The Rebirth of Flemish Nationalism: Assessing the Impact of N-VA Chairman Bart De Wever's Charisma


  • Dirk Rochtus

    1. Lessius University College
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    • Senior lecturer in International Relations and German History at Lessius University College, Antwerp, Belgium, Association KU Leuven.


Flemish nationalism is back on the scene. The Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), the political voice of democratic Flemish nationalism, emerged as the big winner of Belgium's 7 June 2009 regional elections. To a significant extent, the N-VA owes its success to the charismatic leadership of its chairman, Bart De Wever. This article investigates the nature of De Wever's charismatic authority, as well as its tenability. As the N-VA becomes a more prominent participant in the Flemish government, will the effect of De Wever's charisma wane? If the success of the N-VA is not structural but tied to the charisma of its chairman, will the party lose its prominence if De Wever fades?