Flemish party ahead in Belgium

The Flemish separatist N-VA party claimed victory after yesterday's general election in Belgium, as projections showed them on course to gain the most seats in the lower house.

"The N-VA has won the election today," leader Bart De Wever told cheering supporters. TV projections showed the N-VA, which wants to split Belgium, would be the biggest party in the country as a whole – a result that could complicate efforts to form a coalition capable of delivering reforms of the state and tight budgetary control.

Flemish public broadcaster VRT estimated the N-VA would win 30 of the 150 seats in the lower house of parliament, up from eight previously.

It forecast heavy losses for the Christian Democrats and the Liberals, former partners in government. The French-speaking Socialists, whose leader Elio Di Rupo has been widely tipped to become Prime Minister, were expected to gain six seats, giving them 26 overall.