DéFI (French pronunciation: [defi] (listen)) is a social-liberal,[5] liberal,[3][4] regionalist[1][2][3] political party in Belgium mainly known for defending French-speakers’ interests in and near the Brussels region.[8][9] The party is led by François de Smet, a member of the Chamber of Representatives. The party's current name, DéFI or Défi, was adopted in 2016 and is a backronym of Démocrate, Fédéraliste, Indépendant (literally, "Democratic, Federalist, Independent") meaning "challenge" in French.

PresidentFrançois De Smet
Founded11 May 1964
HeadquartersChaussée de Charleroi 127
1060 Brussels
Social liberalism[5]
Political positionCentre[6][7] to centre-right[4][5]
Colours  Amaranth
Chamber of Representatives
(French-speaking seats)
2 / 61
(French-speaking seats)
0 / 24
Walloon Parliament
0 / 75
Parliament of the French Community
3 / 94
Brussels Parliament
(French-speaking seats)
10 / 72
European Parliament
(French-speaking seats)
0 / 8


The party was founded as the Democratic Front of Francophones (Front Démocratique des Francophones, FDF) on 11 May 1964 as a response to the language laws of 1962. The party had instant success in Brussels: it first contested parliamentary elections one year later, where it won one senator and 3 seats in the Chamber of Representatives for the constituency of Brussels. Its number of seats increased further in the subsequent parliamentary elections. The party also dominated Brussels' municipal politics until 1982.[10]

Initially the party cooperated with the Walloon Rally. From 1977 until 1980, the FDF participated in the federal governments led by Leo Tindemans and subsequently Wilfried Martens. From 1992, the FDF regularly competed in electoral alliance with the larger Liberal Reformist Party (PRL). In 2002 the PRL, the FDF, the MCC and the PFF formed the Reformist Movement (MR), a closer alliance of Francophone liberal parties.

In January 2010 the party name was amended to Francophone Democratic Federalists (Fédéralistes Démocrates Francophones), maintaining its original acronym.[11] In September 2011, the FDF decided to leave the alliance over disagreements with MR president Charles Michel on the agreement concerning the splitting of the Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde district during the 2010–2011 Belgian government formation.[12]

The party adopted its current name, DéFI, in November 2015.[13]


The party advocates the extension of the bilingual status of Brussels to some municipalities in the Brussels Periphery (in Flemish Brabant, Flemish Region), where a majority of the population is French-speaking, but the official language is Dutch, and pushes for the rights of French-speakers in Flemish municipalities to use French instead of Dutch in dealing with Dutch-speaking officials. Both stances are opposed by Flemish parties, who say that French-speaking residents of the Flemish Region should learn Dutch and argue that the Francization of Brussels should not further itself into the Region.


Notable elected members include:

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Régis Dandoy; Arjan Schakel (2013). Regional and National Elections in Western Europe: Territoriality of the Vote in Thirteen Countries. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 54. ISBN 978-1-137-02544-9.
  2. ^ a b Peter Starke; Alexandra Kaasch; Franca Van Hooren (2013). The Welfare State as Crisis Manager: Explaining the Diversity of Policy Responses to Economic Crisis. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-137-31484-0.
  3. ^ a b c d Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Brussels/Belgium". Parties and Elections in Europe.
  4. ^ a b c Collectif; Petit Futé; Dominique Auzias; Jean-Paul Labourdette (2014). Belgique 2014 Petit Futé (avec cartes, photos + avis des lecteurs). Petit Futé. p. 42. ISBN 978-2-7469-7123-3.
  5. ^ a b c "Les couleurs politiques en Belgique". Cultures&Santé.
  6. ^ "Belgium".
  7. ^ "" Kazakhgate " : " Si la Belgique a été utilisée, c'est un scandale d'Etat "". Le Monde.fr. 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ Paul F. State (2004). Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Scarecrow Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-8108-6555-6.
  9. ^ Martin Buxant; Steven Samyn (2011). Belgique, un roi sans pays. EDI8 - PLON. p. 93. ISBN 978-2-259-21505-3.
  10. ^ Els Witte (2009). Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards. Asp / Vubpress / Upa. p. 372. ISBN 978-90-5487-517-8.
  11. ^ Philippe de Riemaecker (2013). Quand les singes se prennent pour des dieux. Editions Publibook. p. 212. ISBN 978-2-7483-9789-5.
  12. ^ "FDF almost unanimously votes in favour of split with MR" (in Dutch). deredactie.be. 25 September 2011. Retrieved 2011-09-25.
  13. ^ "Le FDF est rebaptisé Défi". La Libre Belgique. Belga. 13 November 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.


  • Kesteloot, Chantal (2004). Au nom de la Wallonie et de Bruxelles français : les origines du FDF. Brussels: Complexe. ISBN 2870279876.

External linksEdit

  Media related to DéFI at Wikimedia Commons