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Louis Tobback by Filip Naudts
|Mayor of Leuven|
|Minister of the Interior and Civil Services|
|Member of Parliament
|Member of Parliament
(Chamber of Representatives)
3 May 1938 |
|Political party||Socialistische Partij Anders|
|Alma mater||Free University of Brussels (VUB)|
Louis Marie Joseph Tobback (born 3 May 1938) is a Belgian politician. Tobback is a Flemish social democrat and member of the political party SP.A. He is currently the mayor of Leuven. He graduated in Romance philology at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is the father of Bruno Tobback, the president of the Flemish socialist party Different Socialist Party (SP.A).
In 1974, he became the leader of the Belgian Socialist Party faction in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives, and became a controversial but respected politician. Tobback is known for his oneliners in which he clearly states his opinion.
From 1988 until 1994, Tobback was Belgium's Minister of the Interior in two coalitions formed by Christian Democrats and Socialists, who faced the tough task to make Belgium comply with the terms of the Maastricht Treaty. It was known that he liked cooperating with Jean-Luc Dehaene, who was Prime Minister from 1992 until 1999.
In 1994 he became president of the Flemish social-democratic party (SP; since 2001 known as Socialistische Partij Anders, SP.A). In that time, the party had a hard time due to the Agusta scandal in which several Flemish and Francophone Socialists were accused of corruption. Despite this, the party did not lose too many votes in the federal and regional elections in 1995. As president of the SP, he also started a campaign of ideological and organisational innovation within the party.
In 1995, Tobback also became the mayor of Leuven, and he was granted the title of Minister of State as a recognition of his work in politics.
In April 1998, he again became Minister of the Interior, after Johan Vande Lanotte (also SP.A) resigned because of the escape of Marc Dutroux during his transport from jail to the court hall. In September 1998 he resigned himself after a Nigerian immigration candidate (Semira Adamu) died during her forced repatriation.
As of 27 September 1998, Tobback is the Mayor of Leuven.
Tobback is a self-avowed orangist. He considers the break-up of the Netherlands and Belgium a historical mistake. "If the United Kingdom of the Netherlands would have endured, we would have been a member of the G8 today", Tobback said in 2006.
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