European union


The Belgian parliament the lower house (La Chambre des representants)
Chaiperson: Herman De Croo
Members: 150

Parliamentary groupReformist Movement
Information for the partyThe Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur) (MR) is a Belgian French-speaking liberal party, favoring a united Belgium. Part of governing coalition in Federal State, in Walloon Region (until the mid-2004 elections) and in Brussels-Capital Region. The MR is member of Liberal International and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
The ideology of the MR is a mix of free-market liberalism, recently becoming more and more left-leaning liberalism, while at the same time condoning massive state interventionism (French-speaking Belgium has around 70% more civil servants per 1000 inhabitants then EU-average), opposing any fiscal, financial autonomy for the regional and community governments in Belgium.

Parliamentary groupSocialist party
Information for the partyThe Parti Socialiste or PS of Belgium is a French-speaking social democratic political party. It is the dominant party in Wallonia, supported by the urban working class, and is led by Elio Di Rupo. In Brussels, it is the second party. This party is nearly always part of the governing coalition, and dominates most local authorities because of the extremely fragmented nature of political institutions, especially from the French-speaking side. The ideology and image of the PS is a mix of old-style state interventionism (the francophone regions of Belgium have around 70% more civil servants per 1000 inhabitants than the EU average), combined with a modern electoral marketing (since Elio Di Rupo became the party's strongman) and a strong Belgian nationalism. The party opposes any fiscal autonomy for the regional and community governments in Belgium, and combines this cleverly with regional Walloon nationalistic sentiment, as well as the Brussels-centered nationalism of French speakers in and around Brussels.

Parliamentary groupFlemish Liberals and Democrats
Information for the partyThe Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten or VLD (Flemish Liberals and Democrats) is a Flemish liberal party, created in 1992 from the former PVV and a few other politicians from other parties. The party is in government since 1999. The federal government since June 2003 is with the cartel SP.a-Spirit, PS and liberal MR. In the Flemish parliament the VLD formed a cabinet with SP.a-Spirit and the environmentalists of Groen!.
Ideologically, the VLD started as a somewhat Thatcherite right-wing party under its founder, Guy Verhofstadt. The VLD rapidly became a more mainstream party, after being reformed. From 2000 to 2004, under the second period of participation in the Belgian federal government and under Belgian prime-minister Guy Verhofstadt, the VLD lost most of its ideologic appeal.
In 2004 the VLD teamed up with the politically marginal social liberal Vivant party for the Flemish and European elections. VLD-Vivant lost the elections to arch rivals CD&V and Vlaams Blok. The VLD fell from second to third place among Flemish political parties, narrowly leaving behind the SP.a-Spirit cartel. Internal feuds, the support for electoral rights for immigrants and a unsuccessful economic policy were seen as the main reasons for its election defeat.
On the 19th of June 2004 the VLD successfully negotiated a regional coalition government with CD&V/N-VA, the Christian democrats and moderate nationalists, and with the social democratic SP.a-Spirit. In a federal cabinet reshuffle in July of 2004, VLD chairman Karel De Gucht replaced Louis Michel MR as minister for Foreign Affairs. Former Flemish prime minister Bart Somers is the new party chairman.
The party is fairly pro-European, and is member of the fraction of European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), with three seats in the European Parliament. The party is a member of the Liberal International, which is co-chaired by Annemie Neyts, member of the VLD.

Parliamentary groupCoalition Socialist Party Different/ Spirit
Information for the partySocialist Party - Different or Social Progressive Alternative (Dutch: Socialistische Partij - Anders or Sociaal Progressief Alternatief (sp.a) is the Flemish socialist party in Belgium. It was formerly known as Belgische Socialistische Partij (BSP).
The party is led by former pub owner Steve Stevaert. They were the big winners in the 2003 election, running on a joint list (cartel) with the social liberal Spirit party. Their share of the vote went up from 9% (of the total Belgian vote) to almost 15%, a second place in the number of votes. The SP.A is part of the current federal coalition of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt containing four liberal and socialist parties from the north and the south of the country.
In 2004 SP.A along with its partner Spirit lost the elections for the Flemish parliament. Although they won more seats in comparison to the Flemish elections of 2000, their percentage of the vote compared to the succesfull 2003 federal elections was considerably down.
Spirit is a Belgian Flemish political party formed after the falling apart of the old moderate nationalistic Volksunie party, and currently forms an alliance (cartel) with the SP.a. The Volksunie separated into two parties, the social liberal Spirit and the centre-right N-VA which forms a cartel with the Christian democratic party CD&V. The formation of a cartel is seen as a way in which Spirit and N-VA can guarantee their influence and position in Flemish and Belgian politics.

