Joachim Coens (right) came out on top with 53 percent of the votes.

Flemish Christian democrats have a new president: Joachim Coens beats young opponent

The Flemish Christian democrats of CD&V have chosen a new party leader: Joachim Coens beats rising star Sammy Mahdi as the party members opted for continuity. However, Coens only got 53.12 percent of the votes, a relatively small victory. 

Joachim Coens (53) is at the helm of the port of Zeebrugge and is also the Mayor of Damme, a scenic village near Bruges. His opponent, 31-year-old Sammy Mahdi, was the youngest candidate and has a foreign background. 

"Joachim was the choice of the party establishment. Voters have chosen for continuity and peace", political pundits says. Joachim Coens, the son of the former Education Minister Daniël Coens, will have a tough job ahead as he follows in the footsteps of Wouter Beke. While CD&V used to be sure of a big share of the votes decades ago, the party's support has crumbled in recent years. It's up to Coens to get the party out of the doldrums.