Who is Olivier Maingain?

According to a recent poll conducted by Ipsos, Le Soir, RTL, VTM and Het Laatste Nieuws, Olivier Maingain is currently the most popular politician in Brussels.

Although Maingain does not sound like a very famous Belgian politician for exapts or non-Belgium residents, this man has been being an old political character for years and years in the country. The Federal MP and mayor of Woluwe-Saint-Lambert started his first political mandate in 1988 as a local councillor at the city of Brussels. He then quickly ranked up as he was elected regional MP in 1989 and Federal MP in 1991.

Although he holds significant mandates, he is mainly known as President of ‘Défi’ (Démocrate Fédéraliste Indépendant). Even if Défi officially got that name in 2015, this party is much older (under the name ‘Front démocratique des francophones – FDF). Mr. Maingain became President of FDF in 1995, which makes him the oldest head of party, in terms of longevity, across Belgium.

As head of FDF, he was deeply involved in the strategic partnership with the Mouvement réformateur (ex Parti réformateur libéral), the Charles Michel’s party, in 1993. But for institutional and substantive reasons, FDF decided to leave that alliance and to keep on making politics by itself in 2011.

While local elections will take place on 14 October, as well as regional elections next year, Défi and Maingain seem to appear important stakeholders. Maingain, who has been leading Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, should not face major problem to keep his mandate.

And the rhetoric he has been using for months and months with regard to Belgian political issues and scandals, such as Publifin, made him and his party quite popular in Belgium. According to Cumuleo, although Mr. Maingain holds 15 mandates, ‘only’ two of them are remunerated, which is lower than most of the major political leaders. He also makes no concession with the N-VA. That’s why he has been since last September, at the top of the rank of the “most liked politicians” in Brussels, and at the second one in Wallonia.

Recent polls predict Défi could get about 14% of the votes in Brussels for the upcoming elections, although the polls were more optimistic last December. While DéFi was more than 10 points behind MR and PS in the Federal elections in 2014, this difference has impressively decreased over the past four years.

Can Mr. Maingain be even more ambitious to get a very high-level position in a future government?