Headquarters Brussels, Belgium
|Historical presidents Albert Mechelynck (first)
Omer Vanaudenhove (last)|
Succeeded by Party for Freedom and Progress
Trade Union's wing General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium
The Liberal Party (Dutch: Liberale Partij, French: Parti libéral) was a Belgian political party that existed from 1846 until 1961, when it became the Party for Freedom and Progress, Partij voor Vrijheid en Vooruitgang/Parti de la Liberté et du Progrès or PVV-PLP, under the leadership of Omer Vanaudenhove.
The Liberal Party was founded in 1846 and as such was the first political party of Belgium. Walthère Frère-Orban wrote the first charter for the new party.
The Liberal Party had a clear victory in the 1848 elections, following lower tax requirements that benefited urban populations, where liberals were stronger. The Liberal Party remained in dominant position for the most part of the period from 1848 until 1884, where it lost to Catholics due to the First School War. The Liberal Party suffered even more losses in the next elections, most notable in the 1894 elections, the first ones with universal suffrage. However, they made a comeback in 1900 upon the introduction of proportional representation.
From 1887 until 1900, the Progressive Party (French: Parti Progressiste, Dutch: Progressieve Partij) existed as a separate progressive Liberal party.