2006 Belgian local elections

The Belgian provincial, municipal and district elections of 2006 took place on Sunday 8 October 2006. The electors have elected the municipal councillors of 589 cities and towns (308 in the Flemish Region, 262 in the Walloon Region and 19 in the Brussels-Capital Region) as well as the ten provincial councils. The voters in the town of Antwerp have also been able to vote for the city's district councils. In seven Flemish municipalities with a special language statute (Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Wemmel, Wezembeek-Oppem and Voeren) and in the Walloon municipality of Comines-Warneton the aldermen and the members of the OCMW/CPAS council have also been directly elected.

2006 Belgian local elections

8 October 2006 (2006-10-08)

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It was the first municipal and provincial elections since the transfer of the competence with regards to the municipalities and provinces to the regions, also residents without E.U. citizenship could vote for the first time if they had registered to vote. The previous municipal and provincial elections took place on Sunday 8 October 2000.

City and provincial councillors are elected to a six-year term. Newly elected councillors will take office in January 2007, with a term ending in 2013.

Points of notice are the result of the governing federal government coalition (liberal/social-democrat) - for whom a bad result could spell defeat in the federal general elections to be held no later than June 2007 - and the result of the Vlaams Belang party in Antwerp and the other Flemish towns.

Organisation

The municipal and provincial elections of 2006 were the first of its kind to be organized by the Regions instead of the federal government. The competence with regards to the municipalities and provinces was transferred from the federation to the Regions by special law of 13 June 2001.

The Flemish minister of the Interior Marino Keulen announced that the results of the elections held in the Flemish Region would be available in real time on the official dedicated government website www.vlaanderenkiest.be.

Municipal elections

These have taken place in Flanders, Wallonia and the Brussels Capital Region. The municipal councils were elected by a very rare form of party-list proportional representation, the Imperiali highest averages method.

The parties presented themselves with lists of candidates. The number of candidates on the list usually was the total number of seats to be taken in the council. Each list received a random number, which was assigned by a lottery. Parties that had representatives in the regional parliaments, could receive a number that is the same in the entire region. Other parties' numbers varied from municipality to municipality. These numbers started after the regional numbers (8 and higher in Flanders, 14 and higher in Brussels, 6 and higher in Wallonia).

The regional list numbers:

Flemish Region[1]Brussels Region[2]Walloon Region
  1. SP.a
  2. VLD
  3. Spirit
  4. N-VA
  5. Groen!
  6. Vlaams Belang
  7. CD&V
  1. PS
  2. MR
  3. Groen!
  4. VLD-Vivant
  5. Vlaams Belang
  6. FDF
  7. CD&V
  8. MCC
  9. Ecolo
  10. Spirit
  11. Front National
  12. CdH
  13. N-VA
  1. Front National
  2. Ecolo
  3. PS
  4. MR
  5. CdH

Provincial elections

These have taken place in Flanders and Wallonia. In the Brussels Capital Region no provincial elections were held as Brussels is not part of any Belgian province, the provincial competences almost entirely being assumed by the Region, the Agglomeration and the Community Commissions.

The list numbers used were the same as for the municipalities.

Polls

Flemish region

Het Laatste Nieuws

The polls conducted by the Stemmenkampioen site of Het Laatste Nieuws and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel,[3] yielded the following overall result for Flanders, compared to the 2004 regional elections (the last column displays the difference between the latest polls and that result):

Party/Alliance 06/2004 (%) 12/2005 (%) 03/2006 (%) 05/2006 (%) 06/2006 (%) 09/2006 (%) diff '04 (%)
CD&V - N-VA 26.1 30.9 31.7 30.7 30.6 31.1 +5.0
Vlaams Belang 24.2 26.8 27.4 28.2 28.9 28.2 +4.0
SP.a - Spirit 19.7 17.9 17.0 17.3 17.5 17.3 -2.4
VLD - Vivant 19.8 14.5 14.7 14.5 14.1 14.2 -5.6
Groen! 7.6 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.5 6.1 -1.5
Others 2.7 3.2 2.7 2.6 2.4 3.1 +0.4

