President of the liberal party Mouvement Reformateur MR Georges-Louis Bouchez (L) is the winner of the elections in Wallonia and Brussels. EPA-EFE/OLIVIER HOSLET

News Vote 24

Socialists set to be ousted from Walloon stronghold in historic defeat


Wallonia, the Southern, French-speaking part of Belgium, is set for major upheaval following national elections.

After holding power in the region for many decades, the Socialist Party seems to have received a serious beating on June 9.

While many polls predicted a close race between Liberals and Socialists, the voters in Wallonia appeared to have decided differently. Socialists, according to exit surveys, have taken a big hit, losing 5 per cent of the vote, ending up in third place with 21 per cent.

Early results suggest biggest party in Wallonia would be the right-liberal MR party, gaining 8.4 per cent and ending up with almost 30 per cent.

Socialists (PS) and centrists (Les Engagées) are predicted to be in a close contest, at 21 per cent and 23 per cent respectively. As of writing, the advantage appeared to be with the Socialists, though they look sure to fall below a score needed to form a majority.

Also going against the polls is the projected result of the Marxists, who look set to score less than 12 per cent.

Another big loser in Wallonia would be the Green Party. Ecolo appeared to have lost 7.4 per cent, leaving it on 7.1 per cent, or less than half its previous score.

Polls suggest the hard-right Chez Nous would beat expectations. Many observers did not give it a chance but it seemed to have bagged a seat in Liege, meaning it would be bigger than DéFi, a traditional left-liberal party.

The results, should they pan out as predicted, would mark a sizeable shift to the Right in Wallonia, a region that has traditionally voted for the Socialists.

In Brussels, Liberals were also expected to have jumped ahead, gaining 9.2 per cent, which would give them 26.1 per cent.

Socialists would lose 0.1 per cent from 22 per cent now.

Marxists were predicted to have benefited, coming in third. They looked likely to have won more than 7 per cent on top of their current 20.8 per cent.

Les Engagées seemed to have performed well also, having 10.7 per cent after gaining 3.1 per cent.

The French-speaking Greens were predicted to have done badly, dropping 9.2 per cent, or also being almost cut in half, ending up with 9.9 per cent.

In the Dutch-speaking part of Brussels, the score was very different. There the Greens (Groen) were expected to be the winners. Groen gained 2.2 per cent in the exit polls, leading the Dutch-speaking pack, with 22.8 per cent.

A surprising second in Brussels was Team Fouad Ahidar, led by Ahidar, a former Socialist politician who went on to create the party after leaving Vooruit, with a strong focus on migrants and diversity.

The polls suggested he came in strong, rising from zero to 16.3 per cent, becoming number two overnight.

The centre-right N-VA lost 6 per cent in Brussels, scoring 12 per cent.

Flemish Liberals of Open Vld lost 5 per cent, according to exit surveys, and look set to score around 10.7 per cent. Vlaams Belang gained 2.3 per cent and look set for 10.6 in the capital, while the Socialists appeared to have lost 5.1 per cent, scoring 10 per cent.

The close fight could earn an all-important seat for one of those three.

As of writing, 97.3 per cent of all votes cast in Brussels had been counted.