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The Christene Volkspartij (E: Christian People Party) was the first Belgian Christian democratic political party. The party was founded in 1891 by the Belgian priest Adolf Daens, who was inspired by the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum of Pope Leo XIII.

History

The first meeting of the founders, Christian democrats form the region of Ninove who called themselve Roelanders: Vanlangenhaeke, Van de Velde, De Backer, Lambrecht, Sterck, De Pelsmaecker and Pieter Daens from Aalst (brother of Adolf Daens), was organized on 15 April 1893 at Okegem. In July 1893 the party program, which was in the mean time drafted by Adolf Daens, was approved.

Adolf Daens founded the party as an alternative for socialism and the conservative Catholic Party. He emphasized the social problems of the time and linked them to the need for social facilities and also a Flemish political programme, aimed at creating a favorable political climate in Flanders.

His political movement had significant success in the region of Aalst, but was opposed by the (Catholic) elite, and by the Roman Catholic Church. In spite of all opposition the Christelijke Volkspartij succeeded to gain seats in the Belgian parliament. Priest Daens got especially into conflict with the conservative Catholic leader Charles Woeste and tried to get support of the Socialists. During the municipality Council elections of 1899 the Daensists even cooperated with the Socialists in Brussels. In the same year Adolf Daens was removed from his office as a priest. When the Christelijke Volkspartij started to grow and threatened the political power of the Socialists, they abandoned further cooperation.

After his political career, Daens lived in Aalst where he remained leader of the movement until his death in June 1907. Daensism had a permanent influence in the arrondissment Aalst and created the foundations of Christian democracy in Belgium.

See also

Source

  • Elias MR DR H.J. Priester Daens en de christene volkspartij, 1893–1907, Aalst, Dietschland S.V. 1940.
  • Th. Luykx and M. Platel, Politieke geschiedenis van België, 2 vol., Kluwer, 1985
  • E. Witte, J. Craeybeckx en A. Meynen, Politieke geschiedenis van België, Standaard, 1997
  • Priester Daensfonds
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