Non-Belgians are able to vote in October's local elections. All EU citizens can vote, while non-EU citizens can vote after 5 years in Belgium. Together, we can make a major difference as we would be 1/3 of the electorate across Brussels, including nearly 1/2 of the electorate in Etterbeek, Ixelles or Saint Gilles. In the next three months, by 31st July, we want the 300,000 non-Belgians in Brussels to sign up to vote.
Most of us have not voted before in Belgium because we did not get the correct information in time to sign up. For example, voting is not exactly obligatory for non-Belgians because they can easily send in their 1-page form by post, vote by proxy if you're abroad or sick, and DE-register any time after the election. Voting in Belgian elections has no effect on their voting rights abroad or their status here. Plus, voting strongly affects the decisions taken by the communes, who have lots of powers in Belgium, many more than you think, such as population services, local welfare offices, cleanliness, roads and public spaces, urban planning, local cultural/sport/education centres and even international development!
To find out more, join our session with the British Chamber on the 21st June.
Research Director and Coordinator VoteBrussels | MPG
Thomas is Research Director. Since 2006, he has coordinated MPG’s comparative research on European and national policies in areas such as integration, citizenship, political participation, family reunification, and work migration. He is Central Research Coordinator of the Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX).