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Philippe Close turns down parliamentary seat to retain role as Brussels mayor

Philippe Close - Brussels mayor - Belga
19:38 12/06/2024

Brussels mayor Philippe Close (PS), elected as MP in the federal parliament in Sunday's elections, will not be taking up his seat, reports Le Soir.

"I have always said that I want to remain mayor of the capital," he told the newspaper. Replacing him in the chamber will be Khalil Aouasti, who was the first deputy on the PS list in the elections on 9 June.

Due to Brussels region’s rules on accumulating political positions, Close could not step up to the chamber while remaining as city mayor; a role he plans to campaign for in the municipal elections on 13 October.

Similar dilemmas face three other politicians in Brussels who are newly elected as MPs: Ahmed Laaouej (mayor of Koekelberg), Ridouane Chahid (mayor of Evere) and Françoise Schepmans (alderman of Molenbeek).

King appoints Bart De Wever as ‘informateur’

Meanwhile, King Philippe has designated N-VA leader Bart De Wever as the official negotiator to coordinate talks to form a federal government, the royal palace announced on Wednesday.

A first report is expected on 19 June. “This mission aims to identify parties wishing to quickly form a stable coalition at the federal level and to identify its main political orientations,” the palace said in a press release.

The statement followed a meeting between the King and the party leader on Wednesday afternoon.

Currently mayor of Antwerp, De Wever is the president of the nationalist N-VA party that topped Sunday’s federal, regional and European elections.

He was widely tipped to be the first party leader to be tasked with the role of launching exploratory talks for a coalition federal government.

Photo: Philippe Close ©James Arthur Gekiere/Belga

Written by The Bulletin