Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Casting my Flemish vote

Those in other jurisdictions may like to note how sensible our arrangements for voting are: from 8 am to 3 pm on a Sunday, so you really have to get it over with before lunch; the results are out by early evening; and voting is compulsory (that is, turnout is compulsory; you can always cast a blank ballot). I decided long ago that I would probably vote for Annemie Neyts for the European Parliament, as I know her personally. But now that we are Belgian citizens, we get the bonus of voting in the elections for the Flemish regional parliament also held on Sunday, and I'm not at all sure which way to go.

Both this test and this one suggested that my views are closest to those of the Social Liberal Party. But there are two fairly major problems with them. The first is that their support levels are bubbling around 1% in the polls, way below what will be needed to win a seat. I have no principled objection to voting for candidates who don't win - God knows I've done it often enough - but I do prefer if they are in with the ghost of a chance; there are 20 seats up for grabs in Flemish Brabant, and they aren't really within spitting distance.

The other problem is a very specific one. The SLP's lead candidate in Flemish Brabant happens to come from a part of the world where there is a long-standing conflict in which I am particularly interested, and originates from, as it were, the side I am less sympathetic to. I've been around a lot of international conflicts, and in every case there is an activist diaspora using the political platforms to which they have been elected in other countries to promote their homeland political opinions. I had no idea whether this particular candidate is that kind of diaspora politician, but due diligence before casting my vote for him seemed to me to require that I check out his position on the conflict in his homeland. Unfortunately he has not replied to my emails or to a facebook message on the subject, in which I politely made my own views clear and asked what his position was. I might well been satisfied with a "tragic-situation-supporting-peace-process" type answer, but he didn't even send me that much, so I can't vote for him or his party.

So that leaves me wavering between the other parties; the survey from De Standaard that I linked to above suggests that my views are closest to the Greens (Groen!) and the Liberals (Open VLD). To be honest I have problems with both of them; the Greens are a bit wacky economically and Open VLD are too hardline on law enforcement for my taste. I am leaning towards Open VLD because they were quite close to preventing the odious Vlaams Blok (now Vlaams Belang) from getting a fifth seat last time; the Greens are likely to win a second seat with no chance of a third. But not leaning very much in any direction right now.
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