Belgium's local elections seen as make or break vote for the future
BRUSSELS (AFP) - Belgian local elections on Sunday have taken on unusual importance as a potential make or break vote on the country's future, with Flemish nationalist leader Bart De Wever seeking a big breakthrough.
The outcome is also being closely followed as the eurozone debt crisis tests loyalties in the European Union, driving some such as Catalonia in Spain or Scotland to push harder for independence.
For Mr De Wever, the first prize is Antwerp, Europe's second biggest port and Belgium's economic heart just 40 minutes' drive from Brussels, where his N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) is trying to take the mayor's seat, held for 90 years by the Socialists he derides.
"If we can take Antwerp, then we are waking up in a different country," he told AFP on the campaign trail in a recent interview that shocked the poorer, French-speaking Walloon in the south of the country.