Belgian federal and regional elections expected to underline continued internal disparities

Belgian federal and regional elections expected to underline continued internal disparities

Belgium will hold federal and regional elections today. Divided into three regions, Belgium’s Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels each have their

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Photo: Reuters

Belgium will hold federal and regional elections today.

Divided into three regions, Belgium’s Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels each have their own parliaments, which combine to form the federal government. Flanders governs 60% of the population and contains Europe’s third largest port, making its vote the most persuasive.

The Socialist Party is tipped to win in Wallonia, while the New Flemish Alliance will likely dominate Flanders. As the New Flemish Alliance strongly advocates for status as a separate state, this forecast is unlikely to be welcomed by Wallonia, where unemployment is three times higher than in Flanders.

Transcending regions, climate change has also become a key issue. The environmentalist Ecolo party is expected to garner 19.1% of the vote in Wallonia, 22.9% in Brussels and 10% in the Flanders.

Whilst Belgium will almost certainly not separate anytime soon, expect the New Flemish Alliance to leverage its election to lobby for greater control over the nation’s agriculture and foreign trade. Also, following the trend across Europe, environmentalism is also likely to play a greater role in Belgian policy.

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