Flemings increasingly less royalist

Research carried out by the Institute for Social and Political Opinion Research (ISPO of KU Leuven) shows that Flemings are far less enthusiastic about the Belgian monarchy than their Francophone fellow countrymen. 66.1% of Walloons support the monarchy, while among Flemings this figure plummets to 45.4%. The findings are published as Belgium marks King's Day in honour of the Belgian monarchy.

While 45% of Flemings still back the monarchy, 25% are republicans. 30% favour a monarchy in which the monarch serves a purely ceremonial role. In Wallonia there is 66% support for the monarchy, while only 10% of the people say they are republicans.

The figures show a decrease in support for the monarchy in Flanders. In 1990 62% of Flemings believed the king was needed. Today this has dropped to 45%. Confidence in the monarch too has fallen. 40% of Flemings still see the king as a figure holding the country together. Researcher Marc Swyngedouw: "When political institutions fail, people grasp out to the king as institution of unity that is above the parties."

Which factors influence support for the monarchy? Regular churchgoers are more royalist as are women. Youngsters who missed the episode under King Boudewijn, when the king stepped down for the day to allow abortion legislation to be enacted, are less opposed to the expansion of royal powers. Over 55's are far more reluctant to see greater powers for the king. The more highly trained you are, the greater the chance that you have reservations about the monarchy.