The last poll not taking into account alliances dates from September 2006 and showed these results:[4]

Party Results (%)
Vlaams Belang 28.2
CD&V 23.3
SP.a 15.9
VLD 13.6
N-VA 7.8
Groen! 6.1
Spirit 1.4
Vivant 0.6
Others 3.1

Standaard - VRT

The latest poll by De Standaard and VRT yielded the following overall results for Flanders, compared to the 2004 regional elections (the last column displays the difference between the latest polls and that result):

Party/Alliance 06/2004 (%) 02/2006 (%) 06/2006 (%) diff '04 (%)
CD&V - N-VA 26.1 29.1 29.4 +3.3
Vlaams Belang 24.2 22.5 23.1 -1.1
SP.a - Spirit 19.7 20.4 20.7 +1.0
VLD - Vivant 19.8 18.9 18.2 -1.6
Groen! 7.6 8.7 7.5 -0.1
Others 2.7 0.4 1.0 -1.7

Antwerp

Poll by the Gazet van Antwerpen and VRT, taken between 31 January and 23 February 2006, compared to the 2000 municipal elections (the last column displays the difference between the latest polls and that result):

Party 10/2000 (%) 02/2006 (%) diff '00 (%)
Vlaams Belang - VLOTT 33.0 34.2 +1.2
SP.a - Spirit 19.5 23.8 +4.3
VLD - Vivant 18.5 12.9 -5.6
CD&V - N-VA 14.2 14.5 +0.3
Groen! 11.1 8.3 -2.8
Others 3.7 6.3 +2.6

July and September 2006 polls conducted by the Stemmenkampioen site of Het Laatste Nieuws and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel,[3] yielded the following result for Antwerp, compared to the 2000 municipal elections (the last column displays the difference between the latest polls and that result):

Party 10/2000 (%) 07/2006 (%) 09/2006 (%) diff '00 (%)
Vlaams Belang - VLOTT 33.0 34.2 38.6 +5.6
SP.a - Spirit 19.5 20.2 21.1 +1.6
VLD - Vivant 18.5 10.2 8.5 -10.0
CD&V - N-VA 14.2 19.4 16.6 +2.4
Groen! 11.1 7.2 6.2 -4.9
Others 3.7 8.8 9.0 -5.3

Walloon Region

A poll conducted by the RTBF and the Sud Presse in June 2006 showed the following results, compared to the 2000 municipal elections (the last column displays the difference between the latest polls and that result):[5]

Charleroi

Party 10/2000 (%) 06/2006 (%) diff '00 (%)
Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) 51.4 31.9 -19.5
Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur) 16.1 23.1 +7.0
Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste) 9.6 14.9 +5.0
Ecolo 11.4 11.0 -0.4
National Front (Front National) 6.9 16.5 +9.6

Results

Flanders

Provinces

The provincial elections are the only 2006 elections that allow for a national comparison, since in municipal elections not all parties run in all municipalities.[6]

Party Votes % +/– (2000) Seats +/– (2000)
Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V)–New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)1,231,65530.6*136*
Flemish Interest (VB)879,04620.788 34
Socialist Party Different (SP.A)–Spirit785,52819.684 8
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD)–Vivant745,95218.980 27
Green!311,9127.517 9
Union of Francophones (UF)54,7336 0
Other parties57,782
Valid votes4,584,584
Blanco and invalid votes
Total411
Party
Antwerp

East Flanders

Flemish Brabant

Limburg

West Flanders
Total
Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V)–New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)2425252636136
Flemish Interest (VB)251915151988
Socialist Party Different (SP.A)–Spirit181414201884
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLD)–Vivant132217141480
Green!4470217
Union of Francophones (UF)66

Municipalities

Most important conclusions are that Vlaams Belang achieves status quo in large cities as Antwerp, Brussels and Ghent but advances strongly in the countryside. The CD&V-N-VA gains nearly everywhere, VLD and Groen! lose nearly everywhere. The VLD was able to consolidate where they put forth nationally known candidates, like Guy Verhofstadt in Ghent and Vincent Van Quickenborne in Kortrijk. The SP.A-Spirit puts strong results in cities like Antwerp, Ghent and Ostend but has mixed results in other places.

