“We are meeting in the polling booth on the 14th of October to sanction this government’s anti-social policy and to shake up local politics,” the President of the Belgian PTB Peter Mertens said when closing the Manifiesta festival on Sunday. Thousands of people met in Bredene for the festival this weekend. The event officially launched the party’s campaign for the local elections.
The PTB wants to multiply its number of seats by three at the local elections, meaning it wants to get at least 150. Mr Mertens wants to reach out to the bigger cities and reinforce the party’s presence where they already have one. He wants access to housing (maximum rent, operation to improve social housing) and the fight against poverty to be the main elements of the campaign.
After the VRT’s revelations brought certain N-VA candidate’s dealings with the far-right organisation Schild & Vrienden to light, the PTB has appealed to other left-wing parties to refuse any alliance with nationalists. “We could never envisage a coalition with the N-VA, even at local level. I am calling on John Crombez (sp.a) and Meyrem Almaci (Green) to give the same strong signal with no ambiguity,” says Peter Mertens.
The PTB will support the national Union day of action on the 2nd of October. The Marxist party is proposing a “65-60-55 plan”, which would make the legal retirement age 65 again. There will be a right to emancipated retirement at 60, as well as end of career credit from 55.