Nevertheless, with between 26% and 27% of the votes the nationalists are still by far the most popular political force in Flanders, still more than 8% ahead of the party in second place, the far-right Vlaams Belang.
In a reaction to the election results, the leader of the Flemish nationalists Bart De Wever said that as the largest party in the Flemish Parliament, his party will take the initiative and invite all the parties elected to the new Flemish Parliament to talks about the formation of a new Flemish Government.
“Because Flanders needs a strong government”.
"For the federal level we will await an initiative to be taken by the King. But let me say one thing absolutely clearly: no government can be formed without a majority in Flanders. We will never allow it”.
Earlier in his speech Mr De Wever told the party faithful that “I have good and bad news”
"The bad news is that we have lost these elections, sadly this is clearly the case. The good news is that we are with head and shoulders the biggest party in Flanders”.
Mr De Wever congratulated the far-right Vlaams Belang with its election success.
"Today there are a lot of losers, so there is one big winner. I would like to congratulate Vlaams Belang with their election victory. Because the Flemish voter has spoken and in a democracy, the voter is always right”.
Mr De Wever added that the voter had made it difficult for politicians to form a coalition.
"Flanders has voted centre-right and right and Flemish nationalist more than ever before. In contrast to this Francophone Belgium has voted very much to the left”.