Debates at the VUB campus in EtterbeekDebates

On April 23, 2024, I enjoyed attending the much-anticipated election debate at the VUB campus in Etterbeek, organized by LVSV Brussel. This event focused on two crucial societal issues: migration and education.

The panel participants were:

  • Jan Busselen (PVDA)
  • Nadia Naji (Groen)
  • Hannelore Goeman (Vooruit)
  • Benjamin Dalle (CD&V)
  • Els Ampe (Voor U)
  • Tom Ongena (Open VLD)
  • Ben Weyts (N-VA)
  • Bob De Brabandere (Vlaams Belang)

The debate was moderated by Silke Goubin (professor of comparative politics, KU Leuven).

The debate itself went well, with candidates getting the opportunity to present themselves and answer questions from the audience. This was a chance for each candidate to articulate their positions and engage with the public on important issues. However, the true highlight for me came after the formal debates. I took the opportunity to mingle with students and young attendees to gauge their impressions and understand their expectations from us, the candidates.

From these conversations, I gathered that many attendees were disappointed with the event’s organization and the candidates’ interactions. Instead of focusing on their views and political stances, there was noticeable time spent attacking each other, which did not sit well with the audience. Young people, in particular, expressed a desire for debates, prioritizing substantial discussion over confrontation.

Furthermore, I learned about the significant importance attendees place on human and women’s rights. It was also clear that there is a general concern about the lack of available information about the parties and candidates. Additionally, I got another important feedback: many attendees felt they didn’t know some candidates well due to insufficient information available through government media resources.

As a candidate, these interactions are precious. They not only help me understand what matters most to our youth and students but also how we, as candidates and future representatives, can better communicate and engage with our constituents. The feedback I received last night will undoubtedly influence my approach and reaffirm my commitment to advocating for comprehensive and accessible information about political options available to voters.

Thank you to everyone who attended and shared their thoughts with me. Your voices matter, and they play a crucial role in shaping a democratic and informed society. Let’s keep this conversation going and work together towards a future that reflects our shared values and aspirations.


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