Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | June 27, 2009

Mission Accomplished

Hi dear readers,

The ambition of this blog was to present the political parties and their lead candidates running for the European elections 2009 in Belgium. Mission accomplished.

I’m now busy working on another project and so won’t be blogging on Belgian political parties for the forseeable future…until the next elections, probably.

Thank you for checking into this blog. It’s been fascinating to do, and I learnt a lot. I hope you did too.

NoelleAnne O’Sullivan

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | June 8, 2009

European election results for Belgian parties

View European results for Belgium and new seat allocations here

PS, SP.A., Vlaams Belang, MR have all lost one seat.

Ecolo has gained one.

LDD gets in for the first time with one seat.

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | June 8, 2009

Will your elected MEP actually sit ?

People always complain that voters confuse local / regional / national issues with European issues. Hence, the disastrous result for the PES Party of European Socialists, as Martin Schulz (President) testified last night in a press conference. The loss of 40 – 50 EP seats for the Socialist polical group was, he said, due to citizens in some countries voting on domestic, rather than European issues.

In Belgium, what is frustrating is the ease with which politicians stand as No. 1 and No. 2 on the European lists, as well as No1 or No 2 on the list for the Regional elections.

Hedging their bets in such a way makes it:

a) disappointing for the voter, who in choosing a particular candidate and personality they might have a bit of confidence and trust in, is disillusioned when A.N. Other, unknown and possibly less qualified person, takes up their seat in the Parliament on their behalf

b) difficult to separate out the national issues from the European issues, the latter on which we are advised to be making our choices. The campaigns have resolutely been dominated by regional issues on media and the designated billboards. If you can’t make out the Europeans from the regionals (“the wood from the trees”, as it were), should the European elections be held separately from other elections ?

c) akin to saying ‘yes’ to a job offer, and then proposing a substitute replacement (like, your mate, your cousin, or your offspring) when you struck a better deal elsewhere. Would this be acceptable  in a real career situation?

Here are some examples. Taking bets now on whether they will take up their seat in the EP, or stick with regional / national politics in Belgium….

Louis Michel (MR). Was Belgian Commissioner. No. 1 on MR European list.

Guy Verhofstadt (Open VLD). Not active on the Belgian scene for the past year, though wrote a book or two. No. 1 on Open VLD European list and  No. 16 substitute for Vlaams Parlement representing East Flanders. Likely that the EP would be too small for his ambitions.

Jean-Marie Dedecker (LDD). No. 1 on Lijst Dedecker European list. also No. 1 for Vlaams Parlement list, representing West Flanders constituency. Guaranteed to send his sub Derk Jan Eppink in his place (interviewed on this blog).

Isabelle Durant (Ecolo). No. 1 Ecolo European list. Also No. 16 substitute for Bruxelles-Capitale regional parliament. Co-president of Ecolo party along with Jean-Michel Javaux. With the success of Ecolo in the Regional elections, and a gain of 1 more seat at the EP, how likely is it that Ms. Durant will accept MEP status?

Jean Claude Marcourt (PS). Presently Minister of Finance and Employment for region of Wallonia. No. 1 on the PS European list. Not on any regional list, though it’s pretty much guaranteed he won’t give up his day job.

Anne Delvaux (CDH). No. 1 on CDH European list and simultaneously No. 2 on Wallon Parliament list for the constituency of Nivelles. Presently a Senator at Belgian’s federal parliament. Will she / won’t she go to the EP ?

Kathleen Van Brempt (SP.A.). No. 1 on SP.A. European list, and also No. 33 for Vlaams Parlement list representing Antwerp constituency.

Frank Vanhecke (Vlaams Belang). No. 1 on VB European list, as well as No. 1 for Vlaams Parlement representing West Flanders. 

Did you give your vote of confidence to any of these persons ?

If so, you might be disappointed that they won’t be your MEP…after all, it’s not easy – even for political leaders –  to be physically in two places at once.

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | June 7, 2009

Note on the Regional Results

While waiting for the European election results to come in (starting at 10pm tonight), here’s a little note on the major winners and losers of the Regional elections for the Flemish, Wallonia, and Bruxelles Capitale Parliaments as results come in. Still counting..

In Flanders, CD&V is the top party. All the main parties are down on the last regional elections of 2004 (CD&V, SP.A, Vlaams Belang and Open VLD), and the big winner is N-VA who has hugely increased their share of the vote since 2004. The far-right party Vlaams Belang has lost votes, and LDD – the alternative right wing party – didn’t do as well as it had hoped.

So, of all the Flemish nationalist parties, N-VA has secured the major slice of that electorate who favour an independent Flanders. Their success today is more surprising because they’re now acting as a solo party, having been in cartel with CD&V in the last regional elections. Open VLD –  the party of Guy Verhofstadt – is also down considerably.

In Wallonia, MR must be disappointed. They had hoped to wrestle control from the incumbent PS, and overtake PS as the lead party in Wallonia. It was not to be. In fact, PS has admitted that ‘the huge tsunami’ that is was expecting did not materialise on the day. So, while PS has lost a little ground, the big winner in Wallonia is the Green party Ecolo, who look like becoming the 4th biggest party in Wallonia.

