It was expected that Vlaams Belang would benefit from the growing popularity of extremist populists throughout Europe, but nobody expected this result. Vlaams Belang grows with double digits and becomes Flanders’ second party. Party leader Tom Van Grieken reached his hand out to “all other parties” that want to work towards “a more prosperous Flanders”.
The slogan “First our own people”, is an almost identical copy of “Own people first” which former Vlaams Blok used before being convicted for racism in 2004. All parties have always refused to ever join a coalition with the extremists. This so called “cordon sanitaire” means that the party has always been sentenced to the sideline, something Van Grieken hopes to turn after this victory.
Analyzing the reaction of NV-A party leader De Wever they expect his party might be open for discussing the option. This will likely cause outrage among other parties who insist on respecting the “cordon sanitaire”.
Meanwhile the French speaking side of Belgium looks at the results with confusion and a sense of despair. 40% of the votes going to (ultra) conservative separatist parties is, as mentioned before, in stark contrast with the results on their side of the country and the Brussels region.