Belgian Worker's Party calls for left-wing coalition in 2024 elections

Belgian Worker's Party calls for left-wing coalition in 2024 elections
The PTB/PVDA's former and current presidents, Peter Mertens and Raoul Hedebouw, alongside grandees from the French-speaking socialist party, Paul Magnette and Elio Di Rupo. Credit: Benoit Doppagne/Belga.

The Worker's Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA) has opened the door to a possible left-wing coalition with the country's socialist and green forces in the run-up to the 2024 elections.

The news was met with scepticism by the French-speaking parties PS and Ecolo, given PTB/PVDA's long-standing opposition to entering governing majorities.

During their first rally of 2023, the radical left-wing party indicated their wishes to further extend their influence in the country. Currently in power in the Flemish municipalities Zelzate and Borgerhout, their aim in 2024 is to gain power on a regional level in light of their ever-improving numbers in polls conducted by Ipsos.

However, due to Belgium's complex multi-party system, they would need to enter into a coalition with other parties to govern. As a result, the party's leader Raoul Hedebouw led a "call to left-wing forces" on Sunday, which he further detailed on the RTBF's airways.

"It's a direct call to PS and Ecolo, as well as Vooruit and Groen [Flemish equivalent parties] on the other linguistic side," he explained, with an alliance allowing his party to move away from the "populist" tag which they have been labeled with. The country's left-wing "must dare to question themselves and rely on us, as were are becoming a rising political force," Hedebouw concluded.

As a result, Le Soir asked the leaders of Ecolo and PS on the possibility of such a coalition, who both expressed their doubts over the seriousness of the far-left's proposal.

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Jean-Marc Nollet, one of the co-leaders in the French-speaking Greens (Ecolo), stated that the radical left-wing party "has no desire to take responsibilities" and that "we also have serious doubts about their capacity to propose credible solutions and to build agreements with other political parties." 

Furthermore, Nollet indicated that PTB/PVDA's refusal to sign a charter that would enforce the "cordon sanitaire" around engaging and debating with far-right parties would most likely prove to be a stumbling block.

In addition, the French-speaking socialist (PS) leader Paul Magnette accused PTB/PVDA counterparts of "pretending to launch an appeal" despite "clearly repeating that they have no intention of entering a Federal or Regional Government." 

In his view, they had followed the same procedure at the last elections "by setting conditions that they know are impossible." For Magnette, any vote for PTB/PVDA is wasted as "they do not lead with any concrete measures to help citizens."

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