In Brussels, Ecolo again has seen a huge surge in popularity. Official figures aren’t in yet at the time of blogging, but PS and MR were neck and neck, and MR Didier Reynders is claiming victory for the Liberals over the Socialists in Bruxelles. We shall see – they’ve got quite a lot of constituencies still to count…

In summary, the big gains of the Regional elections were made by the N-VA in Flanders, and Ecolo in Wallonia and Brussels.  PS remain the top party in Wallonia, and CD&V in Flanders. MR is claiming victory over the PS in Brussels.

Big disappointments for the Open VLD (Bart Somers, the party chairman has just resigned) and Vlaams Belang in Flanders; and in Wallonia, MR didn’t see the victory over the Socialists PS that  it had envisaged.

More official results later…

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | May 28, 2009

Sunday 7 June

7 June 7 June 7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June7 June

Read More…

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | May 28, 2009

Who should you vote for ?

They say ‘Be careful what you wish for’. I’d say ‘Be careful who you vote for’. Moving beyond conceptual ideals, here is my round-up of what the various parties propose in terms of concrete ambitions. So, where do you want Belgium and the EU to be in 5 years time? Read the policy comparisons here

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | May 28, 2009

How do you vote ?

Party List Numbers Names Bruxelles Hal Vilvoorde Constitutency

 How do you vote ?  All voting in Brussels’ 19 communes is electronic. In Wallonia and Flanders, some communes use electronic voting, others paper.  Here, I’m going to describe the process for electronic voting. Read the full step by step instructions here

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | May 25, 2009

Medecins Sans Frontieres doctor is model of CDH’s humanist principles

CDH Centre Democrate Humaniste party Senator Anne Delvaux, former RTBF presenter (Belgium’s Francophone public service TV) heads the European list for CDH, the Centre Democrate Humaniste party. Although Delvaux has indicated she will sit in the European Parliament if elected, she will be replaced by her substitute if at any time during the 5 year term, she has ‘other choices’.

Regarded as a ‘centrist’ party, CDH is the 4th most popular party in Bruxelles and in Wallonia, garnering between 14 – 15 per cent of the vote. It currently has one MEP, and sits with the EPP-ED political family in the European Parliament.

Delvaux’s substitute is deputy Director-General of Medecins Sans Frontieres, a medical doctor specialising in Tropical Medicine. CDH Georges Dallemagne

Georges Dallemagne was born in Congo and has spent much of his life working for humanitarian aid and public health programmes for the European Commission (in Rwanda, Balkans, Angola) and intervening in crisis situations in far-flung areas of the world hit by war,  earthquakes and emergency refugee situations. As director of Handicap International, he lobbied to get the EU to agree to ban anti-personnel mines,  leading to the signing of a global agreement, the Ottawa or Mine-Ban Treaty in 1997.

In politics for the past 10 years, Dallemagne has been a Senator and deputy mayor of Brussels City. Now a member of the Chamber / House of Representatives, he is vice-chair of the Foreign Affairs committee. He lives in Woluwe-St-Pierre and has 4 daughters.

Read the CDH manifesto for the European elections (FR)

Read the full interview

N-VA Frieda Brepoels Architect Frieda Brepoels, No 1 on the N-VA list for the European elections, positions the party as “the only Flemish European party in Flanders”. They do not see a future for ‘Belgium’, and look enviously at small states in Europe with smaller populations than Flanders (Denmark, Ireland, Slovenia, Luxembourg) yet who have their own seat at the Council of Ministers. N-VA party logo

Brepoels comes from Limburg in East Flanders, and has been an MEP since 2004. N-VA was polling in May in 7th position in Flanders, with 7.3%, trailing CD&V (with whom they used to be in cartel), Open VLD, Vlaams Belang, SP.A., LDD and Groen!.

Read the full interview

Posted by: noelleanneosullivan | May 25, 2009

Flanders’ most powerful politician, CD&V No. 1 Jean Luc Dehaene

CD&V Jean Luc Dehaene

Jean-Luc Dehaene, currently MEP and No. 1 on the European list for Flemish Christian Democrat party CD&V, is a former Belgian Prime Minister (1992-1999), and as Vice-President of the Convention on the Future of Europe, one of the key shapers of the Lisbon Treaty and its predecessor, the European Constitution.  

A member of the European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee, Dehaene has been an MEP since 2004. He has been Mayor for 6 years in Vilvoorde, a town north of Brussels, where he lives. In a recent Flemish poll, he was esteemed to be the most “powerful” politician in Flanders.  CD&V Flemish Christian Democrat party logo

The Flemish Christian Democrat party CD&V is the largest party in Flanders, polling at about 22% (TNS poll of 17 May). CD&V currently has 3 MEP seats in the Parliament with the EPP-ED political family. The present Belgian Prime Minister Herman Van Rompuy is also from the CD&V party.  

Read the full interview

Older Posts »