Who are you, Philippe Close?

After Yvan Mayeur’s resignation on the 8th of June, due to the Samusocial scandal, Philippe Close will take his office as new mayor of Brussels. Brussels Express introduces you to the new mayor of your city.

Philippe Close will only take his office at the end of the month as Yvan Mayeur, the current mayor, will officially leave his position on 26 June. Although he is then not mayor yet, he already knows how the city hall works.

Philippe Close has indeed been very committed to Brussels and politics for about 17 years. He started his Brussels’ political carrier as Freddy Thielemans‘ head of cabinet in 2001, when Mr. Thielemans was the mayor of Brussels. Before he got involved in the Brussels city hall, he also worked as a MP assistant and as Elio Di Rupo‘s spokesman, in 2000.

As he has been used to work closely with the local affairs for years, he got a strong insight into the Brussels’ life. In 2006, he run for the Brussels’ election and he was elected city councillor, with a focus on tourism and city staff. He was re-elected in 2012.

Although holding several mandates has not been very fashionable in the public opinion over the last years, Mr. Close used cumulate several mandates at the same time. According to Cumuleo, he indeed had 29 mandates in 2015, even if only three of them were remunerated. For instance, he used to be MP at the Région Bruxelles-Capitale since 2009, where he was involved in infrastructure and health.

This rugby fan therefore has a strong political background at the socialist party. The mission he has just accepted is however huge. He indeed has to run Brussels over the coming years but he also will have to be a remarkable politician, as the Socialist Party’s reputation has been very affected over the last months in multiple political scandals. The last one with Yvan Mayeur put some pressure on his successor, some months after the Publifin scandal.

To tackle this issue, he however decided not to take all his mandates. He will indeed not sit at the regional parliament and he stated he is only going to be remunerated from his job as mayor. “I will decrease my salary for 30-40%. It is a clear message that I will send to my party and to the citizens to regain a confidence which I know is broken“, he said to RTBF. But it is actually big deal. And only a couple of days after he was chosen to take his future position, he recognised he had not notified two (non-remunerated) mandates he had last year to the Belgian court of auditors.  Let’s see how he will run Brussels and make politics more ethical.