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On the 'Two Faces' of right-wing extremism in Belgium

Confronting the ideology of extreme right-wing parties in Belgium with the attitudes and motives of their voters

Auteurs Hans De Witte

Hans De Witte
  • Samenvatting

      In this article, we analyse the ideological differences between extreme rightwing parties and their voters in the Flemish and Walloon part of Belgium. Extreme right-wing ideology consists of five core elements: (biological) racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the leadership principle, anti-parliamentarianism and an anti-leftist attitude. All these attitudes refer to the basic value of rightwing extremism: the belief in the inequality of individuals and (ethnic) groups. An analysis of the ideology of the Vlaams Blok in Flanders shows that it adheres to these core elements of extreme right-wing ideology. An analysis of the attitudes and motives of the voters of this party, however, shows that they cannot be considered as right-wing extremists. The ideological gap between the Vlaams Blok and its electorate is due to the strategy of this party, since it cultivates 'two faces': a populist, moderate face in order to attract votes, and a radical extreme rightwingface in order to recruit and motivate militants. In Wallonia, less is known about the ideology of right-wing parties and that of their voters. Current research however, suggests that the conclusions from Flemish research may very well be generalized to Wallonia as well.

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