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Liberalism in Belgium

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Title: Liberalism in Belgium  
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Subject: Liberalism in Europe, Paul Janson, Désiré Vervoort, Émile Digneffe, Liberal Party (Belgium)
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Liberalism in Belgium

This article gives an overview of liberalism in Belgium. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ denotes another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it is not necessary that parties labeled themselves as a liberal party.


Liberalism was a dominant force since the Belgian independence from the Netherlands.


Since 1972 the traditional liberal current is divided in parties for each language. In Flanders the liberal Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten, member LI, ELDR), comprising both market and left of center liberals, is one of the dominant parties. Smaller liberal parties are Spirit, allied with the social democrats, and Vivant, allied to the VLD. In the French-speaking part of the country the nowadays center liberal Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur, member LI, ELDR) is one of the major parties. Affiliated with this party is the German-speaking Party for Freedom and Progress (Partei für Freiheit und Fortschritt).

Liberal Party/Party for Freedom and Progress

  • 1846: Liberals formed the Liberal Party (Parti Libéral)
  • 1887: A radical faction seceded as the ⇒ Progressive Party
  • 1900: The ⇒ Progressive Party rejoined the party
  • The party name gradually included the Dutch version Liberale Partij
  • 1961: The LP/PL is reorganised into Party for Freedom and Progress (Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang/Parti pour la Liberté et le Progrès) (PVV/PLP)
  • 1972: The PVV/PLP fell apart in three parties with the same name in the three state languages (French, Dutch and German)

Progressive Party

  • 1887: A radical faction of the ⇒ Liberal Party formed the Progressive Party (Parti Progressiste)
    • 1900: The PP merged into the ⇒ Liberal Party

(Flemish) Party for Freedom and Progress/Flemish Liberals and Democrats

(Francophone) Party for Freedom and Progress/Liberal Reformist Party

(Brussels) Liberal Party

  • 1973: The Brussels section of the ⇒ PLP formed the Liberal Party (Parti Libéral)
  • 1979: The Liberal Party merged into the ⇒ Liberal Reform Party

(German speaking) Party for Freedom and Progress

  • 1976: The German-speaking section of the ⇒ PLP became the present-day Party for Freedom and Progress (Partei für Freiheit und Fortschritt)
  • 2002: The PFF became affiliated to the ⇒ Reformist Movement

Libertine party during the 1990s

New liberal parties formed in the 2000s

Liberal leaders

Liberal thinkers

In the Contributions to liberal theory the following Belgian thinkers are included:

See also

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