The Brexit, followed by election of Donald Trump in the US, have raised worldwide concerns about the rise of right wing extremism. The phenomenon is, however, 25 years old in Belgium. Lessons can be drawn from that longitudinal experience.
24 November 1991 is known as “Black Sunday” in Belgium. On that day, a relatively new party called Vlaams Blok radically redefined the electoral landscape in the country with a first massive victory at the polls. Prior to that national breakthrough, the party had won the local elections in Antwerp. But Black Sunday sent shock waves through the Belgian political system, and its effects are enduring.
The Vlaams Blok program
Vlaams Blok (“Flemish Block”, later renamed Vlaams Belang – “Flemish Interest”) won its seats in Parliament due to a mixture of three powerful elements. The mixture will sound familiar to observers of the present.
- Extreme nationalism. While in Flemish…
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