Belgium has been voting in local elections that have taken on added significance in light of the country’s linguistic divide. Flemish nationalists looked set to make strides in pulling away from French-speaking Wallonia. With nearly 80 percent of votes counted late on Sunday, the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) had taken a 36 percent share in the port city of Antwerp, Flanders’ largest city. Across Flanders, the N-VA appeared be garnering 20-30 percent of the vote, compared with just 5 percent in municipal polls six years ago.
… Unlike other nationalist parties which demand full independence, the NV-A is calling for “maximum autonomy.” The day before the election, De Wever told a rally that “the Flemish have had enough of being treated like cows only good for their milk.” Early on Sunday, voting was beset by what officials described as “technical” difficulties, attributed to problems with scanning machines.