NICOLAS MAETERLINCK

Far-right MP’s list takes 40% of the votes in East Flemish town

Forza Ninove, a list headed by the federal MP for the far-right Vlaams Belang Guy D'haeseleer, has taken 40% of the votes in the East Flemish town of Ninove, around 20 kilometres west of Brussel.  Mr D’haeseleer told VRT news that he was “moved” by the result. The incumbent liberal Mayor of Ninove Tanja De Jonge of Nivove has now asked Guy D’haeseleer to try and form a coalition. She described Sunday’s result as “a black day” for the town.   

If Mr D’haeseleer is successful in convincing another party to work with his list it would mean that the so-called “cordon sanitair” that has been in place around the far-right in Flanders since the breakthrough of what was then Vlaams Blok at the 1991 parliamentary elections will have been breached for the first time.

Under the terms of the “cordon sanitair” all parties refuse to enter into coalitions with the far-right.  

In his victory speech Guy D’haeseleer said "Who could have thought that were would end up with 40%. There are currently 8,100 people in Ninove that have given me their support”.  

He also looked to the future. “We are going to let a new wind blow through Ninove”.

Mayor De Jonge: "This is a black day”

The incumbent Mayor of Ninove Tania De Jonge (liberal) told VRT News that. "As they got 40% it is  Forza Ninove that should take the initiative." 

After the 2012 municipal elections Ms De Jonge formed a multi-party coalition against Forza Nivove.

"Six years ago we sidelined Forza Ninove, even though they had scored better than we had. But now it’s different. With 26% as opposed to 40% I can’t have the pretention to start speaking to partners. It is up to to Mr D'haeseleer to form a coalition”.  

When asked why Forza Nivove had got so many votes; Ms De Jonge said that “Mr D’haeseleer has used every incident to put Ninove in a bad light. I regret this because people that come to Ninove don’t have the feeling that it is a Chicago on the (river) Dender”.