Parliamentary groupChristian Democratic and Flemish
Information for the partyChristen-Democratisch en Vlaams (CD&V) (Christian Democratic and Flemish) is a political party in Belgium, formerly called Christelijke Volkspartij (CVP) (Christian People's Party). It is a centre-right Flemish Christian Democratic party. It was in power until 1999. As of 2003 it has been led by Yves Leterme, and before that was led by Stefaan De Clerck. Despite its optimistic predictions, it came third in the 2003 elections. Much of its predominantly rural support was taken by the nationalistic Vlaams Blok, which in 2004 was sentenced by a judge to be racist.
On june 13 2004 Flemish elections were held alongside European elections. CD&V led by Yves Leterme won these elections, partly by forming a cartel with the moderate nationalist N-VA party, and retook its historic position as largest party in Flanders. On the 20th of july 2004 Yves Leterme presented the new Flemish government and was sworn into office as the new Minister-President of Flanders. He negotiated a coalition of VLD, SP.A-Spirit and CD&V/N-VA.

Parliamentary groupFlemish Interest
Information for the partyFlemish Interest (Dutch: Vlaams Belang) is the new name of the Flemish Block (Dutch: Vlaams Blok), a far-right Belgian political party, which was condemned by a court for permanent incitation to discrimination and racism in November 2004.
The Flemish Block (Dutch: Vlaams Blok) was a Flemish far-right nationalist political party which rejects the state of Belgium, calling for political independence for the Flemish half of the country. On November 14 2004, the party was dissolved and a new party was created under the name Flemish Interest (Dutch: Vlaams Belang).
The party had been characterised by the international media as being neo-nazi, racist and openly antisemitic and an appeal court in Ghent, Belgium, ruled the party as racist on April 2004. Its voting track record in the Flemish and Belgian parliaments was strong and consistent on the immigration and law-and-order theme, but mixed for Flemish autonomy.

Parliamentary groupHumanist Democratic Centre
Information for the partyThe Humanist Democratic Centre (French: Centre Démocrate Humaniste or CDH) is a centrist, christian-democrat, Belgian French-speaking political party.. It is allied to the CD&V and used to be called the Christian Social Party (French: Parti social chrétien or PSC). Its ideology is a mix of christian-inspired humanism, combined with a centrist policy towards the economy, supporting state interventionism and calling for the unity of Belgium.

Parliamentary groupEcolo
Information for the partyEcolo (standing for "Ecologistes Confédérés pour l'organisation de luttes originales") is a French-speaking Belgian green political party (Wallonia and Brussels). It was part of the outgoing coalition, but resigned before the election and was decimated by a resurgent Parti Socialiste.

Parliamentary groupNational Front
Information for the partyThe National Front is a small extreme right Belgian political party. In the 2003 general election, it won one seat in the Chamber of Representatives, on 2 per cent of the vote. It also has two seats in the Senate.

Parliamentary groupNew-Flemish Alliance
Information for the partyThe Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie ("New-Flemish Alliance") is a Belgian political party, founded in the autumn of 2001. It is a separatist movement that strives for secession of Flanders from Belgium.
In 2001, the Volksunie ("Peoples Union")(1954-2001) split into two parties: Spirit and Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie., The N-VA works towards the same goal as her predecessor : to shape a humane Flemish-nationalism in a contemporary way.
At the federal elections in 2003 N-VA got 5% of the votes, but only one seat in the federal parliament. In February 2004 they formed an alliance (cartel) with the Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams ("Christian Democratic and Flemish"). The cartel won the elections for the Flemish parliament. The N-VA won a total of 6 seats.

The Senate of Belgium
faction: 150
Chaiperson: Anne-Marie Lizin

factionFlemish Liberals and Democrats
factionSocialist party
factionReformist Movement
factionCoalition Socialist Party Different/ Spirit
factionChristian Democratic and Flemish
factionFlemish Interest
factionHumanist Democratic Centre
factionNational Front
factionNew-Flemish Alliance