With every down-tick in the European economy (and many more will follow) eurosceptic and secessionist candidates pick up support.
Consider Antwerp Belgium where secessionist candidate Bart De Wever seems untouchable in Antwerp.
Antwerp is the biggest Flemish city outside Brussels has half a million inhabitants. The present Mayor is the socialist Patrick Janssens, who faces a fierce battle against the popular Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever. If the polls come true, Mr De Wever will take it with ease.
The N-VA has been credited with 37.2% of the votes, against 27.7% for the list of Patrick Janssens, a joint venture between socialists and Christian democrats. An individual poll also puts Bart De Wever ahead, leading Mr Janssens by 10%.
Antwerp Politician Rides Secessionist Wave
The Financial Times reports Antwerp Politician Rides Secessionist Wave.
The moderate nationalist leader of the New Flemish Alliance party (NVA), Mr De Wever has turned a local ballot in Belgium’s business heartland into a referendum on independence for Flanders and the latest polls suggest there is momentum behind his call for secession.
Mr De Wever believes victory in Europe’s second largest port city will revive the call for Flanders’ secession from Belgium just as Spain’s economic crisis has done in Catalonia.
Lex Moolenaar, a veteran political analyst for the Gazet Van Antwerpen, the city’s daily, said an NVA victory would be a historic event in Belgium: “It would enlarge NVA’s power at the regional and national level . . . the next natural step would be towards seeking the independence of Flanders.”
Mr De Wever wants to exploit Flemish resentment at subsidising poorer parts of Belgium and believes the upsurge in secessionist sentiment in Catalonia will help his cause.
As I have said many times …
Eventually, there will come a time when a populist office-seeker will stand before the voters, hold up a copy of the EU treaty and (correctly) declare all the “bail out” debt foisted on their country to be null and void. That person will be elected.
Antwerp is just a mayoral election. But we have seen the same sentiment in numerous regions in Spain. Eventually, something major will happen at the national level.
Moreover, when sentiment does change nationally, that change will be sudden, unstoppable, and of course “unexpected” by the bureaucrats now in charge.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock