Radical left makes breakthrough in Belgium

Photo: Solidaire, Fabienne Pennewaert/PTB.be.

At the October 14 local elections, the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) made some breakthroughs.

PTB chair Peter Mertens said: “For the first time we have moved from an urban phenomenon mostly concentrated in Antwerp and Liège to a breakthrough in most large and medium-sized cities of Wallonia, the Brussels region and Flanders. The number of our local elected officials increases from 50 to 157.”

“During the election campaign, the traditional parties have discussed at length about seats and coalitions,” said PTB national spokesperson Raoul Hedebouw. “The PTB, however, has brought forward issues of substance.

“We have succeeded in imposing themes that would not have been met with any response without us. Quality social housing. Free urban public transport and its importance in the field of ecology. The theme of governance with halving the salaries of mayors in important cities, because elected officials have to live with the people, not in another world.”

On the whole, the Greens have also obtained good results, whereas the scores of Socialist Party are on the decline.

In Flanders, the trend remains generally rightward, with a strong right-wing nationalist party, the N-VA. and a growing extreme-right Vlaams Belang. Together, they won 45% of the votes in the Antwerp municipality.