At the 14 October local elections, the PTB (Parti du Travail de Belgique, Workers’ Party of Belgium) – the only national party in Belgium – has made a breakthrough in the major cities of Flanders, while making further progress in Brussels and Wallonia.
Particularly noteworthy are the results in Brussels, capital of Europe, with 11.6%; Antwerp, the second largest port city in Europe, with 8.7%; the two most important cities in Wallonia, Liège with 16.3% and Charleroi with 15.7%; and Ghent, the second largest city in Flanders, with 7.1%. “We have achieved our objectives across the country”, reacted Peter Mertens, chairman of the PTB. “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.
In Antwerp, the PTB has obtained 8.7 % of the votes, i.e. 4 seats in the communal council and 19 seats in the district councils (the Antwerp municipality is divided into 9 districts). “Antwerp has been the most difficult battle”, says Peter Mertens. “The N-VA (the Flemish nationalist party directed by mayor Bart De Wever) has headed the most expensive campaign ever and has maintained its positions surprisingly well.
Under such circumstances we are, of course, satisfied with the results obtained.” For the first time, the PTB is entering the municipal councils of provincial capitals Ghent (3 seats), Leuven (1 seat) and Hasselt (2 seats), and has gained a first seat in six important medium-sized cities . “Thanks to its breakthrough in these various cities, the PTB is on track towards getting elected officials in the federal and Flemish parliaments of the northern part of the country for the first time of its history, on the occasion of the 2019 federal and regional elections”, remarked Peter Mertens.