Forward (Belgium)


Forward (Dutch: Vooruit, pronounced [voːˈrœy̯t] (listen)) is a Flemish social democratic political party in Belgium.[5][6][7][8] The party was known as the Flemish Socialist Party[9][10][11] (1978–2001: Socialistische Partij, SP; 2001–2021: Socialistische Partij Anders,[lower-alpha 1] SP.A) until 21 March 2021, when its current name was adopted.[12]

Forward

Vooruit
PresidentConner Rousseau [nl]
Founded1978
Preceded byBelgian Socialist Party
HeadquartersGrasmarkt 105/37,
Brussels
Youth wingYoung Socialists
Membership (2014) 49,703[1][2]
IdeologySocial democracy[3]
Political positionCentre-left[4]
European affiliationParty of European Socialists
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
European Parliament groupProgressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Francophone counterpartSocialist Party
Colours  Red
Chamber of Representatives
(Flemish seats)
9 / 87
Senate
(Flemish seats)
4 / 35
Flemish Parliament
13 / 124
Brussels Parliament
(Flemish seats)
3 / 17
European Parliament
(Flemish seats)
1 / 12
Flemish Provincial Councils
18 / 175
Website
vooruit.org

The party was founded following the linguistic split of the Belgian Socialist Party in 1978, which also produced the Francophone Socialist Party. The Belgian Socialist Party itself consisted of former members of the Belgian Labour Party.

From December 2011 to September 2014, the party was part of the Di Rupo Government, along with its Francophone counterpart. In 2020, it re-entered federal government as part of the De Croo Government. The party has been a part of the Flemish Government several times.

History


1885–1940

1940–1978

Since 1978

The party was the big winner in the 2003 election, running on the SP.A–Spirit joint list (cartel) with the social-liberal party Spirit. Their share of the vote went up from 9% (of the total Belgian vote) to almost 15%, a second place in the number of votes. The main victim of this resurgence was the Green! party (formerly known as Agalev). SP.A was part of the "purple" federal coalitions of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt from 12 July 1999 until 10 June 2007, which contained both the Flemish and Francophone liberal and social-democratic parties.

In 2004, the SP.A along with its partner Spirit lost the elections for the Flemish Parliament. Although they won more seats in comparison to the Flemish elections of 1999, their percentage of the vote compared to the successful 2003 federal elections was considerably down. The reputation of then party leader Steve Stevaert took a beating too.

The party was briefly led by Caroline Gennez, after former president Steve Stevaert left to become governor of Limburg. Johan Vande Lanotte, who served as Minister of the Budget in the federal Government, was elected President and resigned as minister to become President on 17 October 2005. He resigned 11 June 2007, after SP.A–Spirit lost the elections for the federal parliament of 10 June 2007.[13] In these federal elections, the cartel won 14 out of 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 4 out of 40 seats in the Senate. Afterwards, Caroline Gennez was elected President by the party members.

As of May 2009, SP.A was in opposition in federal politics. Unlike its Francophone counterpart, the Socialist Party (PS), SP.A was not a participant in the Leterme II Government.

In January 2009, the party had apparently changed its name to Socialists and Progressive Differently (Dutch: Socialisten en Progressieven Anders). This name change was retracted and the party baseline was changed from Social Progressive Alternative (Dutch: Sociaal Progressief Alternatief) to Socialists and Progressive Differently (Dutch: Socialisten en Progressieven Anders).[14]

In the 2010 federal election, SP.A won 13 seats with 9% of the overall vote. The party was a member of the Di Rupo Government formed on 6 December 2011, until the elections in 2014. In the elections for the Chamber of Representatives on 25 May 2014, SP.A scored again 9% and received 13 seats, in contrast to their francophone Socialist Party counterparts, who lost 3 seats and whose share of the vote decreased by 2%. In the Flemish Parliament, SP.A have 18 representatives, deriving from around 14% of the vote—this is a small reduction on the 2009 parliament, where SP.A had 19 seats, deriving from 15% of the popular vote. From 2009–2014, SP.A participated in the Flemish Government, in an uneasy coalition with the CD & V and the N-VA. From 2014 onwards, SP.A formed part of the opposition in Flanders, as the regional government reflected the Flemish component of the federal administration, consisting of coalition of the Open-VLD, CD & V and the N-VA.

In January 2018, the party advocated for a "new socialism" and a "new equality".[15][16] In September 2020, party leader Conner Rousseau announced a renaming of the party to Vooruit ("Forward").[17] The new name was made official on 21 March 2021.

