2018 Communal Elections: Spotlight on Jette

The green wonderland of Magritte

Belgian surrealist René Magritte once lived in this commune. It is not hard to fathom how this place could have provided space and inspiration for his creative genius. Jette is a green wonderland. It spans 5 kilometers of terrain infiltrated and surrounded by woods and parks and a nature reserve. Poelbos, Bois de Dieleghem, Bois du Laerbeek, and Parc Liebrecht are among the many green gems of Jette.

Lying northwest of the Brussels-Capital Region, Jette is a residential commune with vibrant commercial highlights. The northern reaches of the commune features extensive green spaces and several neighborhoods while the southern end is more commercial and densely populated.

Jette has a population of 51,933 or approximately four percent of the Brussels region. Foreign nationals represent 23 percent of the populace with the highest numbers coming from Romania, followed by Morocco, France, Poland, and Italy.

In general, the residents of Jette are middle-class earners. The average income in the commune is higher than the regional average. Unemployment affects about 20 percent of the population, particularly those living in the commune’s southern neighorhoods.

Jette has been under the management of Christian democrats belonging to the Humanist Democratic Center (cdH) for the last three legislative terms. From 2012 to 2018, they shared leadership with members of the Reformist Movement (MR), the Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open Vld), Ecolo-Groen, and DéFI (Democratic, Federalist, Independent). The opposition consisted of members of the Socialist Party (PS), the Socialist Party Differently (sp.a), Les Libéraux, and the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA).

Communal progress over the last six years came in the form of a new school, a new sports center, additional daycare facilities, several neighborhood rehabilitations, a tram construction project, a new social grocery store, and an intergenerational housing project. The local government of Jette also led the mobilization against the planned expansion of the Brussels ring road which partly falls within the commune’s territory. Jette residents fear the road widening plan will worsen traffic and air pollution in the commune.

Security and cleanliness are some of the areas that demand more action from the local government of Jette. Burglaries and other incidents of aggression have been reported in some neighborhoods. And more could be done to maintain cleanliness in communal parks and other public areas.

For the communal elections this year, cdH and independent candidates will once again run under the Liste du Bourgmestre de Jette (LBJ) or the mayor’s list while MR is joining forces with Open Vld. Ecolo and Groen are campaigning as one group, PS and sp.a are running on the same ticket, and DéFI is going solo.

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