A poll has revealed a majority of Flemish approve of releasing the populist Vlaams Belang party from its “cordon sanitaire” and allowing the party into the political process, rather than being isolated by other parties.
For years, parties in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern region of Belgium, have shunned Vlaams Belang (“Flemish Interest”) and refused to negotiate with them or involve them in the political process, But the cordon sanitaire is no longer popular with the general public with only 31 per cent saying they wish it to continue while 65 per cent said the policy should end, 7sur7 reports.
Tom Van Grieken, the 32-year-old leader of Vlaams Belang, said he was pleased with the results of the poll, saying: “It surpasses everything. If these numbers prove anything, that’s fine.”
Vlaams Belang scored 18 per cent in the Flemish elections that took place at the same time as the European Parliament elections last weekend, becoming the second largest party in the region.
On Wednesday, Van Grieken was invited to an audience with King Philippe of Belgium, the first ever audience with the monarch the party has ever been invited to.
Just 18 Per Cent of Flemish Belgians Say Islam is Compatible with the West https://t.co/phSJqfPTcj
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 9, 2018
“I was pleased with the invitation,” Van Grieken said and added: “I am not going to say it is unnatural. This is natural. What happened over the past 40 years was not democratic.”
The largest party in Flanders, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), has so far not ruled out a possible coalition with Vlaams Belang.
N-VA have also been consistently tough on mass migration and rejected the United Nations global compact on migration, a move that led to the collapse of the Belgian national government in December last year.
The election success of Vlaams Belang comes as several populist parties saw outright victories over the weekend in the European elections, such as Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and Matteo Salvini’s League, while others, like the Sweden Democrats, saw large increases in their voter share.