Now it’s Belgium’s turn. Local elections held on Sunday have resulted in widespread gains for the Flemish Nationalist Party (NVA), which wants to divide the country. Early indications suggest that the party is now the biggest political force in Flanders, the Flemish-speaking region of Belgium.
The NVA believes that the wealthy Flemish-speaking region of Belgium should not be subsidising Wallonia, the poorer French-speaking part of the country, and Sunday’s victory will strengthen its demand for self-rule.
The local election results “add uncertainty and pressure, and darken the Belgian horizon,” editorialised Le Soir, the country’s main French-language daily.
Belgium has been divided between Dutch-speaking Flanders, francophone Wallonia and Brussels, its bilingual capital. Although several political powers have already been devolved to regional governments, Flanders, which has a population of about 6m people compared with 3.5m in Wallonia, is eager to further deepen the process of separation of powers.
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