Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V). Before the late 60s split in the party, the Christian People’s Party was Belgium’s dominant party. The representative of political Catholicism, the People’s Party was especially dominant in religious Flanders. After the split it remained dominant.

It was a part of every Belgian government between 1968 (when the Christian Democrats split) and 1999, holding the Prime Ministership in every government apart from the short-lived Socialist-led Leburton government of 1973-4 and the even shorter-lived Boeynants government of 1978-9, led by a French-speaking Christian Democrat.

However the secularisation of Flemish society has meant that CD&V has been weakened as church attendance falls. In 1999 it was pushed into opposition by a coalition of liberals, socialists and greens.  The change in name to ‘Christian Democratic and Flemish’ happened around this time and was meant to demonstrate a more nationalistic profile.

CD&V has historically tended be a broad-based party, and it has centre-left and centre-right factions, though the latter has tended to dominate.

It is currently a part of the governing coalition and it leads the Flemish regional government under Minister-President Kris Peeters.

CD&V has very poor links and relations with its French-speaking counterpart, the Humanist Democratic Centre, which tends to be one of the biggest backers of a more unitary Belgian state.

The President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, is a former CD&V premier, his experience mediating Belgian parties making him perfectly suited for mediating EU governments.

CD&V is a member of the European People’s Party. CD&V votes alongside its EPP allies 94.9% of the time making it slightly less loyal than average. Nonetheless it is the most loyal of the three Belgian affiliates to the EPP.

 

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