Flemish parties gearing up for historic 2024 elections

With the elections of June 2024 on the horizon, Flanders' politicians are getting into election mode. N-VA, Open VLD and Groen will lay out their strategies for next year during congresses this weekend, while CD&V is organising a family day. With disappointing poll results for the traditional parties, there is a lot at stake.

According to a new poll by De Standaard and VRT, parties at both ends of the political spectrum, the far-left PVDA and the far-right Vlaams Belang, are gaining ground. Vlaams Belang is once again the biggest Flemish party with 24.6 per cent, while PVDA is now the fourth biggest party with 9.5 per cent.

Traditional parties lose ground

The traditional parties are continuing to lose ground. The Christian Democrats of CD&V and the liberals of Open VLD, both governing in Flanders and Belgium, are now less popular than the extremist parties. N-VA, the main party on the right, kept their losses to a minimum at 1.4 per cent. The socialist party Vooruit is the only winner, with 16.9 per cent.

The survey also shows that Flemish voters are losing faith in politics in general. 60 per cent of those surveyed would prefer a technocratic government, while 30 per cent wants a strong leader in charge. Another 31 per cent say they feel they are not represented by any politician in Flanders. Politicians' trustworthiness polled at an average of 3 out of 10, and 57 per cent believe corruption in politics has increased in the past three years.

This will be the main topic of discussion during the party congresses that are taking place this weekend. N-VA, Open VLD and Groen will discuss how they can recapture the faith of the Flemish voters and avoid the rise of the extremist parties in the next year, while CD&V is organising its yearly family day to charm its supporters.

Confederalism at stake?

N-VA leader Bart De Wever has called the elections historic, with the future of the country at stake. Belgium is currently a federal state, an independent entity consisting of several regions. His party wants Flanders and Wallonia to decide together which powers they still want to exercise together, with everything else being decided by the regions. 2024 will be the last chance for this to happen, De Wever said.

But getting other parties on board will be challenging. Even though the Flemish nationalists governed Belgium from 2014 until 2018, they have never managed to follow through with their confederalist dream. Currently, only CD&V is supportive of the idea. Even Vlaams Belang, which wants to see an independent Flanders, only believes in a complete Flemish secession.

The Flemish parties have their work cut out for them. The 2024 elections will indeed be historic, but perhaps not for the reason De Wever suggests. Its results will show if there is a place for traditional parties in Belgium at all.


#FlandersNewsService | Bart De Wever delivering a speech at N-VA's new year reception in January 2023 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

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