You are here
The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA - New Flemish Alliance) is a young political party whose ancestry is rooted in democratic Flemish nationalism. The N-VA evolved out of the Volksunie (VU - People’s Union) in 2001. The VU was founded in 1954 and made its electoral breakthrough in the 60s and 70s. As the N-VA’s predecessor, it succeeded in putting sufficient pressure on the traditional parties, with the result that Belgium’s unitary form of government was reorganized into a federal one.
The Volksunie split up into three groups in 2001. In a referendum on the split, the ‘Vlaams Nationaal’ (‘National Flemish’) group, under the leadership of Geert Bourgeois, currently the Minister-President of Flanders, received most support. This group gave birth to the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) on 13 October 2001. In its manifesto the party describes itself as a democratic Flemish-national party which strives for an independent Flanders as a Member State of the European Union.
The Flemish cartel
The N-VA participated in federal elections for the first time in 2003 but faced the newly introduced electoral threshold of 5 percent. Although the N-VA actually received more than 200,000 votes, only its then Chairman, Geert Bourgeois, was elected.
In 2004 the N-VA formed a cartel together with the Christian Democrats of the CD&V for the Flemish, Brussels and European elections. This so-called ‘Flemish cartel’ became the largest formation in Flanders and brought down the ‘purple-green’ (or ‘rainbow’) government. The N-VA acquired six seats in the Flemish Parliament and one in the European Parliament. Geert Bourgeois became a Minister in the Flemish Government in July 2004. Bart De Wever succeeded him as Party Chairman.
The municipal elections in October 2006 were the N-VA’s second success. The third success came with the federal elections of 10 June 2007. The CD&V/N-VA cartel won 29.6 percent of votes for the Chamber of Representatives and 31.4 percent for the Senate. The N-VA now had five Deputies and two Senators. However, the government of Yves Leterme (CD&V) did not succeed in putting the long overdue state reform on track. After fifteen months of negotiations, the two-party alliance was still confronted with a “non” from the French-speaking side. On 21 September 2008, the N-VA congress stopped giving its support to the federal government. The Flemish cartel ceased to exist.
The N-VA made a great breakthrough on its own at the next regional and European elections that were held on 7 June 2009. The N-VA surprisingly obtained 13.1 percent of votes and 16 seats in the Flemish Parliament, one seat in the Brussels Parliament and one in the European Parliament. Geert Bourgeois and Philippe Muyters became Flemish Ministers, and Jan Peumans became Speaker of the Flemish Parliament.
That breakthrough was convincingly confirmed by the results of the following federal election, which took place on 13 June 2010. Not only did the N-VA come out as the greatest winner of that election, it even became the largest party in the country, with 28 percent of the votes or 27 out of the 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives. With almost 800,000 preferential votes, Party Chairman Bart De Wever turned out to be the most popular politician in the country.
Strong footing at local level
In the local elections of 14 October 2012, the N-VA recorded the greatest election victory since the Second World War. As a result, today the party also has a strong footing in the municipalities and provinces. It not only jointly governs more than 120 Flemish municipalities but in almost half of them, the role of mayor is also occupied by one of its own. The N-VA is also by far the largest party at the provincial level.
The largest party across the board
On 25 May 2014, the regional, federal and European elections all coincided in what was called ‘the mother of all elections’. The various results confirmed the N-VA’s status as broad people’s party. The N-VA is now supported by around one in three Flemish voters at both the Flemish and the federal level. The party’s growth in the Flemish Parliament is nothing short of spectacular, increasing its share of seats to 43 (+27) out of a total of 124. In the Federal Parliament, its number of seats now amounts to 33 (+6) out of a total of 150. Furthermore, at the European level one in four Flemish voters supports the N-VA, which also gives the party prominence at this level of governance. Last but not least, the N-VA achieved an unprecedented feat in Belgium’s political history by winning elections seven times in a row.
Accepting responsibility for government
A Government of Flanders was formed soon after the May 2014 election. The Minister-President and three of the eight ministers came from the N-VA, as the largest party. The President of the Flemish Parliament was also a standard bearer of the N-VA.
The federal government, which came into office in October 2014, has three N-VA ministers and two N-VA state secretaries. This is in line with its position as the largest Flemish party in the government. What’s more, the N-VA is also providing the new President of the Chamber of Representatives.
You can find more information on the N-VA ministers in both governments here.