FACTBOX-How did Flemish separatist triumph in Belgian election?

June 14 (BestGrowthStock) – Bart De Wever has emerged as the key
figure in coalition talks in Belgium after leading his N-VA (New
Flemish Alliance) party to victory in a parliamentary election
on Sunday [ID:nLDE65D0LW].

Below are some facts about De Wever, his views on splitting
Belgium and how he managed to put his party on course to win 27
seats in the lower house of parliament after securing only eight
in the last election in 2007.

* De Wever, 39, advocates a more moderate form of separatism
than the far-right Vlaams Belang, which also attracts
anti-immigration voters and has been branded racist. He
advocates the break-up of Belgium, but wants such a split to
happen gradually, rather than overnight.

* De Wever has pledged to deliver more powers to Flanders,
attracting Christian Democrats (CD&V) disappointed with outgoing
Prime Minister Yves Leterme, who also pledged giving more powers
to the regions in 2007 but was ultimately unsuccessful in
pushing through further state reform

* Supporters say they admire De Wever for his determination,
and credit him with bringing Flemish nationalism back into the
mainstream and away from the far right. But as a politician
openly advocating the break-up of Belgium, De Wever has also
received e-mailed death threats from disgruntled francophones.

* De Wever, who has a history degree from the Catholic
University of Leuven, put in a strong performance in election
debates among political leaders. He boosted his ratings in
Flanders by appearing on a popular celebrity quiz show,
appearing both knowledgeable and witty.

* Political scientists say the straight-talking De Wever,
who has four children, appeals to both a traditional Flemish
nationalist audience, which fought what it said was cultural and
linguistic oppression in the 1960s, and to a younger audience
born after Flanders first obtained limited powers in the 1970s.

* De Wever was the most popular politician in the
Dutch-speaking Flanders region in Sunday’s election, receiving
almost 765,000 preferential votes, used by voters to show they
support a specific candidate. This is an unusually high tally in
Belgium, only slightly fewer than the almost 800,000 such votes
received by Leterme in 2007 before he went on to become prime
minister.

Stock Market
(Reporting by Antonia van de Velde; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

FACTBOX-How did Flemish separatist triumph in Belgian election?