Vlaams Belang (formerly Vlaams Blok)

This is the name of a popular far-right Flemish nationalist party that changed name in November 2004, after the Gent Court of Appeal convicted them of racism. Now the party has softened its tone somewhat and they are called Vlaams Belang [=Flemish Interest]. Vlaams Blok celebrated its first huge electoral win in the 1988 elections. Their victory became bigger in every consecutive election. In the elections of 2004, they gained 24% of all votes for the Flemish Parliament. In Brussels, 34% of all Dutch votes were for the Blok, whereas in Antwerp (which is monolingual Dutch), they have more than 30% of all votes.  All other Flemish parties have now set up what is called a cordon sanitaire, which means that they all agree not to collaborate with Vlaams Belang and that none of them will form a coalition with them. As a consequence, even though this party has the majority of votes, it does not have a say in any single government. It does of course occupy seats in the Flemish Parliament, where in fact, since 2004, it is the largest party with 25% of all seats.

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