Belgian mayors
Research by Brian Baker and Guy Kervella

ON THIS PAGE: Belgian local government ||| Mayors of largest Belgian cities |||

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Belgian Mayors (2016)
British Mayors (2016)
Canadian Mayors (2016)
French Mayors (2016)
German mayors (2016)
Japanese mayors 2016
Polish mayors (2016)
Spanish mayors (2016)
US mayors (2016)

Yvan Mayeur, Mayor of Brussels

Daniël Termont, Mayor of Ghent

Bart de Wever, Mayor of Antwerp

Willy Deymeyer, Mayor of Liège

Bernard Clerfayt, Mayor of Schaerbeek

Mayors with exceptional courage, compassion and competence sought for the 2016 World Mayor Prize
The 2016 World Mayor Prize and Commendations will be awarded to mayors who have accepted and successfully managed the challenges posed by migration but are also convinced of its longterm benefits. They will be leading a city where past and/or more recent immigrants have contributed to the city’s society, economy and culture. The City Mayors Foundation will also consider mayors for the honours whose communities has shown exceptional resilience during the recent arrivals from disaster-torn regions of the world.

If you are convinced, like us, that the world’s cities have greatly benefited from immigrants, whose perseverance in the face of hardship and often prejudice has created the civic societies that we value and enjoy today, we invite you to nominate a mayor for the 2016 World Mayor Prize.

At a time when there are some 60 million refugees worldwide, mayors to be considered for the World Mayor honours will need to have shown exceptional compassion, courage and competence. Compassion for people who have travelled great distances to find safety. Courage to fight prejudice even in the face of unpopularity. Competence to leverage the value and potential each person offers society.

By taking part in this year’s World Mayor Project you are also voicing your support for all those cities that have had to bear the brunt of the recent influx of migrants and refugees.

Previous winners and runners-up include the mayors of Calgary, Ghent, Bilbao, Perth, Mexico City, Oklahoma City, Cape Town, Zurich, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Athens, Mississauga and Tirana. The World Mayor Project aims to show what outstanding mayors can achieve and raise their profiles nationally and internationally.


Belgian local government
11 July 2016: In addition to three regions and three cultural communities, Belgium is also divided into 10 provinces and 589 municipalities. The provincial governments are primarily administrative units and are politically weak. A governor appointed by the King presides over each province. Each governor is supported by an elected Provincial Council of 47 to 84 members (depending on the size of the province), which sits only four weeks a year.

Municipal governments, on the other hand, are vigorous political entities with significant powers and a history of independence dating from medieval times. Many national politicians originate from municipal political bases; and many often double as mayor or alderman in their hometowns in addition to their federal and regional political positions. The last nation-wide municipal elections were held in October 2012, the next elections are due in 2018.

