Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

The Murderous Lure of Jihad: Tackiling ISIS and its Worldwide Recruitment

Read more

FOCUS

Republicans block Obama's bid to hike minimum wage

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users divided over Darren Wilson

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users take on 'Ice Bucket Challenge' to fight ALS

Read more

ENCORE!

From Paris's Liberation to 'arresting' art in Avignon

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'The pen is mightier than the sword'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Requiem for a recorder'

Read more

  • Two US Ebola patients leave hospital ‘virus-free’

    Read more

  • Turkey’s Erdogan names foreign minister Davutoglu as next PM

    Read more

  • US reaches historic $16.7bn settlement with Bank of America

    Read more

  • Special report: Supplying Ukraine’s soldiers on the front line

    Read more

  • US forces tried to rescue slain reporter from IS captors

    Read more

  • Israeli air strike kills three top Hamas commanders

    Read more

  • France delivered arms to Syrian rebels, Hollande confirms

    Read more

  • Tensions high in Yemen as Shiite rebel deadline looms

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

  • French village rallies behind besieged elderly British couple

    Read more

  • Former Irish PM Albert Reynolds dies at 81

    Read more

  • Former Femen activist detained after fighting veiled woman

    Read more

  • Thailand coup leader Prayuth Chan-ocha voted prime minister

    Read more

  • Brazil’s Silva launches bid after Campos plane crash death

    Read more

  • Brutal IS beheading video sparks social media pushback

    Read more

  • US attorney general visits Missouri town after fatal shooting

    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

COMMENT(S)