by Yonnec Poulet
Running in the 2009 regional elections in Brussels was a fascinating experience. It was my second campaign, having run for the regional elections in 1999. The elections took place in the context of the financial crisis and its hard impact on the daily life of citizens. My campaign therefore focused on social issues and on how to improve the lives of residents of Brussels. Despite being a rich area and the capital of Europe, Brussels faces serious social problems with high levels of inequality.
The PS promoted projects such as employment (especially for young people, as it abnormally high in Brussels), housing renovations, greater mobility, and better infrastructures for youth. With such initiatives, significant improvements can be made in Brussels. We want Brussels to remain affordable for everyone and to ensure a high quality of life. Thanks to the actions of the Socialists, in governments for many years, we succeeded in renovating many of the poorer neighbourhoods and create new housing. A lot remains to be done, however, so were we campaigning energetically to promote our values and our project.
The campaign was a very hard one. There was a marked division between Left and Right, as well as strong opposition from the Liberals, who were hoping to gain power in the region. Despite these challenges, the Socialist Party had positive results. We sent a clear message of the necessity of strong public services and financial market reform. We pointed out the responsibility of neo-liberal ideology for the crisis. Also, the Socialist Party was very clear on its intentions to unite the Left-oriented parties and advance a progressive approach in urban policy. The citizens understood this and supported our messages. The PS is now in the coalition in power, willing more than ever to make Brussels a city with strong social inclusion, multicultural and respectful of differences, promoting the environment and with a dynamic economy. That is why people voted for us!