16:50 GMT +320 November 2018
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    Members of the Wallon parliament listen as Walloon Minister-President Paul Magnette (C) speaks at a plenary session during a debate on the CETA (EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) in Namur

    Belgian Politician Rejects French Socialists’ Offer to Lead Party in EU Election

    © AFP 2018 / BRUNO FAHY
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Paul Magnette, the mayor of the Belgian city of Charleroi and one of the key figures in Belgium's French-speaking Socialist Party (PS), refused on Friday to head the list of the French Socialist Party in the 2019 European Parliament election.

    "I had to inform [PS First Secretary] Olivier Faure that I had to decline his offer, which flattered me, for personal reasons: I am seeking being re-elected as Charleroi mayor in October of this year, while the 2019 EU election in Belgium will coincide with regional and legislative elections, in which I will be playing a certain role without seeking a mandate," Magnette told Le Monde newspaper.

    Earlier in August, Magnette said that the leadership of the French Socialist Party, whose popularity among voters had not been high recently, offered the Charleroi mayor to lead the French Socialists in the EU parliamentary election, which will take place in May.

    READ MORE: Belgian Politician 'Flattered' by French Party Offer to Lead Party in EU Vote

    Before assuming the post of Charleroi mayor, Magnette served as the minister-president of Belgium's French-speaking Wallonia region from 2014 to 2017. He came into the spotlight in 2016 by opposing the Comprehensive Economic and Trade agreement between the European Union and Canada, claiming that the deal would be harmful to local producers due to cheaper import from Canada.

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    European Parliament, Socialist Party, Paul Magnette
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