Louis Tobback

Louis Tobback

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Louis Marie Joseph Tobback (born 3 May 1938) is a Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

. Tobback is a Flemish
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

 social democrat
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 and member of the political party SP.A. He is currently the mayor of Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

. He graduated in Romance
Romance languages
The Romance languages are a branch of the Indo-European language family, more precisely of the Italic languages subfamily, comprising all the languages that descend from Vulgar Latin, the language of ancient Rome...

 philology
Philology
Philology is the study of language in written historical sources; it is a combination of literary studies, history and linguistics.Classical philology is the philology of Greek and Classical Latin...

 at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish university located in Brussels, Belgium. It has two campuses referred to as Etterbeek and Jette.The university's name is sometimes abbreviated by "VUB" or translated to "Free University of Brussels"...

.

Political career


He started his political career in 1965 in the council of the OCMW(nl) / CPAS(fr). In 1971 he was elected a member of the city council of Leuven, and became eerste schepen
Schepen
A schepen is a Dutch word referring to a municipal civic office in Dutch-speaking countries. The term is still in use in Belgium, but it has been replaced by wethouder in the Netherlands. The closest English terms are alderman, member of the municipal executive, councillor and magistrate,...

(first alderman
Alderman
An alderman is a member of a municipal assembly or council in many jurisdictions founded upon English law. The term may be titular, denoting a high-ranking member of a borough or county council, a council member chosen by the elected members themselves rather than by popular vote, or a council...

).

In 1974, he became the leader of the Belgian Socialist Party
Belgian Socialist Party
The Belgian Socialist Party was a democratic socialist party which existed in Belgium from 1945 to 1978.The BSP was founded by activists from the Belgian Labour Party , which was the first Belgian socialist party. It ceased to function during the Second World War, while Belgium was under Nazi...

 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
Minister of the Interior (Belgium)
-2000–:...

 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
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

. It was known that he liked cooperating with Jean-Luc Dehaene
Jean-Luc Dehaene
-Early life and political career:He was born in Montpellier, France, when his parents were fleeing German troops. He got into politics through the Algemeen Christelijk Werknemersverbond , a trade union which was closely linked to the Christelijke Volkspartij .In 1981, he became Minister of Social...

, 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
Agusta scandal
The Agusta scandal or the Case Agusta-Dassault was a Belgian corruption scandal. It resulted from the purchase of military helicopter of the Agusta A109 Agusta-type by the Belgian Army in 1988, where Agusta and Dassault bribed various office holders...

 in which several Flemish and Francophone Socialists were accused of corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

. 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
Minister of State (Belgium)
The Minister of State is an honorary title in Belgium. It is formally granted by the Belgian monarch, but on the initiative of the Belgian federal government. It is given on a personal basis, for life rather than for a specified period. The title is granted for exceptional merits, generally to...

 as a recognition of his work in politics.

In April 1998, he again became Minister of the Interior, after Johan Vande Lanotte
Johan Vande Lanotte
Johan Cyrille Corneel Vande Lanotte is a Belgian politician. He is a member of the SP.A, and became its party president on 15 October 2005...

 (also SP.A) resigned because of the escape of Marc Dutroux
Marc Dutroux
Marc Dutroux is a Belgian serial killer and child molester, convicted of having kidnapped, tortured and sexually abused six girls during 1995 and 1996, ranging in age from 8 to 19, four of whom he murdered. He was also convicted of having killed a suspected former accomplice, Bernard Weinstein,...

 during his transport from jail to the court hall. In September 1998 he resigned himself after a Nigeria
Nigeria
Nigeria , officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a federal constitutional republic comprising 36 states and its Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. The country is located in West Africa and shares land borders with the Republic of Benin in the west, Chad and Cameroon in the east, and Niger in...

n immigration candidate (Semira Adamu
Semira Adamu
Semira Adamu was a 20 year old asylum seeker from Nigeria who was suffocated to death with a pillow by two Belgian police officers who tried to calm her during their expulsion effort. She first fled Nigeria because of a forced marriage....

) died during her forced repatriation
Repatriation
Repatriation is the process of returning a person back to one's place of origin or citizenship. This includes the process of returning refugees or soldiers to their place of origin following a war...

.

As of 27 September 1998, Tobback is the Mayor of Leuven. Partly because of his decade-long presence in office, the city of Leuven is often jokingly referred to as "Tobbackgrad".

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