Melissa Depraetere will lead Vooruit until next elections

Melissa Depraetere has been appointed interim leader of the Flemish socialist party Vooruit until the next elections, the party announced on Saturday.

The 31-year-old MP was until today the party's federal parliamentary group leader. A successor for this position will be appointed soon. Belgium will hold European, federal and regional elections on 9 June 2024.

Former party leader Conner Rousseau resigned on Friday over racist remarks he made in early September. He is alleged to have urged police officers to use their truncheons against members of the Roma community. 

The incident had come to light earlier, but a leak of Rousseau's exact words by the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad sparked fresh outrage this week.

Depraetere condemned Rousseau's comments on Saturday. "What he said is very wrong and unacceptable. It is inconsistent with what we and Conner stand for. There should be no doubt about that," she said.

She will have the difficult task of leading Vooruit to victory in the 2024 elections. Under Rousseau, who became the party's leader at the end of 2019, Vooruit has risen sharply in the polls. The party won 10 per cent of the vote in Flanders in 2019 and is now polling at 16 per cent.



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