The results are in: people don’t deserve democracy.
(We had federal elections earlier today. This post is going to be long and probably not very interesting, unless you happen to be interested in Flemish politics while also not knowing much about it already.)
The results for the House:
Open VLD is the name of the liberal political cartel that includes the VLD (which is centrist and the largest of the three parties), Vivant (which is lefty), and Liberaal Appèl (which is righty).
The old Prime Minister (1999-2007), Guy Verhofstadt, is a member of VLD.
SP.a/Spirit is the socialist-democratic cartel. They used to form a coalition with the VLD, and as such were part of the old majority.
Spirit, incidentally, is a descendant of the old Volkspartij. They’re mostly the old left wing of that party.
CD&V/N-VA is going to deliver our next Prime Minister, apparently. More on that later.
CD&V has always been one of the largest parties in Belgium, for reasons that are entirely beyond me. They’ve historically opposed most things that make Belgium a civilised nation: gay marriage, euthanasia (and they’re reviving that debate), abortion, public education (complicated story; ended with Catholics taking over most schools in Flanders), &c. Still, they could reasonably be described as centrist, and the last Prime Minister they delivered (Jean-Luc Dehaene, 1992-1999) was a decent enough guy.
They’ve relatively recently picked up N-VA, though, which is the right wing of the old Volkspartij. They’re primarily concerned with Flemish independence, and fuck-all else.
Vlaams Belang is, of course, our band of far-right extremists. I’ve briefly talked about their history before here.
Groen! is our green party. They’re the only part of the Flemish left that didn’t lose tremendously, but they suffer from incompetence.
Lijst Dedecker is a new party. It was founded three months ago by Jean-Marie Dedecker, former judo coach of a few women who ended up winning olympic gold turned VLD member turned unhinged fucking idiot. While he was in the VLD he favored breaking the cordon sanitaire, which kept the sane Flemish parties from forming cartels and coalitions with Vlaams Belang (and Vlaams Blok before it).
In the few months he was in the VLD, he threw a fit every single time he didn’t get exactly what he wanted, and eventually he followed the example of “libertarian” (in the US sense of the term) Hugo Coveliers and fucked off to found his own party.
Like Coveliers’ VLOTT, it became a far-right affair. Unlike Coveliers, he actually managed to get some support, apparently, no doubt mostly because of his fame as a judo type person.
Lijst Dedecker is essentially the same party is Vlaams Belang, at this point.
So yeah. 25.5% of the House vote went to far-right extremists (not counting N-VA), and Vlaams Belang alone got more votes than the party which transformed Belgium from an unmanagable mess to a decent federal nation.
Open VLD will still have one more seat than Vlaams Belang, apparently (18 versus 17, compared to the old 25 versus 18), but fuck.
SP.a/Spirit, incidentally, will have 14.
The Senate, then:
There’s something very fucked up about the people who gave us the weekend, minimum wage, healthcare, labor unions, and social security getting fewer votes than people whose idea of a sane political platform includes immediately stopping all immigration, deporting tens of thousands of people, complete and unconditional amnesty for Nazi collaborators (still), getting rid of gay marriage (and additionally prohibiting gay adoption), and abolishing all anti-racist and anti-discriminatory laws in the name of “free speech”.
That CD&V would get that many votes doesn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me.
If you want to look at what this means for the division of seats in the House and Senate, the VRT website has a thing where you can review all kinds of results. You can also view results by area and by city and whatnot. That’s where I got these graphs.
It’s worth pointing out that for Tienen (zip code 3300), the socialists won the House election. So there.
(Also, PVDA in those statistics stands for Partij van de Arbeid. They’re our Maoist Communist party. We also have a Trotskyist and a Leninist one, IIRC. I didn’t talk about them because, seriously.)
As far as Wallonia goes, apparently the PS lost a lot of ground, mostly to the benefit of the MR, a centrist liberal party. Ecolo, the Walloon green party, gained the most, but they still have a way to go.
At least the Front National didn’t gain anything. Maybe I should just move to Wallonia.
Anyway, what all of this means is that our next Prime Minister will be Yves Leterme, the current Flemish Minister-President and the Flemish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. An opportunistic, pious, conservative (by Belgian standards), populistic asshole, who has nothing but disdain for both the federal government and the entire Walloon half of the country.
While this is by no means the end of Belgium, or even the end of sanity in our federal government, it’s certainly not a Good Thing, and my fellow citizens disappoint me.
I guess it’s true the average IQ in Flanders is 90.
(Meanwhile, in France, Sarkozy’s conservative UMP seems to be taking a relatively huge majority in the Assemblée Nationale, with a record low number of people showing up to the polls today. Participatory democracy is such a bother, isn’t it?)