Belgium - Political parties

Party descriptions and CMP left-right scores
Party Type 91 95 99 03 Average
N-VA Ethnic-Regional -7.6 -7.6
PS Social Democratic -9.6 -23 -14.9 -25.3 -18.2
CD&V Christian Democrats 6.6 -3.2 -4.2 1.9 0.3
MR Liberal -2.4 -4.1 -7.8 -29.6 -11
SP.A Social Democratic -11.2 -15.6 -1.4 -13.6 -10.5
VLD Liberal -10.6 -2.4 5.6 0.4 -1.8
VB Ethnic-Regional -2.9 -3 -3 -3 -3
CDH Christian Democratic -11.2 -6.1 -11.9 -11.9 -10.3
Ecolo Ecologist -1.5 -20.9 -19.8 -17.3 -14.9
Groen! Ecologist -3.9 -2.9 -16.7 -21.6 -11.3
LDD Liberal, free market
PP Liberal

The table shows the periodical scores on left-right position as given in the Comparative Manifesto Project (Volkens, Andrea, et.al., 2010). The scores range from -100 (left) to +100 (right).

Type: Tentative grouping of political parties and alliances based on information provided in the Comparative Manifesto Project and from party descriptions in Europa World Yearbook, Encyclopædia Britannica and in election reports from the European Journal of Political Research and/or Electoral Studies.

N-VA - New-Flemish Alliance - (The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie)

N-VA is a Flemish political party, founded in the Autumn of 2001 from the split of Volksunie. It is a separatist movement that strives for secession of Flanders from Belgium. The party is generally considered center-right and as a democratic alternative to the far right Vlaams Belang. Ran as part of an alliance with CD&V in the 2007 federal elections.

PS - Socialist Party - (The Parti Socialiste)

The French-speaking social democratic party. It is the dominant party in Wallonia, supported by the urban working class. The ideology and image of the PS is a mix of old-style state interventionism, combined with a modern electoral marketing.

CD&V - Christian Democratic and Flemish - (Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams Partij)

Founded 1945 as Parti Social Chrétien/Christelijke Volkspartij (PSC/CVP). CVP separated from PSC by 1972 and was renamed CD&V in 2001. A centrist, pragmatic and moderate party advocating Flemisch cultural identity.

MR - Reformist Movement - (Mouvement Réformateur)

MR is a French-speaking liberal party, favouring a united Belgium. It is an association, founded in 2002, of the following parties: Front Démocratique des Francophones (FDF) (Francophone Democratic Front), Mouvement des Citoyens pour le Changement (MCC), Parti Réformateur Libéral (PRL) (Reformist Liberal Party). The ideology of the MR is a mix of free-market liberalism, and recently of a more social liberalism. In the above table, note that the CMP scores for MR in 1991-99 are for PRL (1991), PRL-FDF (1995) and PRL-FDF-MCC (1999).

SP.A - Socialist Party – Different - (Socialistische Partij – Anders)

SP.A. is the Flemish social democratic party in Belgium. It was formerly known as Belgische Socialistische Partij (BSP) and Socialistische Partij (SP). The party runs a joint list with the social liberal Spirit.

VLD - Flemish Liberals and Democrats - (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten)

Founded 1846 as Liberale Partij. Named Party for Freedom and Progress (Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang) from 1961 until 1992, when it changed name to VLD. The VLD started as a right-wing party under its founder, Guy Verhofstadt, but rapidly became a more mainstream party. The party is fairly pro-European. It contested the 2007 legislative elections in alliance with two minor parties, Liberaal Appèl Plus (Liberal Appeal Plus) and Vivant.

VB - Flemish Interest - (Vlaams Belang)

Originates from Vlaams Blok (Flemish Block) which was founded in 1954. The party was dissolved in 2004 after it was condemned by a High Court for "permanent incitation to discrimination and racism”. Later that year the party re-remerged as Vlaams Belang. The party advocates independence for Flanders and strict limitations on immigration. It is part of the militant wing of the Flemish movement and is a nationalist party. An agreement known as the "cordon sanitaire" restricts the other parties from entering coalitions with the party.

CDH - The Humanist Democratic Centre - (Centre démocrate humaniste)

Aka PCS, the CDH, is the smaller of the two Christian Democratic parties. Founded 1945 as Parti Social Chrétien/Christelijke Volkspartij (PSC/CVP); PSC separated from CVP by 1972 and adopted current name in 2002. Its ideology is a mix of Christian-inspired humanism, combined with a centrist policy towards the economy, supporting state interventionism and calling for the unity of Belgium.

Ecolo - Ecologists confederated for the organisation of original struggles - (Écologistes Confédérés pour l'organisation de luttes originales)

A French-speaking green political party (Wallonia and Brussels).

Groen! - Green! - (Groen!)

Founded in 1977 as Agalev, the party is now the Flemish green party. The party focuses on solidarity, progress, responsibility and respect. The two Belgian green parties have maintained good relations.

LDD - Dedecker List - (Lijst Dedecker)

LDD, a populist right-wing autonomist party, was formed just before the 2007 elections by a former MP, J.-M. Dedecker, who had been expelled from the VLD in late 2006. The LDD took a harder line concerning both socio-economic and autonomist issues, in addition to endorsing greater autonomy for the regions.

PP - People's Party - (Parti populaire)

Founded 2009; advocates economic liberalism, administrative simplification and greater emphasis on justice and security.

Sources:

Political Organizations (Belgium). 2009. In Europa World online. London, Routledge. University of Bergen. Retrieved October 2009 from http://www.europaworld.com/entry/be.dir.81

Electoral Studies (Elsevier), election reports on Belgium.

European Journal of Political Research (European Consortium for Political Research), reports on Belgium.

Keman, H. 2008. The Low Countries: Confrontation and Coalition in Segmented Societies. In J.M. Colomer, ed. Comparative European Politics. New York: Routledge, pp. 208-246.

Budge, I.; Klingemann, H.-D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Tanenbaum, E., with Fording, R.C.; Hearl, D.J.; Kim, H.M.; McDonald, M. and Mendez, S. (2001). Mapping Policy Preferences. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments 1945-1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Klingemann, H.D.; Volkens, A.; Bara, J.; Budge, I.; McDonald, M. (2006). Mapping Policy Preferences II. Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, the European Union and the OECD, 1990-2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Volkens, Andrea; Lacewell, Onawa; Regel, Sven; Schultze, Henrike; Werner, Annika (2010): The Manifesto Data Collection. Manifesto Project (MRG/CMP/MARPOR), Berlin: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB): http://manifesto-project.wzb.eu/