Freddy Thielemans bows out

On Monday, Freddy Thielemans, the mayor of Brussels, will tender his resignation to the municipal council.

“I chose the date myself,” explains the 69-year-old future ex-mayor in an exclusive interview with Le Soir. “I always said that I wouldn’t die in office. It’s not part of a mayor’s job to stay on till the bitter end. It will soon be time to draft the budget. It makes sense for the new team to take over this job. Major elections for the PS are also approaching. The younger generation needs to take over. The gracious thing to do is to yield to them.”

Yvan Mayeur will succeed Thielemans. Born in 1960, he is currently the president of the Brussels CPAS (Public Center for Social Welfare) and a PS federal deputy. He will take the mayoral oath of office on December 16, following the routine formalities.

Freddy Thielemans, a socialist, succeeded François-Xavier de Donnea at Brussels city hall in January 2001. In October 2012, despite a loss of about 2,000 votes, he still won a third term that now will go unfinished.

When asked what he wanted people to remember about his twelve years as a mayor, Thielemans mentioned his versatility. He went on to explain that, “Recently, someone said to me ‘Freddy, what we like about you is that you could carry the tree for Meyboom, meet with Putin or have a discussion with Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt.’ I think I’m a man of the people who can talk to the man on the street, discuss politics with major foreign representatives and remain open to every culture. If you can remember that about me, I’ll be happy.”

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