The municipal elections are behind us. What now? Here are 5 tips for PA professionals

ByPhilip Naert

The municipal elections are behind us. What now? Here are 5 tips for PA professionals

It has already been a week since the municipal elections took place, but their effects are still rumbling on. Local coalitions have been formed, apart from a number of big cities in which such matters traditionally take a little longer. In any case, a content-based phase, during which the new municipal coalitions are writing their governance programme for the coming six years, is now starting.

At the national party headquarters, the focus is already on the federal, regional and European elections of May 2019. The trends in the local elections can give us an idea of what to expect next year. In Flanders, right-wing parties can be expected to consolidate their position. The N-VA, CD&V and Open Vld are well positioned to campaign for the national elections. In addition, the breakthrough of Groen should of course be noted, and it’s a factor that must be taken into account in the future.

In Brussels and Wallonia, the political landscape seems to be evolving ever more towards a dominant left-wing political landscape with the PS, Ecolo and PTB as the leading parties. The MR appears to be suffering from its participation in the federal government, and the humanists of cdH are losing ground as well.

If these trends are confirmed in the federal and regional elections of May, the formation of a federal coalition may possibly turn out to be a political challenge, given that the Flemish and French-speaking political landscapes are more opposed than ever.

The question now is: how all this is going to impact your public affairs activities. Here are 5 tips to help you:

  1. If you want to address certain issues related to large municipalities, it is preferable to get in touch with the local negotiating teams now in order to suggest concrete policy measures.
  2. With a few exceptions, the national party secretariats have already made quite good progress in drafting their election programmes for next year. Therefore, be sure not to wait any longer to contact study centres with inspiring and clearly explained ideas and proposals.
  3. It is important not to target only majority parties. It is obvious that the green parties deserve special attention, as well as the PS in French-speaking Belgium.
  4. For each party, also identify a number of leading voices in Parliament. In the case of a government formation dragging on, they can play an important role in shaping dossiers through Parliament.
  5. Finally, now is the time to gradually map out who could be part of the negotiating teams during the federal and regional governmental negotiations of next year. This is mostly a mix of cabinet employees, experts from study centres and specialised Members of Parliament.

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