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Socialist Party – Differently

Socialist Party Different
Socialistische Partij Anders
Leader Bruno Tobback
Founded 1885 (BWP/POB)
1945 (PSB-BSP)
1978: (SP)
Headquarters national secretariat
Grasmarkt 105/37 Brussels
Youth wing Animo
Ideology Social democracy,[1]
Third Way[1]
Political position Centre-left[2]
International affiliation Socialist International,
Progressive Alliance
European affiliation Party of European Socialists
European Parliament group Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats
Francophone counterpart Socialist Party
Colours Red
Former names Socialist Party
(Dutch: Socialistische Partij)
Chamber of Representatives
Flemish Parliament
Brussels Parliament
European Parliament
Politics of Belgium
Political parties

Socialist Party Different (Flemish Government.



Main article: Belgian Labour Party



The party was the big winner in the 2003 election, running on the SP.A-Spirit joint list (cartel) with the social-liberal party Spirit. Their share of the vote went up from 9% (of the total Belgian vote) to almost 15%, a second place in the number of votes. The main victim of this resurgence was the Green! party (formerly known as Agalev). The sp.a was part of the "purple" federal coalitions of Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt from 12 July 1999 until 10 June 2007, which contained both the Flemish and Francophone liberal and social-democratic parties.

In 2004, the sp.a along with its partner Spirit lost the elections for the Flemish Parliament. Although they won more seats in comparison to the Flemish elections of 1999, their percentage of the vote compared to the successful 2003 federal elections was considerably down. The reputation of then party leader Steve Stevaert took a beating too.

The party was briefly led by Caroline Gennez, after former president Steve Stevaert left to become governor of Limburg. Johan Vande Lanotte, who served as Minister of the Budget in the federal Government, was elected President and resigned as minister to become President on 17 October 2005. He resigned 11 June 2007, after sp.a-Spirit lost the elections for the federal parliament of 10 June 2007.[7] In these federal elections, the cartel won 14 out of 150 seats in the Chamber of Representatives and 4 out of 40 seats in the Senate. Afterwards, Caroline Gennez was elected President by the party members.

As of May 2009, sp.a was in opposition in federal politics; and unlike its Francophone counterpart the Socialist Party (PS), sp.a was not a participant in the Leterme II Government.

In January 2009 the party had apparently changed its name to Socialisten en Progressieven Anders. This name change was however retracted, and the party baseline instead was changed from "Sociaal Progressief Alternatief" to "Socialisten en Progressieven Anders".[8]

In the 2010 federal election sp.a won 13 seats with 9% of the overall vote. The party is currently a member of the Di Rupo Government formed on 6 December 2011.


Presidents SP[9]
Period President
1978–1989 Karel Van Miert
1989–1994 Frank Vandenbroucke
1994–1998 Louis Tobback
1998–1999 Fred Erdman
1999–2001 Patrick Janssens
Presidents sp.a[9]
Period President Vice-President
2001–2003 Patrick Janssens
2003–2005 Steve Stevaert Caroline Gennez
2005 Caroline Gennez (ad interim) n/a
2005–2007 Johan Vande Lanotte Caroline Gennez
2007–2011 Caroline Gennez Dirk Van der Maelen
2011–... Bruno Tobback

Members holding notable public offices

European politics

European Parliament
Name Committees
Said El Khadraoui Transport
Kathleen Van Brempt Industry, Research and Energy

Federal politics

Chamber of Representatives
Name Notes Name Notes
Flemish Brabant Bruno Tobback faction leader East Flanders Dirk Van der Maelen vice-president sp.a
Antwerp (province) Caroline Gennez president sp.a East Flanders Karin Temmerman
Antwerp (province) Maya Detiège East Flanders Bruno Tuybens
Antwerp (province) David Geerts West Flanders Renaat Landuyt
Flemish Brabant Hans Bonte West Flanders Myriam Vanlerberghe
Limburg (Belgium) Peter Vanvelthoven mayor Lommel West Flanders Ann Vanheste
Limburg (Belgium) Meryame Kitir
Name Notes
Johan Vande Lanotte faction leader
Frank Vandenbroucke
Marleen Temmerman
Bert Anciaux
Guy Swennen Co-opted Senators
Ludo Sannen Community Senator
Güler Turan Community Senator

