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2019 Belgian federal election

Federal elections were held in Belgium on 26 May 2019, alongside the country's European and regional elections. All 150 members of the Chamber of Representatives were elected from eleven multi-member constituencies.

2019 Belgian federal election
Belgium
← 2014 26 May 2019 (2019-05-26) Next →

All 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives
76 seats needed for a majority
Party Leader % Seats ±
N-VA Bart De Wever 16.03% 25 -8
VB Tom Van Grieken 11.95% 18 +15
PS Elio Di Rupo 9.46% 20 -3
CD&V Wouter Beke 8.89% 12 -6
PVDA-PTB Peter Mertens 8.62% 12 +10
Open Vld Gwendolyn Rutten 8.54% 12 -2
MR Charles Michel 7.56% 14 -6
sp.a John Crombez 6.71% 9 -4
ECOLO Jean-Marc Nollet
& Zakia Khattabi
6.14% 13 +7
Groen Meyrem Almaci 6.10% 8 +2
cdH Maxime Prévot 3.70% 5 -4
DéFI Olivier Maingain 2.22% 2 0
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.
2019 Belgian federal election - Results.svg
Results of the election in all 11 constituencies.
Federal Government before
Charles Michel (2018-01-31) (cropped).jpg Michel Government

The elections saw a resurgence of far-right Vlaams Belang in Flanders, as well as gains for the far-left Workers' Party of Belgium (PVDA-PTB) and the green Ecolo party in Wallonia, with traditional parties losing seats in both regions.

BackgroundEdit

Following the 2014 elections, a centre-right government consisting of N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld and MR was formed, led by Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR). The government coalition is unique in several aspects: the N-VA participates for the first time, the MR is the only French-speaking party, and the French-speaking Socialist Party is not part of the government for the first time in 25 years.

Local elections were held on 14 October 2018. As such, the 2019 simultaneous regional, federal and European elections were held only several months after the local elections.

In early December 2018, a political crisis emerged regarding the Global Compact for Migration, which was supposed to be signed but sparked instead opposition from government party N-VA. As the three other government parties as well as a large majority in parliament supported the compact, N-VA left the government and the three other parties continued briefly as a minority cabinet (Michel II) with an unclear status. Prime Minister Michel ultimately offered his resignation to the King on 18 December 2018, who accepted it three days later. As regular elections were scheduled for May 2019 anyway, snap elections were only favoured by N-VA and Vlaams Belang and did not happen, and the minority cabinet continued as a caretaker government until the elections.[1]

Electoral systemEdit

The 150 members of the Chamber of Representatives were elected in 11 multi-member constituencies, being the ten provinces and Brussels, with between 4 and 24 seats. Seats are allocated using the D'Hondt method, with an electoral threshold of 5% per constituency.[2]

Representatives elected from the five Flemish provinces, Antwerp (24), East Flanders (20), Flemish Brabant (15), Limburg (12) and West Flanders (16), automatically belonged to the Dutch-speaking language group in parliament, whereas those elected from the five Walloon provinces, Hainaut (18), Liège (15), Luxembourg (4), Namur (6) and Walloon Brabant (5), formed the French-speaking language group. The 15 members elected in Brussels could choose to join either group, though de facto only French-speaking parties reach the threshold. Apportionment of seats is done every ten years in accordance with population data, last by royal order of 31 January 2013.[3]

The 60-member Senate is composed of 50 representatives from the regional and community parliaments, plus 10 co-opted senators proportionally divided among parties based on the result of the federal election.

All Belgian citizens aged 18 or over were obligated to participate in the election. Non-Belgian citizens residing in Belgium (regardless of EU citizenship) couldn't vote, whereas Belgian citizens living abroad could register to vote.

DateEdit

The 2011–14 state reform changed several aspects regarding federal elections. Starting with the May 2014 election, which coincided with European Parliament and regional elections, the federal parliament is elected for a five-year term rather than a four-year term.

The federal elections would from then on always coincide with the European Parliament elections;[4] snap federal elections would trigger a parliamentary term lasting until the next European Parliament elections.[5] However, as of 2017, a law needed for this to take effect has not been enacted. Given the five-year term for all three elections, they all coincided in 2019 regardless, as no snap federal elections were called.

Additionally, de facto practice is to formally dissolve parliament and trigger new elections by Declaration of Revision of the Constitution shortly before regular expiry of the parliamentary term.

