Election 2010: Parties delve into war chest

The daily Gazet van Antwerpen on Monday published the amount of cash each of the Flemish political parties has at its disposal to fight the 13 July general election.

The money will come in handy to pay for this surprise election campaign. A general election was only supposed to take place next year.

It's the Flemish socialist party, SP.A, that is sitting on the tidiest sum: 4.5 million euros. The liberals of Open VLD can throw 3.3 million into the election campaign, while our largest political party, the Flemish Christian democrat CD&V, will have to make do with a mere 2.7 million euros.

The money will be used to print election posters and leaflets.

In all the Flemish political parties can draw on 13.3 million euros, but it is unlikely that they will spend all this cash. In the 2007 poll the parties, including the Francophone ones, got through 8.5 billion euros.

The posters and leaflets are not needed to get out the voters because attending a polling station on Election Day is compulsory. In recent days though there has been mounting concern that many voters may just stay away in protest about the behaviour of our politicians.

Several "Don't vote" groups have been set up on the social networking site facebook, but encouraging others not to vote too is illegal in Belgium.

Gazet van Antwerpen has worked out that the far right Vlaams Belang and the right of centre Flemish nationalists of N-VA have 1 million euros to burn, while the ecologists of Groen! can spend 600,000 euros.

The break-away right wing liberal party LDD has only 200,000 euros at its disposal.