Flemish liberals in Brussels change name ahead of 2024 election

Flemish liberals in Brussels change name ahead of 2024 election
Open VLD † Summer conference of Open VLD on June 26, 2022 in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. Credit: Flemish liberal Sven Gatz

Flemish liberals in Brussels are heading to the regional elections in 2024 under a new name: Open.Brussels. The name change from Open Vld was announced at the summer congress in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert on Sunday.

Open Vld is ready for change. Current regional leader Sven Gatz wanted to herald this change with a new name and 12 new faces to attract more voters in the 2024 elections. The new name is Open.Brussels.

"A new generation is ready that has the ambition to help shape Brussels as an international capital. They are clearly looking forward to it and are ready to listen to what is going on in the city," said Minister Sven Gatz.

In addition to MPs Khadija Zamouri and Carla De Jonghe, Gatz stressed that members of his team in municipalities across Brussels are ready. These include Quentin van den Hove (Schaerbeek), Martine Raets (Evere), Vincent Riga (Sint-Agatha-Berchem), Valérie Libert (Ixelles), Kurt Deswert (Woluwe-Saint-Lambert) and Ethel Savelkoul (Etterbeek) who have already taken on local responsibility before.

In Forest, Open.Brussels put newcomer Imane Belguenani (27) forward, who is an active member of the Flemish liberals.  Spokesperson for Open Vld in the Brussels Parliament Frederik Ceulemans (32) will represent Brussels city. In Ixelles, Chloë Van Hoegaerden (28) is set to enhance the liberals' profile, while Sheraz Rafi(41) will strengthen liberals in Anderlecht. Ibrahim El Ouakili (30) joins the Molenbeek team, and the entrepreneur Franc Bogovic (35) will play a key role in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.

On Sunday, the liberals charted the course they want to take moving forward. Economy, education and a better society were key. The liberal team wants to work with the businesses on extended school programs. The group believes that better educational pathways and increased cooperation with companies in Brussels will give young people better chances on the job market.

Welcoming newcomers in Brussels is key for the Flemish liberals. Open Vld Brussels wants to invest in a network called 'Brusselsbuddies', where they idea is to help familiarise newcomers to the city.

In addition, the liberals want to invest in a more liveable city as well as focus on security.

Divided opinions

Not everyone was equally pleased with the name change and Flemish MP Els Ampe reacted on Twitter.

"Stunned that Sven Gatz is announcing a name change. This has not been up for discussion or a vote," Ampe said, adding that she was present at the conference. "Is this a member democracy? I am a Liberal and a candidate in 2024. You can count on me."

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