CD&V denies voter registration fraud
10 August 2006, BRUSSELS — The public prosecution office has no evidence that Christian Democrat CD&V politician Okay Özel was involved in fraudulent registrations of foreign voters in Zele.
10 August 2006
BRUSSELS — The public prosecution office has no evidence that Christian Democrat CD&V politician Okay Özel was involved in fraudulent registrations of foreign voters in Zele.
The statement came after a suspect from the Turkish community was arrested earlier this week in Zele and confessed that he fraudulently registered non-EU voters for the October local elections.
The case involves the registration of a group of foreign residents for the local elections without their consent or knowledge.
"I cannot say who it is because we still cannot criminally prove anything. The person in question has not yet been charged," prosecution spokesman Theo Byl said.
He stressed that the suspect was not Okay Özel, the secretary of the Zele mosque and candidate for the CD&V list.
Regional TV broadcaster Kanaal 3 has already accused Özel of registering a group of Turkish voters behind their backs.
But the local CD&V branch reacted angrily: "It is completely unjust. I have actively participated in the publicity campaign, but I have not forged any document in any way", Özel said.
Local CD&V chief Rik Lootens added: "It is unimaginable that someone is dragged through the mud without any evidence".
The CD&V has lodged legal action against Kanaal 3.
Non-EU nationals had until 31 July to register for the 8 October local elections. It will be the first time they will be allowed to vote at a Belgian election.
To be eligible, foreign residents must have lived in Belgium for at least fives years and sign a document agreeing to abide by Belgian laws.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news