More than 100 people participated in a sit-in on Monday from 12.00 to 14.00 on the Grand-Place square of Brussels at the gates of the town hall. The sit-in was aimed at calling for a change of political culture following the resignation last week of Yvan Mayeur as mayor due to the Samusocial affair. The sit-in took place in a calm atmosphere, with no slogans or speeches. “I was outraged by the Samusocial scandal”, said Hylke Gryseels, a Dutch-speaking Brussels resident, on Facebook’s sit-in initiative. “At the announcement of the succession of Philippe Close, I expected at least an apology but they still managed to praise Yvan Mayeur, saying that it is a great loss and that his resignation was a great gesture. We want a different political culture, where values are once again important because they are not even taken into account… It is hard for me to accept that the SP still remains. If the party had acted more strongly as soon as the scandal exploded, I would have had more confidence.” She hopes that with the Publifin affair, or the revelations concerning François Fillon in France, a change of culture will now become possible.
For Zoubida Jellab, an Eclolo municipal councilor who was present at the sit-in, “it is a culture that has been steeped in decades of history and needs an awareness and a cleaning”. “In the wake of Publifin, it was a matter of making a cadastre of all the mandates and then we were told that it was better not to talk about it in the municipal council, that working groups were going to be formed…”, she stressed before addressing the advantages associated with these structures, such as credit cards.
“Power is corrupting in the long run”, Zoubida Jellab said. “At a certain point, we set up a system and we lock into it. Work becomes difficult for the opposition and a great deal of politicisation of the administration has taken place. Political allies are locked into place and we no longer see what happens”.
According to her, the discredit that is cast on the other policies by these events also “paves the way for the extreme right and the Flemish nationalists who teach us that Brussels is badly managed and that they will increase the pressure”.
The Brussels Times