Yorick Jansens

Coalition loses majority in municipal election re-run in Bilzen

The coalition that took over control of the Limburg municipality of Bilzen after last October’s municipal elections has lost its majority after Sunday’s re-run of the municipal vote. The re-run was held after the Council of State upheld a complaint about irregularities in last October’s vote made by Bilzen’s former Mayor Johan Sauwens (Christian democrat, photo above).   

Sunday’s result saw Mr Sauwens’ “Trots op Bilzen” (Proud of Bilzen) list remain the largest with (as in October) 12 of the 31 seats.

The current liberal Mayor Bruno Steegen’s (photo below) list gained three seats compared with October and now has ten seats. However, Mr Steegen’s coalition partners both suffered losses, meaning that the current coalition no longer has a majority. The Flemish nationalists lost three of their six seats and the socialist lost two of their three seats, leaving the coalition with 14 of the 31 seats, 1 short of a majority.    

As well as Mr Steegen's liberal list, the other big winner in Sunday’s municipal election re-run was the far-right Vlaams Belang. The party doubled its representation on the municipal council from two to four seats. The greens retain their single seat on the council. 

Yorick Jansens