Most coalitions before the elections can continue with a stronger backing, most notably in Ghent and Mechelen. An exception to this general 'rule' is Vilvoorde, where former prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene loses his majority.

Antwerp
PartyLeader 2000 (%) seats 2000 2006 (%) seats 2006
SP.a - SPIRIT *Patrick Janssens 19.5 12 35.5 22
Vlaams Belang - VLOTTFilip Dewinter 33.0 20 33.5 20
VLD - VivantLudo Van Campenhout 18.5 10 9.7 5
CD&V - N-VA *Philip Heylen 11.1 6 11.2 6
Groen!Freya Piryns 11.1 6 4.7 2
VU-ID * 3.1 1
Others 3.9 0 6.2 0
    • In 2001 the VU-ID split up in 2 wings: the centre-right Flemish nationalist NVA, which formed a cartel with the Christian Democratic CD&V and the social-liberal Spirit which formed a cartel with the Socialist SPA.

Bruges

PartyLeaderVotes%Seats
CD&V / N-VAPatrick Moenaert32,09238.8620
SP.A / SpiritFrank Vandevoorde20,02825.2512
Flemish InterestFrank Vanhecke13,40816.248
Open VLD / VivantMercedes Van Volcem9,52011.535
Green!Rita Brauwers5,3286.452
Other parties2.2072.67
Valid votes82,58389.12
Invalid votes3,7764.07
Blanco votes6,3106.81
Total92,66910047

Ghent

PartyLeaderVotes%Seats+/–
SP.A / SpiritDaniël Termont49.26531.58173
Open VLD / VivantSas Van Rouveroij32,81921.04110
Flemish InterestFrancis Van Den Eynde28,15218.0592
CD&V / N-VAFilip Van Laecke24,69815.8383
Green!Vera Dua18,80812.0662

Ostend

PartyLeaderVotes%Seats
SP.A / SpiritJean Vandecasteele22,14245.6720
Flemish InterestChristian Verougstraete8,15716.827
Open VLD / VivantBart Tommelein7,79316.076
CD&V / N-VAHilde Veulemans6,82114.075
Green!Wouter De Vriendt2,8935.971
Other parties6781.40
Valid votes48,484
Invalid votes
Blanco votes
Total39
Notes: The Socialist Party became the winner, under direction of Johan Vande Lanotte. Jean-Marie Dedecker, was a local candidate for the VLD, who in the run-up to the elections clashed severely with Vande Lanotte. Dedecker has since been ejected by the VLD and has formed his own party List Dedecker.

Districts (Antwerp)

Heavily anticipated were the results for Merksem, Deurne and Hoboken, where it was believed Vlaams Belang could obtain an absolute majority. This however did not turn out to be the case, even though the party does advance in all but two districts (Antwerp and Borgerhout). Most notably, in Hoboken a majority without Vlaams Belang will only be possible by including the extreme left PVDA, although another party, N-VA, has already ruled out such a coalition.

Wallonia

Provinces

Municipalities

Namur

In Namur, the capital of Wallonia, the Socialist Party (PS) lost 7.4% of its votes, enough for the local Christian-democrats (cdH), Liberals (MR) and Greens (Ecolo) to start a coalition, breaking with the 30-year Socialist hegemony there. Jacques Etienne of chH will become the new mayor.[7]

Brussels

References

  1. (in Dutch) Traditioneel nummertje Archived 15 November 2012 at the Wayback Machine, De Standaard, 30 August 2006
  2. (in French) Les listes ont leur numéro à Bruxelles Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, La Libre Belgique, 30 August 2006
  3. (in Dutch) De Stemmenkampioen Archived 10 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. (in Dutch) Resulaten voor september 2006, De Stemmenkampioen
  5. (in French) Les socialistes perdraient des plumes Archived 29 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine, La Libre Belgique, 8 June 2006
  6. (in Dutch) Knack Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. "Socialists ousted in Namur". VRT Nieuws. 13 October 2006.
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