Parties and leadersEdit

CampaignEdit

Despite leaving the government coalition in late 2018, it was the explicit ambition of N-VA to continue governing after the May 2019 election. In January 2019, the party put forward ex-minister Jan Jambon as candidate for Prime Minister should the party enter a coalition.[6] A continuation of the "Swedish coalition" (N-VA, MR, CD&V and Open Vld), potentially expanded with cdH, was a likely scenario. Outgoing Prime Minister Charles Michel (MR) is candidate to continue in his position.[7]

Meanwhile, the French-speaking Socialist Party (PS) had the ambition to re-enter government as well, or "re-conquer" as formulated by leader Elio Di Rupo, after being in the opposition at federal level and being ousted from the Walloon government.[8]

Additionally, there was speculation that the Flemish liberal and green parties (Open Vld and Groen) would favour cooperating, given Groen's recent rise and their local governing coalitions in cities like Mechelen, Gent and Oostende. However, their French-speaking counterparts, MR and Ecolo, are politically and ideologically further apart.[9][10]


Retiring incumbentsEdit

The following incumbent members of the Chamber of Representatives announced their retirement from (national) politics:

Opinion pollsEdit

ResultsEdit

e • d Summary of the results of the 26 May 2019 Belgian election to the Chamber of Representatives
← 2014 2019
 
2024 →
Party Leader(s) Votes % +/– Seats +/–
New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) Bart De Wever 1,086,787 16.03 4.23  
25 / 150
8  
Flemish Interest (VB) Tom Van Grieken 810,177 11.95 8.28  
18 / 150
15  
Socialist Party (PS) Elio Di Rupo 641,623 9.46 2.21  
20 / 150
3  
Christian Democratic & Flemish (CD&V) Wouter Beke 602,520 8.89 2.72  
12 / 150
6  
Workers' Party of Belgium (PVDA-PTB) Peter Mertens 584,621 8.62 4.90  
12 / 150
10  
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD) Gwendolyn Rutten 579,334 8.54 1.24  
12 / 150
2  
Reformist Movement (MR) Charles Michel 512,825 7.56 2.08  
14 / 150
6  
Socialist Party Differently (sp.a) John Crombez 455,034 6.71 2.12  
9 / 150
4  
Ecolo Jean-Marc Nollet
Zakia Khattabi
416,452 6.14 2.84  
13 / 150
7  
Green (Groen) Meyrem Almaci 413,836 6.10 0.78  
8 / 150
2  
Humanist Democratic Centre (cdH) Maxime Prévot 250,861 3.70 1.28  
5 / 150
4  
Democratic, Federalist, Independent (DéFI) Olivier Maingain 150,394 2.22 0.42  
2 / 150
0  
People's Party (PP) Mischaël Modrikamen 75,096 1.11 0.41  
0 / 150
1  
DierAnimal Constance Villalon 47,733 0.70 New
0 / 150
0  
Listes Destexhe Alain Destexhe 42,712 0.63 New
0 / 150
0  
Collectif Citoyen 21,092 0.31 New
0 / 150
0  
La Droite 15,075 0.22 0.16  
0 / 150
0  
Nation Hervé Van Laethem 10,583 0.16 0.00  
0 / 150
0  
Les Belges d'Abord 10,463 0.15 New
0 / 150
0  
Agir 7,598 0.11 New
0 / 150
0  
Pirate Party 7,521 0.11 0.23  
0 / 150
0  
Belgian Union (BUB) Hans Van De Cauter 6,611 0.10 0.08  
0 / 150
0  
D-SA 5,949 0.09 New
0 / 150
0  
Lutte Ouvrière 5,735 0.08 0.03  
0 / 150
0  
PRO 5,682 0.08 New
0 / 150
0  
Wallonie Insoumise 5,354 0.08 New
0 / 150
0  
PV&S 3,217 0.05 New
0 / 150
0  
De Coöperatie 1,732 0.03 New
0 / 150
0  
Volt Europa (Volt) 1,669 0.02 New
0 / 150
0  
Communist Party of Belgium (PCB) Arne Baillière 1,626 0.02 New
0 / 150
0  
Turquoise 626 0.01 New
0 / 150
0  
Valid votes 6,780,538 93.93
Blank and invalid votes 438,095 6.07
Totals 7,218,633 100.00 150 0  
Electorate (eligible voters) and voter turnout 8,167,709 88.38
Source: Federal Public Services Home Affairs

AftermathEdit

In response to the results of Vlaams Belang surging support there has been some speculation that the N-VA leader Bart De Wever may break the Cordon sanitaire imposed on the party by refusing to rule out talks with the VB as their strong results could make forming a coalition more difficult.[20][21]

The election once again exposed deep linguistic and regional divisions in Belgium, with Flanders strongly voting right and Wallonia strongly voting left.[22][23]

The People's Party, a small right-wing French-speaking party, dissolved on 18 June through an internal party vote in response to losing their only seat in the elections. Former party leader Mischaël Modrikamen blamed the "systematic exclusion of the People's Party from the political and media debate."[24]

In the days following the election, King Philippe held consultations with all main party leaders, including Vlaams Belang party leader Tom Van Grieken. According to British newspaper The Guardian, 1936 was the last time a far-right leader had an official meeting with the king.[25]

On 30 May, King Philippe appointed Johan Vande Lanotte (sp.a) and Didier Reynders (MR), two experienced politicians with a long period of service, as informateurs. They reported on their progress by 6 June as expected,[26] after which they were given some more time, with a new deadline of 17 June.[27] After this deadline passed, another extension was granted until 1 July,[28] and again until 29 July[29] and one more extension until 9 September[30].

