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Local elections: Ecolo-Groen achieve big gains in Brussels region

21:57 14/10/2018

Green party Ecolo-Groen was a big winner in Sunday's communal elections in the Brussels region, coming first in three of the 19 communes and taking second place in 10 others including Brussels-City.

The party scored a major upset in Ixelles, beating incumbent mayor Dominique Dufourny to win the largest share of seats on the town council. Ecolo also came first in Forest, narrowly beating the mayor's list to take 11 of the council's 37 seats.

The greens also strengthened their position in Watermael-Boitsfort, which until now was Brussels' only commune with an Ecolo mayor. Olivier Deleuze's party gained a further five seats to bring their total to 12.

Ecolo-Groen was the second-biggest party in 10 other communes, almost doubling its number of seats in Saint-Josse, Auderghem, Jette, Etterbeek, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Uccle, while also making gains in Brussels-City, Evere, Saint-Gilles and Schaerbeek.

"The ecologists have won the elections," said Ecolo co-president Zakia Khattabi on Sunday night, celebrating a "wave of green" over the capital.

In Brussels-City, the Socialist party emerged relatively unscathed from the recent Samusocial scandal, with mayor Philippe Close's list remaining comfortably the largest on the city council, forming a majority with second-place Ecolo and the new group Change.brussels.

The Socialists also enjoyed a good result in Molenbeek, coming first ahead of mayor Françoise Schepmans. Left-wing workers' party PTB-PVDA managed third place in Molenbeek, going from one council seat to seven. Anderlecht was also a successful commune for the PTB, where it came fourth, winning seven seats.

Four incumbent mayors achieved absolute majorities: in Saint-Josse (Emir Kir/PS), Auderghem (Didier Gosuin/DéFi), Evere (Rudi Vervoort/PS) and Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (Olivier Maingain, DéFi). In Saint-Gilles, PS mayor Charles Picqué lost his absolute majority but still won the most council seats, 17 out of 35.

Ganshoren is set to have Brussels' first black mayor. Footballer Vincent Kompany's dad, Pierre, led the Pro-Ganshoren list, scoring nine of the council's 27 seats, with the outgoing mayor's list only coming third.

Photo: Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga