The far-right Vlaams Belang (VB) party snatched the most voters out of the hands of Flemish nationalists at the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (NV-A) in the poorest municipalities of Flanders, an analysis of last month’s ballot shows.
While last month’s elections meant a dip of 7.1% in support for the right-wing N-VA in the region, a look at the vote by municipality reveals that the N-VA’s steepest losses happened in the poorest of Flemish municipalities — where the VB surged.
An analysis by Dutch-language daily De Standaard shows that in the 20% poorest municipalities in Flanders, the N-VA lost around 10% of the vote, compared to losses of only 3% in the richest towns.
The N-VA’s losses appear to be the VB’s wins, as support for the latter was the highest in poor households, where a surge in votes for the far-right of 6.4% stood in near-direct contrast to the N-VA’s losses of 6.6%.
May’s elections handed a huge victory to the VB in Flanders, as the far-right party became the second party in the Dutch-speaking region thanks to a surge in support, opening the possibility of it participating in the federal government.
As negotiations to form the federal government continue, some observers have expressed scepticism, or have even outright rejected, the prospect of governing alongside the far-right.