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Belgian Premier Suffers Election Setback Socialists Become No. 1 Party, Endanger Martens' Coalition
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Los Angeles, Calif.
Author: Meisler, Stanley
Date: Dec 14, 1987
Start Page: 4
Section: 1; Foreign Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Most Flemish, as the Dutch-speakers are called, do not want to let the Fourons leave Flanders, and the [Wilfired Martens] coalition collapsed a couple of months ago when the French-speaking Christian Democrats refused to go along with the attempt by the Flemish-speaking Christian Democrats in the government to discipline [Jose Happart]. This brought on the election.

The Socialists, according to the midnight projections, made all their gains in Wallonia and the French-speaking areas of Brussels. The Socialists, like all the major parties of Belgium, are actually made up of two political parties, one Dutch-speaking, the other French-speaking. The French-speaking Socialist Party gained six seats during the election, while the Dutch-speaking party gained none.

Guy Spitaels, the French-speaking leader of the Socialists, said the Socialist victory was created both by resentment in Wallonia against the majority Flemish community in Belgium and by worries over the declining economy and the austerity program of Martens.

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