Flemish greens reach historic high in polls

Both the Flemish greens (Groen) and socialists (SP.A) are benefitting from their work on the opposition benches, as an opinion poll conducted by the VRT and De Standaard gives them clear gains. The Flemish nationalists of N-VA meanwhile remain the biggest players, by far.
Left trunk in each graphic shows 2014 election result // middle = March poll // right = latest poll.

The bonus of the greens is most outspoken. Groen win 4.8 percent to climb to 13.3, their biggest score ever. Their new voters mainly come from the Christian democrats of CD&V and the socialists of SP.A. However, despite this, the Flemish socialists still manage to gain ground, reaching out to a potential 15.8 percent of the voters.

The coalition parties N-VA, Open VLD and CD&V (the 3 of them make up the Flemish government, and work together with the Francophone liberals of MR in the federal government) are not being rewarded by voters for their policy choices. In fact, the CD&V and the liberals of Open VLD see their rivals of Groen and SP.A creeping closer.

Far-right Vlaams Belang is also climbing to 8.1 percent, taking most of their votes from the Flemish nationalists of N-VA, who remain by far the biggest players.

The Christian democrats of CD&V drop to 16.8 percent, well below the N-VA's 27.8 percent. The socialists are hot on their heels now, climbing to almost 16 percent.

"This should inspire the coalition parties to continue"

N-VA head Bart De Wever is not unhappy with the outcome. He highlights the fact that his party is losing less ground than at an earlier poll, compared to 2014's general elections.

"We win a little bit compared to the previous poll, and this gives us new hope. We still have to take a lot of measures. I hope that this poll, which is not too bad for the coalition, can inspire the coalition to continue the reforms and austerity measures, because they have to take place, even though they are not always popular. At the end of the trip, you can show the results, and hopefully win the elections again."

Groen president Meyrem Almaci says the success of the greens is thanks to their "alternative recipes", arguing they often take a constructive attitude instead of shooting all the time, just shoot at the majority. "We see that many people find that it's possible to do it in a different way. This is giving us the wind in the sails."

Maggie De Block reigns supreme

In the individual popularity poll, it's Health Minister Maggie De Block (Open VLD) coming out on top again. Deputy PM Kris Peeters (CD&V) - the present Employment Minister - and N-VA party head Bart De Wever - who does not hold a position in the government, concentrating on his work as Antwerp Mayor - make up the top-3.

The poll was conducted by TNS at the request of the VRT and De Standaard. 1,013 Flemings in Flanders and Brussels were asked about their intentions if we would have a general election now. The survey was compiled between 14 September and 3 October.