Mayors of Belgium's largest cities

City, size
and internet
(Mr, Ms)
& politics
Popl: 77,500
Christophe D'Haese; (Mr) Elected 2012
Born 1967
Party NVA*
Popl: 110,000
Gaëtan Van Goidsenhoven; (Mr) 2007-present Born 1973, Lawyer;
Party: MR*
Pop: 444,000
Bart De Wever; (Mr) Elected 2012, Born 1970; President of the NVA* party; Member of the Flemish parliament from 2004-2007
Popl: 117,000
Renaat Landuyt; (Mr) Elected 2012 Born 1959; Attorney
Party: sp.a*
Bruxelles-Ville (Brussels)
Popl: 175,000
Yvan Mayeur; (Mr) Elected 2013 Born 1960
Party: PS*
Former Social Worker and public sector manager; Came to international prominence in the wake of the atrocities in Brussels in March 2016;
Member of the Federal Parliament
Popl: 202,000
Paul Magnette; (Mr) Elected 2012 Born 1971
Former Professor of Political Science;
Current ( 2016) Minister-President of Government of Wallonie Region;
Former Minister in Federal Government from which he resigned in 2013 to become Mayor of Charleroi and Chair of PS
Popl: 75,200
Vincent Van Quickenborne (Mr) Elected 2012 Member of Belgian government (2003 - 2012)
Party: Open VLD
Popl: 65,500
Wim Dries (Mr) Elected 2009, re-elected 2013 Born 1972
Engineer; Member of City Council (1995-2014)
Party: CD&V
Popl: 233,000
Daniël Termont; (Mr) 2006-present Born 1953; Winner of the 2014 World Mayor Commendation
Party: sp.a*
Popl: 76,300
Hilde Claes (Ms) Elected 2009; re-elected 2013 Born 1967
Lawyer; First elected to City Council in 2000; Member of Flemish Parliament 2001 - 2003
Popl: 81,000
Willy Decourty; (Mr) 2000-present Born 1945
Party: PS*
La Louviere
Popl: 80,400
Jacques Gobert (Mr) Elected 2013 President of the Union of Towns and Cities in Wallonia
Party: PS
Popl: 91,000
Louis Marie Joseph Tobback; (Mr) 1998-present Born 1938
Minister of Interior 1992-9; Party: sp.a
Popl: 196,000
Willy Demeyer; (Mr) Elected 1999; Re-elected in 2006 and 2013 Born 1959
Former member of Wallonia Regional Parliament;
Member of Federal Parliament since 2010;
Member of City Council since 1999;
Vice President of PS since 2011
Party: PS*
Popl: 84,000
Bart Somers; (Mr) Elected 2001; Re-elected 2012 Born 1964
Former Minister-President of Flanders Regional Government;
Chair of Flemish Liberal Democrats 2004-2009;
Current ( 2016) member of EU Committee of the Regions for which he
was lead author in June 2016 of a report on combating radicalisation
Party: Open VLD*
Popl: 95,500
Francoise Schepmans; (Ms) Elected 2012 Born 1960; Currently also Law degree and former civil servant;
Current member of the Federal Parliament;
Vice President of the House of Representatives;
First elected to the City Council in 1989. First female mayor of
Molenbeek-Saint Jean.
Former member of the Brussels-Capital Region Parliament
Came to international prominence during the investigations into
the November 2015 Paris atrocities which centred on Molenbeek-Saint Jean
Party: MR*
Popl: 95,000
Elio Di Rupo; (Mr) Elected 2000; Re-elected twice Born 1951
Served as Prime Minister of Belgium from December 2011 until
October 2014;
Former Minister-President of the Government of Wallonie;
Minister of State in Federal Government 1994-1999;
Member of European Parliament 1989-1991
Party: PS*
Popl: 57,100
Alfred Gadenne (Mr) Elected in 2012 Party: CDH
Popl: 106,000
Maxime Prévot; (Mr) Elected 2012 Born 1978; Member of Parliament 2007-2009;
Party: CDH*
Oostende / Ostende
Popl: 70,500
Johan Vande Lanotte (Mr) Elected 2015 Born 1955
Lawyer and lecturer
Belgium Deputy Prime Minister 2011 - 2014
Former President of SP.A
Rooselare / Roylers
Popl: 60,400
Luc Martens Elected 2005, re-elected 2012 Born 1946
Senator Belgian Parliament 1991 - 1995; Regional Minister 1995 - 1999
Party: CD&V
Popl: 50,500
Charles Picque (Mr) Elected 1985, re-elected several times most recently in 2012 Born 1948
Member of Belgian Parliament; Minister-President of Brussels Region 2004 - 2013
Popl: 124,000
Bernard Clerfayt (Mr) 2001-present Born 1961
Secretary of State Finance 2008-2011; Currently also Member of Parliament
Party: FDF*
Popl: 74,300
Lieven Dehandschutter (Mr) Elected 2010, re-elected 2012 Born 1958
Member of Flemish Parliament since 2010
Party: N-VA
Popl: 69,800
Rudy Demotte (Mr) Elected 2012 Born 1963
Current Minister-President of French Community
Former Minister-President of Wallonia Region
Former minister in Belgian government
Party: PS
Popl: 81,300
Armand De Decker (Mr) Re-elected 2012 Born 1948
Member of Belgium Parliament; Former President, now Vice-President of Belgian Senate
Popl: 55,400
Muriel Targnion Elected 2015 Member of Belgian Parliament; Member of Wallonia Parliament
Party: PS
Wolvwe - Saint Pierre
Popl: 41,100
Benoit Cerexhe (Mr) Elected 2012 Born 1961
Minister in Brussels Capital Region government; First elected to City Council aged 21
Party: CHR

* NVA = Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (New Flemish Alliance) , Flemish nationalist and conservative party
sp.a = Socialistische Partij Anders (Different Socialist Party) . Flemish Social-Democratic Party
= Parti Socialiste, Francophone social-democratic party.
= Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams (Christian Democratic and Flemish). Centre right.
= Centre Démocrate Humaniste (Humanist Democratic Centre)
Open VLD 
= Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten (Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats)
= Fédéralistes Démocrates Francophones; part of MR
= Mouvement Réformateur: centre right

**Next municipal elections in Belgium: 2018. Every 6 years.