Presidents


Presidents of the SP[18]
Period President
1978–1989 Karel Van Miert
1989–1994 Frank Vandenbroucke
1994–1998 Louis Tobback
1998–1999 Fred Erdman
1999–2001 Patrick Janssens
Presidents of Forward[18]
Period President Vice-President
2001–2003 Patrick Janssens
2003–2005 Steve Stevaert Caroline Gennez
2005 Caroline Gennez (ad interim) N/A
2005–2007 Johan Vande Lanotte Caroline Gennez
2007–2011 Caroline Gennez Dirk Van der Maelen
2011–2015 Bruno Tobback Joke Quintens
2015–2019 John Crombez Stephanie Van Houtven
2019–present Conner Rousseau [nl] Funda Oru

Members holding notable public offices


European politics

European Parliament
Name Committees
Kathleen Van Brempt International Trade

Federal politics

Chamber of Representatives
NameNotesNameNotes
Melissa Depraetere Faction leader Vicky Reynaert
Jan Bertels Ben Segers
Bert Moyaers Kris Verduyckt
Anja Vanrobaeys Joris Vandenbroucke
Karine Jiroflée
Senate
TypeNameNotes
Co-opted Senator Bert Anciaux Faction leader
Community Senator Kurt De Loor
Community Senator Katia Segers
Community Senator Annick Lambrecht
Belgian Federal De Croo Government
Public Office Name Function
Deputy Prime Minister Frank Vandenbroucke Social Affairs and Public Health
Minister Meryame Kitir Development Cooperation and Urban Policy

Regional politics

Flemish Parliament
NameNotesNameNotes
Hannelore Goeman Fraction Leader Conner Rousseau Party President
Kurt De Loor Community Senator Freya Van den Bossche
Annick Lambrecht Community Senator Steve Vandenberghe Mayor of Bredene
Maxim Veys Katia Segers Community Senator
Bruno Tobback Caroline Gennez
Hannes Anaf Els Robeyns Mayor of Wellen
Ludwig Vandenhove
Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
NameNotes
Fouad Ahidar
Els Rochette
Hilde Sabbe
Brussels Regional Government Vervoort II
Public Office Name Function
Minister Pascal Smet Urbanism, European and International Affairs, Foreign Trade, Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Assistance

Provincial politics

Provincial Council
Province Percentage Seats
Antwerp 12,80%
10 / 72
Limburg 20,10%°
13 / 63
East Flanders 12,70%
9 / 72
Flemish Brabant 12,10%
8 / 72
West Flanders 15,80%
12 / 72

° In Limburg, SP.A formed a cartel with Groen.

Electoral results


Chamber of Representatives

The main six Flemish political parties and their results for the Chamber of Representatives from 1978 to 2014 in percentages for the complete kingdom
Election Votes  % Seats +/- Government
1978 684,976 12.4
26 / 212
Coalition
1981 744,593 12.4
26 / 212
Opposition
1985 882,200 14.6
32 / 212
6 Opposition
1987 915,432 14.9
32 / 212
0 Coalition
1991 737,976 12.0
28 / 212
4 Coalition
1995 762,444 12.6
20 / 150
8 Coalition
1999 593,372 9.5
14 / 150
6 Coalition
2003* 979,750 14.9
23 / 150
9 Coalition
2007 684,390 10.3
14 / 150
9 Opposition
2010 602,867 9.2
13 / 150
1 Coalition
2014 595,190 8.8
13 / 150
0 Opposition
2019 455,034 6.7
9 / 150
4 External support (2020)
Coalition (2020-)

Senate

Election Votes  % Seats +/-
1978 678,776 12.4
13 / 106
1981 732,126 12.3
13 / 106
0
1985 868,624 14.5
16 / 106
3
1987 896,294 14.7
17 / 106
1
1991 730,274 11.9
14 / 106
3
1995 792,941 13.2
6 / 40
8
1999 550,657 8.9
4 / 40
2
2003[lower-alpha 2] 1,013,560 15.5
7 / 40
3
2007 665,342 10.0
4 / 40
3
2010 613,079 9.5
4 / 40
0

