Francophone socialist leader Paul Magnette 'ready' to become Belgian PM

Francophone socialist leader Paul Magnette 'ready' to become Belgian PM
Paul Magnette, the leader of the French-speaking Socialist Party (PS). Credit: Hatim Kaghat/Belga.

Paul Magnette, leader of the French-speaking Socialist Party (PS), is aiming to become Belgium's next Prime Minister if the country's socialist forces win the 2024 elections. The politician also denied rumours that he was eyeing up a job in the EU, as "I still have much more to do in this country in the next five years."

In an interview with Le Soir, the socialist politician revealed his mindset for 2023, the final full year before Belgians head to the polls. As Magnette not only looks to improve his standing within his own party, as he faces no opponents for his re-election as party leader in March, but he also aims to lead the socialists into power after 2024.

Having stepped aside to allow Alexander De Croo to lead the Federal Government in 2020, Magnette says he will not do the same following next year's elections. "The logic is that governments form a majority in the north and south of the country," he explained, "and that the role of Prime Minister goes to the winning party of the first-placed political family." 

As a result, "if our socialist family comes first in 2024 and that PS is ahead of Vooruit, I will not shy away from my responsibilities." Especially as Magnette says he "will not be a candidate for a European position, or an international position."

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When asked which coalition he would want to lead, Magnette stated his preference for "the most progressive majority possible" and "will do everything in my power to avoid the N-VA and confederalism." 

Would that mean accepting the leftist PTB's recent olive branch to form a left-wing alliance? "No, they are not ready to exercise power." According to Magnette, the far-left is still "terrified at the idea of being in responsibility" which led him to deem PTB's recent calls for a union as "rubbish."

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