Belgium's far-right Vlaams Blok party is gaining confidence. Led by Filip Dewinter, the party fiercely opposes immigration and advocates independence for the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders.
The Vlaams Blok party currently holds 15 seats in the the federal parliament, and controls 15% of the the Flemish regional parliament. It draws support from the Flemish-speaking north, in particular in its stronghold of Antwerp, where in local elections in October 2000 it won 33% of the votes. It is now the biggest party in two major Belgian cities.
Ethnic divisions existed in Belgium before the influx of immigrants who now make up more than one tenth of the population. The Vlaams Blok party plays on Franco-Flemish divisions as well as immigration fears.