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Linguistic identity is too singular. Actually, if I'm not mistaken there used to be national parties before the 1970s, when federalisation set it. But right now there are two completely different communities on diverging economic paths and with completely separated media environments. There is a Dutch language article about this in the Dutch daily NRC. A translated quote:
There is no Belgian media. A political scientist from Antwerp - Dave Sinardet - has researched how much attention there is in the TV news for events across the language border: 3 percent. Even French-speaking ministers of the Belgian government get little time in the Flemish TV, and vice versa. "It is de facto more useful for a Flemish politican to visit the pub around the corner on a sunday afternoon than to go to the studios of RTBF", Sinardet writes in a recently published book (What Belgium stands for).
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 05:57:25 AM EST
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Wow.  It is like Lebanon, but with three groups instead of 18.

right now there are two completely different communities on diverging economic paths and with completely separated media environments.

I hope you'll pardon me for saying this, but that doesn't sound terribly sustainable.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 06:07:54 AM EST
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Which is part of the reason why Verhofstadt's government will probably lose its majority.

(As a clarification: I'm writing this as a Dutchman in Berlin. I can't possibly be offended by anything said about the Belgians. I also have the difficulty of analysing a system I'm not all that familiar with from a distance, but I have a slightly better access to information as I can follow the Dutch-speaking press. I think we have some Belgian readers, like ElcoB IIRC, and I hope they can give additional information)

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 06:17:50 AM EST
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Well a double thanks for your effort, then!  I hope our Belgian readers will chime in.  And I hope none of them are offended by my comment either....
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 06:26:35 AM EST
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Yes, good description.

diverging economic paths..

In general this is true (employement, growth...), however this is exagerated most of the time for political gains.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Fri Jun 8th, 2007 at 11:44:35 AM EST
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