is Marianne Thyssens, who is totally unknown in Wallonia but who is the new leader of the Flemish christian democrats.
Good point: it's a female. Bad point: she's unknown in Wallonia.



The last possibility would be Elio Di Rupo, leader of the Walloon socialists.
Good point: he is a gay and son of immigrants, that would be a good symbol. Bad point: he doesn't speak Dutch and is the leader of the party that turned Wallonia into a third world country, which is the cause of the Flemish will to be independent.
 

bub

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As foreseen, huge victory of the Flemish independentists. The polls said they'd get around 25 or 26%, they got nearly 30% of the votes. They are now the biggest political party in Belgium (while they had less than 5% a few years ago) and have defeated all the other parties (all the traditional flemish parties have lost many votes)

On the map, you can see that they are the most important party in nearly all of Flanders (they're in Yellow) except in West Flanders (where the catholics - orange - still dominate).

On the southern side of the linguistic border, it's the exact opposite, with a huge victory of the Socialist party, which got over 30% of the Walloon votes (in red), while the liberals (in blue) have been severly defeated.

And when you look at the results of the elections in and around Brussels, you can see that all the areas populated by Frenchspeakers voted massively for the FDF (part of the liberals, who strongly oppose the Flemish and who are seen as evil in Flanders) while all the areas populated by Flemish voted massively for the NVA (the Flemish independentist who are the ennemy n°1 of the FDF)

Thus, the next coalition will probably be....national-socialist!! (well...the flemish nationalists, with the socialists on both sides and probably the christians and ecologists on both sides)

As it is impossible that an independentist becomes prime minister, and since the Flemish christians have been severly defeated, the next prime minister will probably be the leader of the Walloons socialists (that would be the first time we have a Walloon prime minister since 1979!).

And frankly, that's a catastrophe. The socialists turned Wallonia into a third world country in 30 years, I do not see any reason to be optimistic for the future of the country if we're governed by them. I wonder how they are going to govern with the Flemish independentists, since they are 100% opposed on most topics.

On a side note...the leader of the Flemish extreme-right said he would emigrate to Namibia if a Walloon socialist becomes prime minister!
 
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Do the voters really want to seperate from the rest of belgium or do they seek more autonomy in this federal system?
 

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what'll happen to the chocolate, WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHOCOLATE!!!!
 

bub

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Do the voters really want to seperate from the rest of belgium or do they seek more autonomy in this federal system?

I read somewhere that only around 10% are really independentist, so yes, the majority simply seeks more autonomy.

But Flanders and Wallonia are already very autonomous, nearly everything is already divided between us: no more national political party, no more national press...and what remains is nearly totally supranational: our defence is not national anymore, it's in the NATO and increasingly European, our money is already European...

I think one of the only competences that remain at the "Belgian" level is the social security, and that's what the NVA wants to split up, and that's probably going to happen within a few years. That's exactly what its leader wants: not a brutal revolution, not even an independence overnight, he says Belgium is going to "evaporate", slowly, quitetly.
 

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Aren't we seeing this everywhere? Nationalist/Conservative free marketers becoming increasingly fed up with their spendier socialist compatriots?
 

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Aren't we seeing this everywhere? Nationalist/Conservative free marketers becoming increasingly fed up with their spendier socialist compatriots?

The Netherlands as one example.
 

kaya'08

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National unity. A single, indivisible, central sovereign government with local MP's; much like Turkey, France, Israel so on. I am a fan of such state structures, federal republics are not in the interests of nationhood, unless of course federal government expands so much "federal" merely becomes show work, much like the US and Germany.

I would find it as a Belgian (hypothetically) deeply regrettable the groups that make Belgium would rather disintegrate the nation for there own interests. As a whole Belgium can be more economically viable and politically viable together.
 
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bub

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National unity. A single, indivisible, central sovereign government with local MP's; much like Turkey, France, Israel so on. I am a fan of such state structures, federal republics are not in the interests of nationhood, unless of course federal government expands so much "federal" merely becomes show work, much like the US and Germany.

We don't like centralized powers, only a few nobles would like to go back 100 years backwards and have an united Belgium. Now we have to choose between a confederal Belgium (= de facto independent Flanders & Wallonia, but we keep the name "Belgium" and possibly some federal remnants) or completely break up the country.

I would find it as a Belgian (hypothetically) deeply regrettable the groups that make Belgium would rather disintegrate the nation for there own interests. As a whole Belgium can be more economically viable and politically viable together.

That's the argument of the Flemish independentists: "what we do alone, we do better". Economically it would be a good step for Flanders (if they keep Brussels...and THAT's the real problem) since they would not have to give 6 billions/year to Wallonia.
 

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We don't like centralized powers, only a few nobles would like to go back 100 years backwards and have an united Belgium. Now we have to choose between a confederal Belgium (= de facto independent Flanders & Wallonia, but we keep the name "Belgium" and possibly some federal remnants) or completely break up the country.

Well its all very complicated to me. I just dont see why such culturally common people cannot live together under a single national banner. I think the language barriers are a constant psychological reminder that isolates the communities against each other. Would you not think it better Belgian stay as one nation?
 

bub

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Well its all very complicated to me. I just dont see why such culturally common people cannot live together under a single national banner. I think the language barriers are a constant psychological reminder that isolates the communities against each other. Would you not think it better Belgian stay as one nation?

Well we don't see ourselves as "culturally common", we have many particularisms. Besides, it's all about nation-building. Belgium is a failed state because there isn't an important sense of "we-feeling". I present myself as a Belgian here, because Wallonia is unknown abroad, but in RL I feel more Walloon or European, and even when I talk to French people I say I'm a Walloon, not a Belgian. On the other hand, there is a nation building in Flanders. Flemish people have a common project that does not exist on the Belgian level, they have a single language, they have Flemish artists, they have a Flemish history (which is partially re-invented, just like any national history)...

