Bart De Wever has been re-elected as president of the Flemish national party N-VA with 97% of the votes cast. He was standing unopposed.
The election saw 19,916 valid votes being cast, 4,633 more than the previous election, and an absolute record for the party. “This shows that our membership remains very committed,” commented party secretary Louis Ide.
De Wever is only the party’s second ever president. The N-VA arose from the ashes of the Volksunie in 2001, and its first president was Geert Bourgeois, later minister-president of Flanders.
De Wever took over from Bourgeois, now an MEP, in 2004, and has been in office since, while combining the post with a variety of seats in Flemish and national parliaments, a post as community senator and, since 2013, the mayoralty of Antwerp.
Receiving a resounding vote is not a new experience for him. For his first term as party president he stood unopposed and received the votes of 95% of those voting. For his second term in 2008 he took 98.89% of the votes cast. For his third term in 2011 his tally went up to 99.35%.
For that occasion, the party council agreed to set aside the party statute which limited presidents to two successive terms in office. In 2014 he won a fourth term and in 2017 a fifth – always unopposed, and always with a score of more than 90%.
For this sixth run, the matter of term limits was put to the vote of the membership, and the statute was amended to allow him to stand, by a vote in favour of 93%.
“I will not deny that I am pleased that our supporters continue to support me after all these years,” he said after the count. “The massive turnout is also good. It shows that our members still feel involved.”