Mayor of Charleroi and federal government negotiator Paul Magnette announced his candidacy for the leadership of the Parti Socialiste. Credit: © Belga

The Parti Socialiste’s (PS) mayor of Charleroi Paul Magnette announced he was throwing his hat in the ring to succeed veteran frontman Elio Di Rupo as the head of the Francophone socialist party.

In a radio interview on Monday, Magnette confirmed he was putting himself up as a candidate to take over Di Rupo, who is set to step down to assume a third term as Minister-President of Wallonia.

“I will be a candidate, and this comes as no surprise. I will not necessarily be the only one, and, ultimately, it will be the party’s supporters who will decide,” Magnette, who is also the mayor of Charleroi, said on RTBF’s La Première morning show.

Di Rupo, who has led the socialist party for a combined seventeen years, announced on Sunday he would leave the PS’ leadership in order to not combine the two roles.

The veteran socialist said that the party would hold presidential elections by the end of October at the latest.

Magnette, who has been representing the PS in the federal government negotiations, said on the radio interview that while he did not rule out a coalition with the right-wing Nieuw Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) party, both political families were diametrically opposed.

“The only issue on which we agree is animal well-being,” Magnette said, adding that the party remained open for discussion.

“If the N-VA declares tomorrow that they agree to raise pensions for everyone to €1,500, raise minimum wages, improve social benefits and access to health care for all (…), then we can talk,” Magnette said.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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