Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Romania strengthens military cooperation with the US

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users celebrate release of French hostages

Read more

HIGH PROFILE

Justine Dupont, surfer

Read more

REVISITED

In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

Read more

REPORTERS

Indian election: Votes for sale

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Freed French Hostages: Celebration and speculation on how it all happened

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Todd Shepard, Author of 'The Algerian War and the Remaking of France'

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

Guillaume Poitrinal, Chief executive of Woodeum

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria

Read more

  • Russia accuses Kiev of 'grossly' violating Geneva deal

    Read more

  • ‘I suffered mock executions,’ says freed French journalist

    Read more

  • S.Korea president says captain’s action akin to ‘murder’

    Read more

  • Boston readies for first marathon since bombings

    Read more

  • France marks 70 years of women’s voting rights

    Read more

  • Abdullah widens lead in Afghan presidential vote

    Read more

  • Leftist Sabahi to challenge Sisi for Egypt presidency

    Read more

  • Syria to hold presidential election on June 3

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Video: Ukraine crisis overshadows Easter celebrations

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

Europe

Flemish separatist wins Antwerp's mayoral vote

©

Video by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-10-15

Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever hailed a "historic" victory in Antwerp's mayoral vote on Sunday after he and his New Flemish Alliance brought an end to 90 years of Socialist dominance in the northern port city.

The leader of a separatist party won the race to become mayor of Antwerp, Europe’s second biggest port city, and vowed Sunday to use the power base to seek wider autonomy for Belgium’s wealthy Dutch-speaking region of Flanders.

Bart De Wever’s NV-A party made sweeping gains throughout Flanders and immediately called on French-speaking Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo to give more rights of self-rule to Flanders.

De Wever says ‘’we want to give Flemings the government they want at all levels. That is why I call on Elio Di Rupo and the Francophone politicians. Take up your responsibility.”

He says he will work for even bigger gains for separatists at the 2014 national elections.

De Wever has been at odds with Belgium’s economically ailing French-speaking Wallonia for years, saying he is fighting over the fate of the 6 million Flemings in the kingdom of 11 million.

With 80 percent of the votes counted, De Wever was leading Antwerp’s incumbent Socialist mayor Patrick Janssens 36.4 percent to 29.5 percent.

De Wever has made it no secret he is looking for national impact during the municipal elections. He has criticized French-speaking Socialist Di Rupo over tax policies he says tap too much money from Flanders.

‘’Your taxation government without a majority in Flanders is not backed by Flemings. Let us work together on a reform that gives Flemings and francophones the government that they deserve,” De Wever said in his victory speech.

In municipal elections six years ago, the NV-A was a nascent party with few votes across northern Flanders, but by 2010 national elections it had become the biggest party in the region. Sunday’s elections confirmed it.

‘’We not only do as well as our monster score of 2010,” De Wever said.

‘’We do even better, and no one could have expected this. It is incredible. It is a black-yellow Sunday,” he said, referring to the colors of the Flemish flag.

Because of the fragmented nature of municipal elections, precise voter percentages were still hard to come by late Sunday, but the sweeping victory of NV-A was beyond doubt.

After the 2010 elections, De Wever was the main reason that Belgium had the longest period without a government on record -- at 541 days -- because he sought extensive concessions for Flemish autonomy.

He failed and ended up in opposition against Di Rupo, a staunch defender of the Belgian nation-state.

While De Wever’s NV-A surged on Sunday, the extremist anti-foreigner Flemish Interest party crashed. ‘’We saw our voters flee to the NV-A,” Flemish Interest lawmaker Gerolf Annemans said.

‘’Our city was the European base of the radical right wing for two decades. This era ends today,” a triumphant De Wever said.

Moves toward separatism in the European Union have been getting a bigger stage during the continent’s economic crisis. Spain’s Catalonia is grousing that it has to pay for others in its crisis-hit country, and Scotland is seeking a referendum on breaking away from the United Kingdom.
 

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-14

  • BELGIUM

    Political crisis nears an end as new PM, cabinet named

    Read more

  • Belgium

    Belgians stage mass protest against austerity measures

    Read more

  • BELGIUM

    Feuding Belgian parties agree to reform deal

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)