Belgian far right shows strong early gains in national election

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Far-right Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang looked on course for major gains in an election on Sunday for the Belgian national parliament.

Reuters May 27, 2019 01:07:22 IST
Belgian far right shows strong early gains in national election

Belgian far right shows strong early gains in national election

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Far-right Flemish separatist party Vlaams Belang looked on course for major gains in an election on Sunday for the Belgian national parliament.

Belgium held a "Super Sunday" of European, national and regional elections, which was expected to result in a shift to the right in more prosperous Dutch-speaking Flanders and to the left in French-speaking Wallonia.

A handful of initial results showed the anti-immigrant Vlaams Belang gaining across Dutch-speaking Flanders at the expense of the more moderate separatist N-VA party, who had participated in the last federal government.

In the French-speaking south of the country, an exit poll conducted for broadcaster RTL, showed the Socialists (PS) of former prime minister Elio di Rupo were set to be the biggest party, followed by current Prime Minister Charles Michel's liberal MR party.

The initial results and exit polls suggest the linguistically divided country could take some time to form a federal coalition.

Michel, 43, has been running the country of 11 million people in a caretaker capacity since December and could face many more months in that role as party leaders seek to form a new coalition after the vote.

In 2010, that task took a world record 541 days until Di Rupo finally took office.

Belgium effectively runs two separate elections in the Dutch and French-speaking regions, with no national parties, after which it somehow has to weld together a federal government from both sides of the linguistic divide.

People in other European Union countries are also voting on Sunday in elections for the European Parliament, which are expected to dent traditional pro-EU parties and bolster the nationalist fringe.

But some exit polls in countries that have already voted have given pro-EU parties some comfort.

In the Netherlands, the Dutch Labour party looks to have finished first, with a weak showing for eurosceptics.

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop. Editing by Jane Merriman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.