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Vlaams BlokVlaams Blok is a right-wing Flemish nationalist conservative political party which rejects the state of Belgium, calling for political independence for the Flemish half of the country.
The party first made its appearance in the 1978 general elections, and has experienced a continuous electoral growth (with the exception of the 1981 elections). The Vlaams Blok is particularly strong in and around Antwerp, where it received thirty-three percent of the votes in the last municipal elections.
Since the end of the eighties, it main focus tends to be on "euronationalist" themes such as immigration and criminality. Because of this evolution, some members have left the party, but this doesn't seem to have caused much electoral damage. Many studies and opinion polls show that its electoral support is mainly based on its tough image on immigration and criminality, and on its image as "only real opposition party", rather than on its platform for the creation of an independent Flemish republic. In fact, some polls show that a majority of its electorate is in opposed to the disappearance of the Belgian monarchy.
In 1996, Karel Dillen, who was "President for life" since 1977, appointed Frank Vanhecke as his successor. It is believed by many that Filip De Winter is the party's real strong man.
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