Regional

Brussels Parliament
Election Votes  % Seats +/- Government
D.E.C. Overall
1995 11,710 2.7 (#9)
2 / 75
Coalition
1995 9,987 2.4 (#9)
2 / 75
0 Coalition
1999[lower-alpha 3] 13,223 21.8 (#4) 3.1 (#8)
2 / 75
0 Coalition
2004[lower-alpha 2] 11,052 17.7 (#3) 2.4 (#8)
3 / 89
1 Coalition
2009 10,085 19.5 (#2) 2.2 (#6)
4 / 89
1 Opposition
2014 10,450 19.5 (#2) 2.3 (#8)
3 / 89
1 Coalition
2019 10,540 15.1 (#3) 2.3 (#10)
3 / 89
0 Coalition
Flemish Parliament
Election Votes  % Seats +/- Government
1995 733,703 19.4 (#3)
25 / 124
Coalition
1999 582,419 15.0 (#4)
19 / 124
6 Coalition
2004[lower-alpha 4] 799,325 19.7 (#4)
22 / 124
3 Coalition
2009 627,852 15.3 (#3)
19 / 124
3 Coalition
2014 587,903 14.0 (#4)
18 / 124
1 Opposition
2019 429,631 10.1 (#5)
12 / 124
6 Opposition

European Parliament

Election Votes  % Seats +/-
D.E.C. Overall
1979 698,889 20.9 (#2) 12.8
3 / 24
1984 979,702 28.1 (#2) 17.1
4 / 24
1
1989 733,242 20.0 (#2) 12.4
3 / 24
1
1994 651,371 17.6 (#3) 10.9
3 / 25
1999 550,237 14.2 (#4) 8.8
2 / 25
1
2004[lower-alpha 2] 716,317 17.8 (#3) 11.0
3 / 24
1
2009 539,393 13.2 (#4) 8.2
2 / 22
1
2014 555,354 13.2 (#4) 8.3
1 / 21
1
2019 434,002 10.2 (#6) 6.4
1 / 21
0

Symbols


Notes


  1. Dutch pronunciation: [soːʃaː'lɪstisə pɑrˈtɛi̯ ˈɑndərs] (listen), lit.'Socialist Party Differently'
  2. In cartel with Spirit
  3. In cartel with Agalev
  4. In coalition with Spirit; 25 seats won by SP.A/Spirit

References


  1. "Open VLD heeft de meeste leden en steekt CD&V voorbij". deredactie.be. 30 October 2014.
  2. "Open Vld telt meeste leden". De Morgen. 30 October 2014.
  3. Nordsieck, Wolfram (2019). "Flanders/Belgium". Parties and Elections in Europe. Retrieved 30 May 2019.
  4. Josep M. Colomer (2008). Comparative European Politics. Taylor & Francis. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-203-94609-1.
  5. Hans Slomp (2011). Europe, A Political Profile: An American Companion to European Politics. ABC-CLIO. p. 465. ISBN 978-0-313-39182-8.
  6. Dimitri Almeida (2012). The Impact of European Integration on Political Parties: Beyond the Permissive Consensus. CRC Press. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-136-34039-0.
  7. Ari-Veikko Anttiroiko; Matti Mälkiä (2007). Encyclopedia of Digital Government. Idea Group Inc (IGI). p. 397. ISBN 978-1-59140-790-4.
  8. Cas Mudde; Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser (2012). Populism in Europe and the Americas: Threat Or Corrective for Democracy?. Cambridge University Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-1-107-02385-7.
  9. "sp.a - the Flemish Socialist Party". sp.a. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  10. "Conner Rousseau is the new leader of the Flemish Socialist Party". VRT NWS. 8 November 2019. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  11. Von der Burchard, Hans (21 May 2018). "Belgian socialist party circulates 'deep fake' Donald Trump video". Politico. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  12. Torbeyns, Anouck (21 March 2021). "SP.A is officieel Vooruit: 'Definitief afstand van de stilstand'". De Standaard (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 March 2021.
  13. "Vande Lanotte gooit handdoek in de ring" (in Dutch). VRT. 11 June 2007. Retrieved 12 June 2007.
  14. Naam van sp.a verandert niet, begeleidende slogan wel Archived 20 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine ("Sp.a name doesn't change, baseline does"), GvA, 17 January 2009
  15. "Le sp.a pour un "nouveau socialisme" et de "nouvelles égalités" (in French). RTBF. 21 January 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  16. "Le sp.a pour un "nouveau socialisme". Le Vif/L'Express (in French). 21 January 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2020.
  17. Arnoudt, Rik (9 September 2020). "SP.A verandert binnenkort van naam en gaat "Vooruit" heten". VRT NWS (in Dutch). Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  18. "sp.a partijvoorzitters". Tijdslijn.s-p-a.be. Archived from the original on 9 October 2009. Retrieved 19 June 2010.

Further reading