Breakthrough for Flemish separatists in Belgian vote
Brussels: The first results from Belgium's general election on Sunday have confirmed a breakthrough for Flemish separatists, indicating they may emerge as the largest party in the country's Dutch-speaking region.
A handful of results from Flanders show between 23 percent and 32 percent going to the NVA, which favours independence for the richer northern region of the country.
If the figures are reflected throughout Flanders, the separatists would become the biggest party in the region, raising francophone fears of moves to a split and making the formation of any coalition government very difficult.
The electoral win for the separatist NVA (New Flemish Alliance) "if confirmed would be immense, more than doubling their score," from the last elections in 2007, said former Flemish socialist head Steve Stevaert.
On the French-speaking side of the linguistic divide, public television put the PS socialists in front both in francophone Wallonia and in the Brussels capital region; the only officially bilingual part of Belgium.
The early elections were called after the previous five-party coalition led by Christian Democrat PM Yves Leterme broke up over communal differences.