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Belgian vote results show big separatist gains

Raf Casert, Associated Press

Leader of the NVA party Bart De Wever, center, waits in line to cast his vote at a polling station in Antwerp, Belgium, on Sunday Oct. 14, 2012. NVA, a separatist party, wants to use Antwerp as a base for breaking away from Belgium, putting it in the forefront of a European breakaway trend just as the EU celebrates winning the Nobel Peace Prize for fostering continental unity. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

BRUSSELS (AP) -- The leader of a separatist party has won the race to become mayor of Antwerp, Europe's second biggest port city, and vowed to use the power base to seek wider autonomy for Belgium's wealthy Dutch-speaking region of Flanders.

Bart De Wever's NV-A party on Sunday made sweeping gains throughout Flanders and immediately called on French-speaking Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo to give more rights of self-rule to Flanders.

De Wever says "we want to give Flemings the government they want at all levels. That is why I call on Elio Di Rupo and the Francophone politicians. Take up your responsibility."

He says he will work for even bigger gains for separatists at the 2014 national elections.

De Wever has been at odds with ailing French-speaking Wallonia for years.