What is a bit funny, is that you are the one telling me why we can't live under a single banned while I think our points of view are switched when we talk about the EU :p
 

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Bub, is the feeling in favour of union with France growing in Wallonie? Complete independence for the region would not produce a strong and viable nation, especially if it began by being involved in a, potentially decades-long, political struggle for the control or sovereignty over Brussels. Might not union with your cultural cousins not produce a better solution? I think that the Vlaams will embrace their nation-hood but have to confront quite a few major unforeseen obstacles in their independent future. The first would be, "now that we have our nation, what do we do with it?" The political energy of so many of them has been devoted to the dissolution of the Belgian state for so long that they will need to reorientate their minds towards other issues that they haven't even thought about. In other words, they'll have to grow up. Quickly.
 
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Aren't we seeing this everywhere? Nationalist/Conservative free marketers becoming increasingly fed up with their spendier socialist compatriots?

No we are not. Each country has it unique political system. Take Denmark, chances are there will be a socialist government at the next election. That is because there has been 12+ years of liberal/conservative government not because of people being fed up over "socialist big spenders". In fact if it does happen (not saying it will), it will change history since the economic situation in Denmark is very good. Chances are that in France at the next election that the socialist will take over from Sarkozy... it is that "time" so to say and the French are not exactly happy with Sarkozy. Chances are that in Germany that the socialists will take over there too at the next election. Again it is that time to change. The socialists have already taken over in Poland after years of conservative right wing miss management. Socialists have taken over in Greece after years of right wing conservative miss management. The list goes on. And then there is Spain.. depending on the right wing party in Spain, then chances are they will gain power at the next election... but that is still a big maybe considering the state of the Spanish PP party.

So you cant just transcribe the propaganda lead US surge on conservative ideas on to the rest of the world. After all like in the US, the political parties in power during the bubble were often right wing or used traditionally right wing policies.

The US political system and way of thinking is totally alien to most people on the planet too btw, especially when it comes to the conservative way of thinking in the US. The US conservative movement has more in common with the mullahs of Tehran than the conservative parties around the world if you ask me.

Also nationalism is on the rise because of the economic crisis. It happens every time, just look at the US. Nationalism is at a feverish point now in many places. Same goes for Europe.. it is after all easier to blame the outsider for your problems than admit it yourself.

And Belgium is some what a classic example. Nationalism has always existed, but because of the economic crisis the nationalists can now use the "nationalist" mantra to gain followers because of the classic tribal feeling that everyone has.. to belong somewhere. So blaming others, claiming if we do it alone we will be better off and all that is a classic during harsh times. We had another surge in the late 1970s and early 1980s in Europe for example.
 

kaya'08

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Well we don't see ourselves as "culturally common", we have many particularisms. Besides, it's all about nation-building. Belgium is a failed state because there isn't an important sense of "we-feeling". I present myself as a Belgian here, because Wallonia is unknown abroad, but in RL I feel more Walloon or European, and even when I talk to French people I say I'm a Walloon, not a Belgian. On the other hand, there is a nation building in Flanders. Flemish people have a common project that does not exist on the Belgian level, they have a single language, they have Flemish artists, they have a Flemish history (which is partially re-invented, just like any national history)...

What is a bit funny, is that you are the one telling me why we can't live under a single banned while I think our points of view are switched when we talk about the EU :p

Thats true!
 

bub

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Bub, is the feeling in favour of union with France growing in Wallonie?

In the case of a Flemish independence, yes. But Walloons would not break up Belgium to join France, and there would be negative points: we are used to have a lot of autonomy, while if we join France we'd just be one of their 90 departments, without a lot of autonomy.

Complete independence for the region would not produce a strong and viable nation, especially if it began by being involved in a, potentially decades-long, political struggle for the control or sovereignty over Brussels.

I think Belgium won't break up until we decide who controls Brussels. But you are right, without money transferts from Flanders, poverty rate would rise from 4 to 9%, and our social system will collapse. We'd have to take drastic measures just like they do in Greece (and in my opinion we should already be taking these measures)

Might not union with your cultural cousins not produce a better solution? I think that the Vlaams will embrace their nation-hood but have to confront quite a few major unforeseen obstacles in their independent future. The first would be, "now that we have our nation, what do we do with it?" The political energy of so many of them has been devoted to the dissolution of the Belgian state for so long that they will need to reorientate their minds towards other issues that they haven't even thought about. In other words, they'll have to grow up. Quickly.

Indeed, that would be the end of a century-long struggle for the independentists. I don't think there would be problems with that, as they are used to govern themselves since they already have a lot of autonomy, and they are quite good at that: Flanders is one of the wealthiest areas of Europe.
 

bub

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After over one month, we still do not have a federal government but that's not a surprise, as the most optimistic political scientists predicted a government for september.

For the first time in decades, the prime minister may be a Walloon (Elio Di Rupo, the son of Italian immigrants, gay and leader of the Walloon socialist party).

The coalition must comprise the Flemish and Walloon socialists (who won the elections in Wallonia), the right-wing New Flemish Alliance (the Flemish nationalists, who won in Flanders) and the Flemish and Walloon catholics (who lost, but who are necessary to get a majority). The Walloon ecologists have been invited to join the coalition, but refused because the Flemish ecologists will remain in the opposition (the Flemish nationalists don't want them). That's a problem because without the Walloon ecologists, there isn't a two-thirds majority which is necessary to change our constitution (and that's what the government will do).

Today is the Belgian national day. The speech of the king was totally empty, he didn't talk about the political crisis, yet many people still predict new elections in september or october.
 
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