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Brussels’ socialists support Emir Kir in face of removal from party

15:52 21/01/2020

The Brussels faction of PS has offered its support of Saint-Josse mayor Emir Kir, who was kicked out of the French-speaking socialist party at the weekend by its disciplinary committee. The decision was made following a visit last month from several mayors from Turkey, including two representing extreme right party MHP.

Kir, who has Turkish roots, received the mayors in his office on 4 December. They were in town for a European conference. Normally the socialist party invokes a cordon sanitaire against extremist politicians.

“This is unacceptable,” Saint-Josse city councillor Zoé Genot told Bruzz at the time. “I had asked that this visit not take place. A meeting with an extreme right mayor is not allowed, regardless of their nationality.”

Popular mayor

Kir spoke before the PS disciplinary committee last week, insisting that he had not invited the two mayors specifically but the mayors as a group. “I reconfirm that I endorse the values of the PS and repeat my strong condemnation of the extreme right,” he told the committee, adding that in future he would “be more vigilant” in such situations. The committee, however, voted to remove him from the party for violating the cordon sanitaire.

Members of PS in Brussels voted nearly unanimously in support of Kir remaining in the party and remaining mayor of the municipality. Kir is incredibly popular in Saint-Josse, handily winning the last local election and in fact getting the greatest percentage of votes of any party list leader in Brussels.

Kir can appeal his removal from PS within 30 days. If he does not, the decision becomes final. He has not yet announced if he will take that step.

Photo: Benoit Doppagne/BELGA

Written by Lisa Bradshaw