Regional politics

Flemish Government Peeters II
Public Office Name Function
Viceminister-President Ingrid Lieten Innovation, Public Investment, Media and Poverty Reduction
Minister Pascal Smet Education, Youth, Equal Opportunities and Brussels Affairs
Minister Freya Van den Bossche Energy, Housing, Cities and Social Economy
Flemish Parliament
Name Notes Name Notes Name Notes
West Flanders John Crombez faction leader West Flanders Michèle Hostekint East Flanders Fatma Pehlivan
West Flanders Philippe De Coene Brussels-Capital Region Yamila Idrissi Limburg (Belgium) Els Robeyns
East Flanders Kurt De Loor Antwerp (province) Patrick Janssens mayor of Antwerp East Flanders Jan Roegiers
Flemish Brabant Mia De Vits Flemish Brabant Marcel Logist Antwerp (province) Güler Turan Community Senator
Antwerp (province) Kathleen Deckx Limburg (Belgium) Chokri Mahassine organiser Pukkelpop East Flanders Bart Van Malderen
Antwerp (province) Steve D'Hulster Antwerp (province) Bart Martens Flemish Brabant Else De Wachter
Limburg (Belgium) Ludo Sannen Community Senator
Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
Fouad Ahidar Elke Roex
Sophie Brouhon Jef Van Damme

Provincial politics

Provincial Council
Province votes seats
Antwerp 19,46%
Limburg 25,46%
East Flanders 16,81%
Flemish Brabant 16,20%
West Flanders 20,04%

Election results

Federal Parliament

Chamber of Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers)
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
1981 744,593 12.4 in opposition
1985 882,200 14.6 Increase 6 in opposition
1987 915,432 14.9 Steady 0 in coalition
1991 737,976 12.0 Decrease 4 in coalition
1995 762,444 12.6 Decrease 8 in coalition
1999 593,372 9.5 Decrease 6 in coalition
2003 979,750 14.9 24.9 Increase 9 in coalition
In cartel with Spirit
2007 684,390 10.3 16.3 Decrease 9 in opposition
2010 602,867 9.2 14.6 Decrease 1 in coalition
Senate (Senaat)
Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
1981 732,126 12.3 13
1985 868,624 14.5 16 Increase 3
1987 896,294 14.7 17 Increase 1
1991 730,274 11.9 14 Decrease 3
1995 792,941 13.2 Decrease 8
1999 550,657 8.9 Decrease 2
2003 1,013,560 15.5 24.9 (#1) Increase 3
In cartel with Spirit
2007 665,342 10.0 16.2 Decrease 3
2010 613,079 9.5 15.3 Steady 0

Regional parliaments

Brussels Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
1995 9,987 2.4
1999 13,223 3.1 Steady 0
In cartel with Agalev
2004 11,052 17.7 (#3) Increase 1 in coalition
In cartel with Spirit
2009 10,085 19.5 (#2) Increase 1 in opposition

Flemish Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of language
group vote
# of
overall seats won
# of language
group seats won
+/– Government
1995 733,703 19.45 (#3) in coalition
1999 582,419 15.00 (#4) Decrease 6 in coalition
2004 799,325 19.66 (#4) Increase 3 in coalition
In cartel with Spirit; 25 seats won by SP.A/Spirit
2009 627,852 15.27 (#3) Decrease 3 in coalition

European Parliament

Election year # of
overall votes
 % of
overall vote
 % of electoral
college vote
# of
overall seats won
# of electoral
college seats won
1979 698,889 12.84 20.90
1984 979,702 17.12 28.13 Increase 1
1989 733,242 12.43 20.04 Decrease 1
1994 651,371 10.92 17.63 Steady
1999 550,237 8.84 14.21 Decrease 1
2004 716,317 11.04 17.83 Increase 1
In cartel with Spirit
2009 539,393 8.22 13.23 Decrease 1

See also

  • Johan Vande Lanotte (2010), Vlugschrift – over welvaart en geluk, (ISBN 978-90-486-0629-0.
  • Patrick Vander Weyden & Koen Abts (2010), De basis spreekt — onderzoek naar de leden, mandatarissen en kiezers van sp.a (research on members sp.a by Ghent University), Acco (Leuven/Den Haag), 239 p., ISBN 978-90-334-7571-9.

External links

  • (Dutch) official website sp.a


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