WOMEN FAVOUR THE CHURCH The " Belgian Gandhi"
From Our Own Correspondent
Last Sunday the General Communal Elections took place in every municipality in Belgium.
The present elections had the special interest of the woman's vote. A law passed in 1926 placed all Belgian women under the. obligation to vote, once they attained the age of 21. But women do not vote at Parliamentary elections—save the female relatives of deceased war heroes and women who suffered imprisonment at the hands of the Germans for political offences during the war.
Women voters outnumber men voters. The women total 2,782,820, the men 2,621,451 of the population Ivhich is 8,330,959.
Anti-clericals do not favour the vote for women for the simple reason that the women of Belgium stand staunch by their religious principles.
Setback for Marxists Broadly, the results show that where Catholic Concentration was observed, the Catholics have scored victories, or gained good ground. This concentration was a union on one list of Catholic elements including the Rexists, and the National Flemings. This is the outstanding feature of the day.
In general the Marxists have everywhere suffered a notable setback, The Communists have lost ground. The Socialist forces have not registered any advance, and have certain defeats to deplore.
Rexism has not secured the success it anticipated. It was the first time that the Rexists entered the lists at the Communal elections.
Antwerp anti-clericals have been defeated. The Liberal Socialist majority is overthrown.
One feature of the Antwerp polling is the surprising election—thanks to the queer working of the Proportional Representation system—of an eccentric individual of the name of Frenssen who entered the lists as a freak .with a collection of other freaks. The remarkable thing is he has come in with no less than six candidates elected.
The Catholic Party leader described Franssen to me. " He is the Belgian Gandhi." A very apt description. This ragged, long-haired, unkempt, barefooted idealist, with the most illogical theory and programme, known for years by his parading the streets selling pamphlets and odd foods, is now the leader of a party that counts in the balance of the council, He is an ex-Communist.