International journal of urban and regional research vol:29 issue:1 pages:152-+
After the 1995 elections, Flanders' first Minister of Urban Policy was appointed. The development of an urban policy during the second half of the 1990s in this region is incontestably linked to the election victories of the extreme right party, Vlaams Blok, in the bigger cities (particularly Antwerp and Gent). After a brief presentation of the geography of local elections, we try to explain this. This involves making the links between long-term developments and changes and immediate causes. The historic dimension is the development of a stubborn non- or anti-urban attitude. Immediate causes consist of a web of conditions and chancTes. Some have to do with general economic transformations, such as flexibility and structural unemployment; others deal with the particular circumstance of the Belgian state and its politics: huge state debts, the restructuring of the state and the influence of the dominant neoliberal discourse. Still others are the failure of an early urban policy attempt and the appealing elements of the programme presented by the Vlaams Blok.