On 24 August the Belgian government decided to appoint Didier Reynders as European Commissioner[31]. On 4 October 2019, King Philippe announced the end of the first phase of federal government formation talks, with the informateurs advising that a government of the N-VA, the Socialist Party and the Greens was the best option to pursue. The informateurs will report back to the king of the 4 November, following which a formateur will be appointed to introduce the third stage of government formation.[32]

On 4 November, the two new informateurs, Rudy Demotte and Geert Bourgeois, offered their resignations to the King, as they could not break the political deadlock.[33]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Belgian PM to stay on heading caretaker government". Reuters. 21 December 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  2. ^ Electoral system IPU
  3. ^ "Moniteur Belge - Belgisch Staatsblad". www.ejustice.just.fgov.be. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  4. ^ Article 65 of the Belgian Constitution
  5. ^ Article 46 of the Belgian Constitution
  6. ^ "De Wever is kandidaat om Vlaams minister-president te worden, Jambon kandidaat-premier, Bourgeois gaat Europees". VRTNWS. 14 January 2019.
  7. ^ ""Charles Michel est le candidat Premier ministre du MR"". 7sur7. 17 April 2019.
  8. ^ "Di Rupo (PS): "Het is tijd voor de herovering. We zijn het enige geloofwaardige linkse alternatief"". Het Laatste Nieuws. 11 January 2019.
  9. ^ "'Blauw en groen kunnen elkaar vinden in 2019'". De Standaard. 8 December 2018.
  10. ^ "De blauw-groene motor loopt in Vlaanderen misschien warm, maar in Franstalig België helemaal niet". VRTNWS. 11 January 2019.
  11. ^ "Hans Bonte stopt met nationale politiek". De Morgen. 23 April 2018.
  12. ^ "Peter Dedecker (N-VA) stopt in 2019 met actieve politiek". De Standaard. 11 December 2017.
  13. ^ "Alain Mathot annonce renoncer à se présenter aux prochains scrutins". Le Vif. 30 June 2018.
  14. ^ "Onkelinx stopt met actieve politiek in 2019". De Standaard. 13 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Goedele Uyttersprot (N-VA) keert niet meer terug naar Kamer". De Standaard. 21 January 2018.
  16. ^ "SP.A'er Dirk Van der Maelen is geen kandidaat meer in 2019". deredactie.be. 5 July 2017.
  17. ^ "Eric Van Rompuy stopt in 2019: 'Er is een tijd van komen en gaan'". De Standaard. 7 February 2017.
  18. ^ "Peter Vanvelthoven (sp.a) stopt helemaal met politiek". Het Belang van Limburg. 15 January 2019.
  19. ^ "N-VA-Kamerlid Jan Vercammen houdt ermee op". Focus WTV. 21 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Belgium's 'Black Sunday' sees far-right surge, threatens new government crisis". Euractive. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  21. ^ "Belgium's far-right not ruled out of potential coalition". The Brussels Times. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  22. ^ Belgian king meets Flemish far right for first time since 1930s, amid fears of 'Vlexit' breakaway The Telegraph, 29 May 2019
  23. ^ Election treble spells trouble for Belgium Politico, 27 May 2019
  24. ^ "Modrikamen l'a annoncé: le PP, c'est terminé". La Libre. 19 June 2019.
  25. ^ Belgian king's meeting with far-right leader sparks controversy The Guardian, 29 May 2019
  26. ^ Koning Filip stelt Johan Vande Lanotte en Didier Reynders aan als informateur VRT, 30 May 2019
  27. ^ Reynders en Vande Lanotte blijven informateur tot 17 juni: "Lange formatie van 2010 overdoen, is niet mogelijk" VRT, 6 June 2019
  28. ^ Mission to form Belgian government extended by King Philippe Xinhua, 18 June 2019
  29. ^ Informateurs Vande Lanotte en Reynders werken verder aan preformatienota VRT, 1 July 2019
  30. ^ Vande Lanotte en Reynders nog tot 9 september informateur VTM, 29 July 2019
  31. ^ Didier Reynders (MR) voorgedragen als Belgische Eurocommissaris: "Franstaligen waren eensgezind, Vlamingen niet" VRT, 24 August 2019
  32. ^ [1] Royal Central, 9 October 2019
  33. ^ https://euobserver.com/political/146520

External linksEdit