Belgium elections – what you need to know

Belgium goes to the polls tomorrow, not only in the European elections, but also to elect a new government.

In the election, Belgian voters will be electing all 150 members of the Chamber of Representatives, across 11 multi-member constituencies. Similar to the way the UK elects MEPs, Belgium has constituencies with a different number of representatives allocated to them, ranging from 4 to 24 each. They are elected using the d’Hondt method, with a five percent electoral threshold.

At the last election, a centre-right coalition of four parties was formed but collapsed in December last year when the New Flemish Alliance, a right wing Flemish nationalist party, rejected plans to sign an the international Global Compact for Migration. The rest of the coalition has acted as a caretaker government since.

Due to the linguistic divides in the country, almost all parties are either specifically Flemish-speaking or French-speaking. The only exception is the far-left Workers’ Party, which serves the entire country.

The polls suggest that parties of the current government and the New Flemish Alliance will lose seats, along with the socialist parties, to the far-left, far-right and green parties.

Guide to the Flemish parties

New Flemish Alliance

  • Centre-right to right wing
  • Formed in 2001
  • Flemish separatism, liberal conservatism, soft euroscepticism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 31
  • Formed part of government until 2018
  • Leader: Bart De Wever

Christian Democratic and Flemish Party

  • Centre-right wing
  • Formed in 1968
  • Christian democracy
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 18
  • Forms part of current coalition government
  • Leader: Wouter Beke

Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats

  • Centre-right wing
  • Formed in 1992
  • Conservative liberalism, pro-European
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 14
  • Forms part of current coalition government
  • Leader: Gwendolyn Rutten

Socialist Party Differently

  • Centre-left wing
  • Formed in 1978
  • Democratic socialism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 13
  • In opposition
  • Leader: John Crombez

Green

  • Centre-left to left wing
  • Formed in 1982
  • Multiculturalism, green politics, pro-European
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 6
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Meyrem Almaci

Flemish Interest

  • Right to far-right wing
  • Formed in 2004
  • Flemish separatism, populism, euroscepticism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 2
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Tom Van Grieken

Guide to the French parties

Socialist Party

  • Centre-left wing
  • Formed in 1978
  • Social democracy
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 23
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Elio Di Rupo

Reformist Movement

  • Centre-right wing
  • Formed in 2002
  • Conservative liberalism, pro-European
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 20
  • Forms part of current coalition government
  • Leader: Olivier Chastel

Humanist Democratic Centre

  • Centre to centre-left wing
  • Formed in 1968
  • Christian democracy
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 9
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Maxime Prévot

Ecolo

  • Left wing
  • Formed in 1980
  • Green politics
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 6
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Zakia Khattabi and Jean-Marc Nollet

DéFI

  • Centre to centre-right wing
  • Formed in 1964
  • Social liberalism, Walloon regionalism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 2
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Olivier Maingain

People’s Party

  • Right to far-right wing
  • Formed in 2009
  • Conservative liberalism, right-wing populism, euroscepticism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 1
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Mischaël Modrikamen

Guide to the bilingual parties

Workers’ Party

  • Far-left wing
  • Formed in 1979
  • Communism, Marxism
  • Seats in Chamber of Representatives: 2
  • In opposition
  • Leader: Peter Mertens

One response to “Belgium elections – what you need to know

  1. Pingback: Government crisis in Belgium looms as far-right make gains | ThoughtsFromDan·

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