The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA - New Flemish Alliance) is a young political party whose ancestry is rooted in democratic Flemish nationalism. The N-VA evolved out of the Volksunie (VU - People’s Union) in 2001. The VU was founded in 1954 and made its electoral breakthrough in the 60s and 70s. The VU succeeded in putting sufficient pressure on the traditional parties, with the result that the unitary form of government was reorganized into a federal one. The N-VA was founded in 2001. The Volksunie split up into three groups in 2001. In a referendum on the split, the “Vlaams Nationaal” (“National Flemish”) group, under the leadership of Geert Bourgeois, received most support. This group gave birth to the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) on 13 October 2001. In its manifesto the party describes itself as a democratic Flemish-national party which strives for an independent Flanders as a Member State of the European Union.
The Flemish cartel
The N-VA participated in federal elections for the first time in 2003 but faced the newly introduced electoral threshold of 5 percent. Although the N-VA actually received more than 200,000 votes, only the Chairman, Geert Bourgeois, was elected. In 2004 the N-VA formed a cartel together with the Christian Democrats of the CD&V for the Flemish, Brussels and European elections. The Flemish cartel became the largest formation in Flanders and brought down the “purple-green” (or “rainbow”) government. The N-VA acquired six seats in the Flemish Parliament and one in the European Parliament. Geert Bourgeois became a Minister in the Flemish Government in July 2004. Bart De Wever succeeded him as Party Chairman.
The municipal elections in October 2006 were the N-VA’s second success. The third success was the federal elections of 10 June 2007. The CD&V/N-VA cartel won 29.6% of votes for the Chamber of Representatives and 31.4% for the Senate. The N-VA now had five Deputies and two Senators. However, the government of Yves Leterme (CD&V) did not succeed in putting the state reform on track. After 15 months of negotiating, they were continuously confronted with a “non” from the French-speaking side. On 21 September 2008 the N-VA congress stopped giving their support to the federal government. The Flemish cartel ceased to exist Great breakthrough The N-VA made a great breakthrough on its own. On 7 June 2009 the N-VA surprisingly obtained 13.1% and 16 seats in the Flemish Parliament, one in the Brussels Parliament and one in the European Parliament. Geert Bourgeois and Philippe Muyters became Flemish Ministers, and Jan Peumans became Speaker of the Flemish Parliament. The breakthrough was convincingly confirmed on 13 June 2010. The N-VA became the greatest winner of the federal elections and even the largest party in the country, with 28% of the votes, 27 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 14 seats in the Senate