Social Democrats suffer rebuff in Belgium
The Social Democrats suffered losses in many municipalities in Belgium's local elections. In the Francophone south of the country and in Brussels the Greens in particular made gains, while the nationalists of the N-VA remain strong in Flanders. For commentators from both halves of the country the results are no reason to celebrate.
Party being devoured from both sides
The losses suffered by the Flemish Social Democrats are part of a European trend:
“The Socialistische Partij Anders is damaged goods, because for years it has supported governments that governed over and above the heads of many voters. That's the reason why many European centrist parties are gradually collapsing. The left is being devoured from both sides. Younger and more educated voters who think in cosmopolitan terms are attracted by the Greens, whose aura has not yet been tarnished. Older voters who are more uncertain about the future, in contrast, are seeking alternatives on the right.”
South shifts to the left, right wins in north
The Greens won in many municipalities at the expense of the three traditional parties in Wallonia. Le Soir is concerned for Belgium's unity:
“The Socialists have fallen out of favour with voters, the Liberals were clearly not rewarded for the new jobs they created. And while the Centre Party managed to save its leaders' seats and several local strongholds, their future is far from certain. ... The shift to the left [in Brussels and Wallonia] won't make the dialogue with the north any easier: the [Flemish nationalist] N-VA ministers in the Belgian government emerged victorious from the election, and [party leader] Bart De Wever won the battle for Antwerp.”