DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647002003045002379

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Les élections législatives du 18 mai 2003 Analyse des résultats

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William Fraeys, "Les élections législatives du 18 mai 2003 Analyse des résultats", Res Publica, 2-3, (2003):379-399

    After four years of a so called «Rainbow» coalition, which had the support of the Socialists (red), the Liberals (blue) and the Greens, the electorate rewarded the first two political families and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Greens. The latter lost nearly 60 % of their electorate, which had occurred only once before to a political party since the introduction of universal suffrage in Belgium in 1919. The outcome of the elections is fairly similar in the three regions of the country. In Flanders, the Socialists progress by more than 8 %, reaping the benefits of the alliance formed with «Spirit», one of the successor parties of the former Volksunie. Half of the Socialists' progress can be attributed to this effect. Moreover, the Socialist party started off from an absolute low hit in 1999 and has not regained its top scores of the 1960s. The advance of the Liberal VLD is more modest, (some 2.5 %), but it followed upon excellent previous results. With some 25 % of the vote, the VLD, which is the first party in Flanders, has reached an absolute high. Conversely, the Christian Democrats of the CD&V slightly regress, thereby continuing a downward trend. These results take them to their historical low, and make them into Flanders ' third party, with some 21.9 % of the vote. Agalev, the Green party, no langer has any representation in parliarnent and falls back from11 to 3.85 %. The far right, the Vlaams Blok, continues its advance and reaches 17,86 %, an increase of 2,5 %. In Wallonia too one observes a significant advance of the Socialists. The PS remains the first party in the South of the country with 36.39 % of the vote, progressing by 7 %. It exceeds all its results of the previous twelve years, without however reaching its earlier highs. The Liberals of the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) gain 3.65 % and are at their historical high with 28.38 % of the vote. The Christian Democrats, under the denomination CDH (Centre democrate humaniste) slip back by some 1.5 %, but this decline is almost equivalent to the result of a dissident list of the CDH, which had wanted to maintain «christian» as a reference. This doesn't alter the fact that the Christian Democrats have also reached their all time low. The Greens, Ecolo, lose some 57 % of their vote and stand at 7.45 %. In contrast with 1999, one observes a slight advance ofthe Front National, a far right party, that only obtained 5.56 % of the vote however. With the exception ofan increase in the French and a decline in the Flemish vote, the Brussels districts show the same characteristics as the two other regions of the country; a very significant advance of the Socialists, a slight increase in the Liberal vote, the collapse of the Greens; the status quo ofthe Christian Democrats and an advance of the far right with almost 2 %. The 2003 election therefore seems to be a correction on the 1999 one, where the advance of the greens had been amplified by the dioxineJood scare. But the width of the swing makes it into one of the elections where the volatility of the vote will have been the highest.

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