A party that wants to split Belgium in two looks to be the clear winner in the country’s parliamentary elections.
Bart de Wever, the 39-year-old head of the New Flemish Alliance, N-VA, appears to have created a political first by turning a separatist party that scored just 3% seven years ago into the biggest political movement in Flanders.
But as he addressed party faithful, De Wever admitted that he did not carry the whole region.
“We will celebrate this victory,” he said. “We deserve it because we are writing a new chapter in history.
“But we are perfectly aware that 70 per cent of the Flemish did not vote for us and we need to build new bridges with them.”
It was a conciliatory message from the man who says he wants to see the gradual “evaporation” of Belgium, but De Wever has little choice. Belgian politics are such that no party can rule alone.