On 23 September, ALDE Party member Open VLD elected Tom Ongena as its new party President.
Ongena had been appointed as acting President in July 2023 following the departure of Egbert Lachaert, who announced he would step down from the leadership role in June after three years.
The appointment was confirmed with a vote at a party Congress where Ongena won 59% of ballots cast by members in the first round.
He has served a Member of the Flemish Parliament since October 2019, and as a regional senator since October 2020.
“In the short term, I want to bring stability and clarity. In addition, I want to thoroughly renew the party. To do so, I will listen to the members, work with all sections of the party and involve the many young talents,” Ongena wrote in a letter to Open VLD members in July.
In a speech to the Congress, Ongena called for liberals to stand up for their beliefs as they are being questioned more than ever.
"Nine months remain: nine months to fight back, to convince people of our ideas, of our approach, of our people. Nine months in which I will give my best. In the coming weeks, I will roll out my proposals for a renewed and strengthened party one by one. We will better guide and engage our talents, get our organisation on point, help our machine run better, strengthen ties with our local chapters and people. And we will reconnect with our tradition as a party of ideas. Who comes up with new, fresh proposals that answer the questions and concerns of the people," he said.
Photo: Open VLD