Flemish separatists become Belgium's largest party

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 14, 2010 10:48

 
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BRUSSELS — Voters gave a stunning win in general elections to a Flemish separatist party that wants Dutch and French-speakers to end years of acrimonious linguistic disputes — or go their own way and break up Belgium.

The New Flemish Alliance on Sunday shook up Belgium's hidebound political scene, winning 27 seats, up 19 from the 2007 elections, to become Belgium's biggest party.

The election outcome was seen as a warning to Francophone politicians to negotiate seriously about granting Dutch- and French-speakers more self-rule, or Dutch-speaking Flanders will bolt.

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