Mars voor Gelijkheid
(March for Equality)
|Capital||Antwerp (de facto)|
|Government||Single-Party Strassonist State|
|Establishment||24th October 2014|
• Declaration of Independence
|24th October 2014|
• Recognition of Independence
|3rd December 2014 (only by Westland)|
|13,522 km2 (5,221 sq mi)|
• 2015 estimate
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
Flanders is only recognised by Westland who officially began relations on the 3rd of December 2014, and many political commentators believe Flanders to be a de facto puppet state of Westland following the Strassonist revolution. Despite this, Flanders is not recognised by the League of Nations or any other political entity and remains under de facto control of the Belgian government.
Flanders is a Single-party Strassonist State which operates with a Presidential System according to the uncodified and partly-written constitution which was first implemented in November 2014. Currently, the Head of State and Government is vested within the Minister-President of Flanders, currently Fons Aafjes, who is also the current leader of the Strassonist Party of Flanders. The office of Minister-President has considerable power under the interim regime. The unicameral legislature, the People's Chamber of Flanders largely exists currently as a rubber-stamp body however under the future constitutional plans, it will have more power in governance.
The official language of Flanders is Dutch, which is commonly referred to as 'Flemish' within the state. The state claims to cover a total area of approximately 13,000 km2, however administers far less. Territory frequently changes hands between Flemish and Belgian control. The de facto capital of Flanders is Antwerp which is currently where the interim government meets.
Outbreak of the Revolution
The Flemish People's Republic was officially declared on the 24th of October 2014 at the initial climax and beginning of the period now known as the Flemish Revolution. This came following several weeks of unrest and protest by trade unionists and other protestors over pay cuts to public sector workers in Flanders and across Belgium. Major organisations involved in the protests and declarations include the Strassonist Party of Flanders and the Trade Unionist Party of Flanders, the latter formed in response to the protests and subsequently later involves in the Flemish People's Revolutionary Army (FPRA) which is affiliated to the Strassonist Party.
Government and public buildings in the Belgian city of Antwerp were stormed and occupied by protestors from the FPRA during October which allowed the People's Republic to officiate it's governance which was led by Strassonist Party leader, Fons Aafjes who became the first interim Minister-President of Flanders. The Belgian Army was scrambled on the 25th, with clashes with the FPRA occuring sporadically. Wallonia and Brussels recieved influxes of people fleeing clashes in Flanders.
On the 3rd of December, Westland's National Assembly passed a statute which officially recognised the Flemish People's Republic as a sovereign and independent state, becoming the first, and still only state in the world to do so. This prompted international criticisms of Westland, while the Chancellor Oska Stärk claimed his country was only 'supporting the right to self-determination of the people.' On the 13th of December the President of the United States, Frank Solomon released a statement at Patch Barracks in Germany, condemning the Flemish Revolution and the Strassonist revolutionaries, and that they are resolute in support for their European ally, Belgium. He also stated that the United States will make the revolution 'more complicated than ever.'
Continuation of the Revolution
Between January and March of 2015 the conflict became somewhat stagnant, and had been compared by several European analysts to the frozen conflict zone in South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh. New sources distributed by the Flemish Socialist government however state that the conflict was still going 'strong' during this period.
The Flemish government issued decrees transforming the Flemish economy towards a Co-operative Socialist system. The nationalisation of major industries in the area and the collectivisation of agriculture ensued, aswell as the assets of wealthy land owners stripped and put back into society. Laws were implemented following Strassonist ideological views.
After several months of limited conflict, the conflict recieved renewed heat when the alleged shooting of three non-combatant Socialist supporters by members of the Belgian army close to the Flemish border on March 28th 2015. The FPRA retaliated with the shooting of two Belgian soldiers which has caused the renewal in intense fighting between the two sides along the Flanders-Belgian border. The Belgian army has reportedly began the shelling of the Flemish de facto capital, Antwerp. Something which countries across the world have criticised the Belgian government for 'endangering the lives of innocent peoples.'
Belgian and Flemish news sources stated that talks began on the 17th of May 2015 between the Flemish interim government and the Belgian government over the establishment of a cease fire, something both sides, particularly the aimingly Pacifist Flemish wanted to work towards. The talks took place in an unamed location between Antwerp and Brussels, the seat of both governments' power.
See Main: Government of Flanders
According to the partly written Constitution of Flanders, it is a Strassonist State which operates within the confines of a Presidential System. The Head of State and Head of Government is the Minister-President of Flanders, who is directly elected in an Executive Election. The Minister-President leads the Executive Branch of government and which is in charge of executing government policy. The current Minister-President is Fon Aafjes, the charismatic and highly popular young leader of the Strassonist Party of Flanders and one of the key figures in the Flemish revolution. Aafjes however is currently unelected by the populace, and is the interim Minister-President, and intends to stand down once elections can be held.
The Legislative arm of the Flemish government consists of the unicameral legislature, the People's Chamber of Flanders. Under current interim government, the chamber is little more than a rubber-stamp legislature, however under future constitutional plans it will have far more power in governance. Currently, the People's Chamber has only met three times since October 2014 with the members currently unelected. Elections for the legislature are expected to be held removing the interim legislature appointed by Minister-President Fons Aafjes. However it is expected that only members of the Strassonist Party or its approved coalition partners may stand for election.
Foreign Relations and Recognition
Flanders has very limited international recognition. It is not recognised as a sovereign state by the League of Nations, and is only recognised by Westland. Westland began diplomatic relations with Flanders in December 2014 following the passing of a statute in the state's National Assembly. The only two Strassonist states in the world, the two countries have strong mutual interests.
Westland is Flanders' only political ally and is a major supporter of humanitarian aid in the state. Westland currently provides medical aid to hospitals alongside logistical support. However Westland has stated it will not become involved militarily and has campaigned to end the violence in Flanders. Britannia is another logistical and humanitarian of Flanders. However has not opened diplomatic relations nor does it officially recognise Flanders as a sovereign state, but has announced its support for Flemish self determination.
See Main: Flemish People's Revolutionary Army
The Flemish People's Republic's military forces currently consists of the Flemish People's Revolutionary Army. The FPRA remains nominally independent and does not serve official military duties of the state, however there is significant coordination between the Flemish government and the FPRA. The FPRA was formerly a Strassonist paramilitary in Belgium, loosely associated with the Strassonist Party of Flanders. However the paramilitary faced criticisms as it went against the Pacifistic tendencies of the Strassonist ideology.
Currently, it is estimated that Flanders has a military force consisting of approximately 15,000 personnel. The Flemish defence policy advocates 'violence as a last resort' however the actions of the FPRA have come under scrutiny from both the Flemish government and foreign commentators.