Nicolas Maeterlinck

Paul Magnette is the Francophone socialists’ new leader

The Mayor of Charleroi and former Walloon First Minister Paul Magnette (photo above, left) has been elected leader of the Walloon socialist party PS. Mr Magnette (who was the only candidate) received the backing of 95.4% of party members that voted. Paul Magnette succeeds Elio Di Rupo (photo above, right) . The former Federal Prime Minister and PS party leader for 20 years Mr Di Rupo is currently Prime Minister in the Walloon regional government that is made up of  socialists, liberals and greens.   

Speaking on Sunday Mr Magnette told journalists that although state reform leading to further devolution is “not a priority” he didn’t explicitly rule them out.

While previously the new leader of the Francophone socialists had always ruled out talks with the largest Flemish party, the Flemish nationalists, he now says “We will now talk to anyone. However that doesn’t mean that it will be easy to reach an accord with these parties”.   

"Talks won’t only be with these parties. He field remains open”. A federal coalition that includes the Francophone socialists and the Flemish nationalist party N-VA is not the only option open. A coalition that includes, the socialist liberals and the greens would also command a majority.