In the 1981 election the party wins 4% of vote and two seats in the Chamber of Representatives and one in the Senate. Ecolo, the Walloon green party also wins two seats in the Chamber and three seats in the Senate. The political party Agalev is officially founded in 1982. It remains separate of the social movement. Prominent members of the movement Agalev, such as founder Versteylen choose not to join the political party Agalev. In the municipal elections of 1982 the party performs particularly well winning more than 10% in several municipalities. In its first periods in parliament the party functions as a protest party forcing the other parties to take more action against environmental pollution and Third World poverty. The party campaigns on specific environmental issues, such as local anti-nuclear energy protests.
The party wins two additional seats in the 1985 elections, two additional seats in 1987 and one 1991: in that year it won seven seats in parliament. Agalev has become a serious political partner for other parties. In 1992 Agalev is asked to support a constitutional change called the accords of Sint-Michiels, which would make Belgium a federation. Agalev exchanges its support for the constitutional change for a tax on bottles, the first ecotax in Belgium. In the 1995 the party campaigns on a clean hands theme, after a series of political scandals is revealed. The party however loses two seats.
On the national level, the greens, both Ecolo and Agalev are able to enact legislation on several key green issues: the cabinet decides to opt out of nuclear energy, it opens marriage to homosexuals, legalises several thousands of illegal foreigners, enacts an anti-discrimination law and promises to in time spend .7% of the national income on development aid. On the Flemish level organic agriculture is promoted, people with handicaps get personal budgets and a system of time credits is enacts to allow people to combine work, care and free time better. The party however faces several crises. Magda Aelvoet left the federal cabinet in August 2002 over a cabinet decision to trade arms with Nepal, which was at civil war at the time. She was replaced by Jef Tavernier. The Ecolo minister for mobility Isabelle Durant leaves the cabinet just before the elections over the issue of night time air plane flights over Brussels. Finally the party votes in favour of a new election law which puts a 5% threshold for seats in both the Senate and the Chamber.
The 2003 federal election formed a turning point for the party. The party was reduced to 2,6% of the vote, well bellow the 5% limit and the party lost its seats in the Chamber and Senate. In response to the election results the Flemish ministers Mieke Vogels and Vera Dua stepped down. They were replaced by Adelheid Byttebier and Ludo Sannen respectively. The party renewed is its political profile and made some important strategic decisions. Agalev would continue as an independent Flemish progressive Green party. The party congress rejected the proposal of Agalev-Limburg to form a federal cartel with the Sp.a and Spirit . The party also ruled out any participation in the future Flemish government. The party would allow provincial and municipal cartels. The party changed its name to Groen!. The party changed the post political secretary to party president, bringing the party more in line with other Belgian parties. Vera Dua became the first party president. The decision to continue separately led to considerable upheaval within the party, several prominent members, such as Antwerpen councillor Fauzaya Talhaoui and Flemish minister Sannen left the party and joined either SPIRIT or SP.A. Sannen was replaced as minister by Tavernier.
Before the 2004 elections Dua announced that if the party was supported by less than 280.000 votes the independent green political project would end. The party gains enough support to meet this limit, although it lost half it seats in Flanders compared to the 2000 elections. The party won seats from every provincial district except for Limburg, where the support to cooperate with SP.A and SPIRIT was greatest.
In the 10 June 2007 2007 federal election the party returned to the federal parliament. As it again won seats in both the Chamber and the Senate. It got 265,828 (4% of total) and four seats.
After the 2003 election defeat the party renewed its political profile. This also involved a name change to Groen! (English: Green!). The name conveyed a closer alliance to the worldwide green movement with the word green and an independent and positive nature with exclamation mark.
|Year||Chamber||Senate||EP||Fle.||Bru.||Federal Cabinet||Party president|
|1999||9||3||2||12||1||Magda Aelvoet||Jos Geysels|
|2000||9||3||2||12||1||Magda Aelvoet||Jos Geysels|
|2001||9||3||2||12||1||Magda Aelvoet||Jos Geysels|
|2002||9||3||2||12||1||Magda Aelvoet||Jos Geysels|
Green!'s support is distributed in the following way between the electoral districts in the 2007 elections:
|Province||Votes (%)||Result (seats)|
In contrast to other parties Green! MPs face relatively strong regulation: the party does not allow to multiple offices per person, while it is traditional for Belgian MPs to be both mayor of municipality and federal MP for instance; furthermore MPs are not allowed to run for more than two terms; to ensure gender equality every second candidate on the party list has to be female; finally a high percentage of the income of MPs is taxed by the party.
For Belgian standards Green! has relatively little members. It ranges from 2,000 to 6,500. On average this is only 1% of the Green! voters. Traditionally Belgian parties have about 10% of their voter-base as member.
The party's youth organization, Young Green! (earlier Young Agalev) has grown out of local groups of young Groen members, active since the late eighties and early nineties. These local groups started coordinated action in 1996. In 1998 Jong Groen was officially founded.