SamuSocial scandal still impacting Brussels political life

The Flemish Socialist Party (SP.A) decided not to form a coalition with its Walloon counterpart (PS) for the October election.

The latest political scandals involving the Walloon Socialist Party (PS) in 2017, both in Wallonia and in Brussels, might have impacted the party more than expected.

The scandal involving the former mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, forced him to resign on 8th June 2017, after he was suspected to have received undue money when being a member of the board of Samusocial, a non-profit organisation that provides support to the homeless. This scandal has led to a significant crisis within the Walloon Socialist party, just a few months after the Publifin scandal, involving Walloon socialists.

After he resigned, Philippe Close took over and became “provisional” mayor of Brussels until the upcoming elections which will be held on 14 October. This devastating scandal was enough to put the party in crisis, but the story did not end there.

After the Samusocial scandal took place, the SP.A, which had presented common lists together with the PS on the last local elections in 2012, decided not to take part in the last majority government, to protest against how the other political parties had behaved in regards to this scandal. This is why Philippe Close ‘only’ runs Brussels together with MR and Open Vld.

Although there was a division in the current local majority, both socialist parties could have decided to enter a coalition once again for the next local elections. But the Flemish socialists deliberated they would campaign alone after a meeting the leaders held last Friday.

No new details have been confirmed, but this move might have an impact on the next composition of the city council; making it a hard election to predict. A first poll, pointed out that the Walloon Socialist Party might lose about 2-2,5% both in cities in Wallonia and in Brussels this October. If these predictions are applied to Brussels, that won’t make any significant change, as the PS largely won the 2012 elections, with about 29,12% of the votes.

PS will surely be part of the next majority as it seems the three current parties are keen to keep on working together. But if it goes down, both because of the defection of SP.A. as well as the affected reputation the PS has faced since the political scandals, Philippe Close, who will lead the socialists, is unsure whether to remain as mayor.