The new presidency of DéFI is known: here is who will succeed François De Smet

The new presidency of DéFI is known: here is who will succeed François De Smet
The new presidency of DéFI is known: here is who will succeed François De Smet

This Friday evening, DéFI activists elected Sophie Ronhonyi as president of DéFI. She obtained 79% of the votes, against her challenger, Emmanuel De Bock.

Ms Rohonyi succeeds François De Smet, who announced his resignation the day after the elections of 9 June, which ended in defeat for the Amaranth party.

Aged 37, Sophie Rohonyi is the second woman elected to the presidency of DéFI, formerly the FDF, after Antoinette Spaak, president from 1977 to 1982. The outgoing federal MP replaces François De Smet for the end of his 4-year term, until December 2026.

For the Walloon presidency, it is the Genappois and professor at the ULB Baudouin Decharneux who was designated, with 62% of the votes. He succeeds Daniel Soudant, who also resigned the day after the elections at the end of which DéFI did not obtain an elected representative in the Walloon Region.

A law graduate from the ULB, Sophie Rohonyi honed her skills in politics as a parliamentary assistant to former President Olivier Maingain, then a federal MP, between 2014 and 2019. From 2016 to 2019, she was president of DéFI périphérique. Second on the Amarante party list for the Chamber in the Brussels-Capital constituency, she became a federal MP in 2019. She was not re-elected on 9 June. In addition, the new president also took over the presidency of the Council of French-speaking Women of Belgium in April last year.

I would like to thank the members of DéFI for their trust.“, commented Sophie Rohonyi, saying she measured “the immense responsibility“that they have entrusted to him and”the immense task to be accomplished. It is together that we will transform the sympathy that many have for our liberal and progressive project into a real adhesion“.

For the new president, it is a necessity in the face of the “threats that weigh more than ever on French speakers“. “I will therefore try above all to unite all the vital forces of the party, so that DéFI once again becomes an essential political force which restores faith and hope in politics and in the future.” she said.

In her first speech at the head of the Amaranths, Mrs Rohonyi also thanked her predecessor, François De Smet, “the only party president who remained dignified in political debates, bringing height and nuance to a world prey to simplistic thinking and populism“. “He was, in the image of our party and everything it has been through so far, ultimately: strong and upright in adversity, always capable of bouncing back after defeats or difficult but necessary choices that were in line with our commitments.

For the new president, DéFI “does not have the means of others but has many things that others do not have“. He gets results where he exercises responsibilities; he is a local bulwark against the harmful unravelling and abandonment that is being carried out and will continue to be carried out by other levels of power.”We are liberals but also social and progressive, we refuse state reforms because they serve the confederalist project of the Flemish nationalists ready to do anything, even if it means putting our physical integrity in danger, to achieve their ends. We refuse the bargaining of our fundamental rights.” she said again.

Sophie Rohonyi finally indicated that she will organize, starting next week, meetings with the local sections of Brussels, the periphery and the Walloon provincial federations, to put the party in working order for the municipal elections. For his part, Baudouin Decharneux committed to, “do everything possible to maintain the union between us. More than ever, the ideas and values ​​of DéFI are necessary within the political landscape“, he added.

political challenge sophie rohonyi françois de smet



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