Elections 2024: MR puts forward David Leisterh for Brussels minister president, Lahbib in second place

David Leisterh, leader of the liberal MR (Reformist Movement) in the Brussels Parliament, will lead the Brussels list of French-speaking liberals in the elections on 9 June. The party announced this on Tuesday evening during a New Year's reception in Brussels. Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib is in second place.

Leisterh, a confidant of MR president Georges-Louis Bouchez, hopes to become minister-president of the Brussels-Capital Region. Lahbib will join him in the election campaign, said Bouchez: "This is a strong signal to show how important the region is for us".

Optimistic polls

The possibility of Leisterh succeeding the current minister president of Brussels, Rudi Vervoort (PS), is highlighted by a recent poll conducted by the Belgian media VTM, Het Laatste Nieuws and Le Soir. The poll shows that the far-left PTB/PVDA is the most popular party among Brussels residents, with 19.3 per cent. However, MR is also doing exceptionally well, with 18.1 per cent. Moreover, the chances of the PTB/PVDA finding partners for a government in Brussels are low.

Former prime minister Sophie Wilmès, according to polls still the most popular politician in the Brussels-Capital region, will head the Brussels list for the Chamber. The politician returns after stepping down as deputy prime minister and foreign minister in July 2022 to care for her recently deceased husband. In second place is former RTL journalist Michel De Maegd.

Joint list

Open VLD (Flemish Liberal Democrats) secretary of state for the budget Alexia Bertrand could secure the third position, although it is not yet clear. The politician was a long-time MR figure and group leader in the Brussels parliament.

Bertrand's exclusion by MR president Bouchez as the new foreign minister in favour of Lahbib was seen as a personal affront. Only a few months later, the former president of the Open VLD, Egbert Lachaert, unexpectedly offered Bertrand the post of Secretary of State.

In Brussels, MR and Open VLD have been working for some time on a joint Brussels list for the federal elections. For the Open VLD, the common electoral list is an opportunity to secure a seat in the Brussels Chamber with Bertrand. It would be almost impossible for a Dutch-speaking party to do this independently.


MR's David Leisterh pictured during a press conference of French-speaking liberal party MR at their headquarters in Brussels, after a weekly party bureau to communicate on the 2024 elections, Monday 09 October 2023. © BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT

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