Foreign voters show little interest in elections
11 May 2006, BRUSSELS — Just 318 non-EU nationals eligible to vote in Belgium's local elections in October have so far registered with electoral authorities. That represents just 0.28 percent of the 113,817 non-EU eligible voters.
11 May 2006
BRUSSELS — Just 318 non-EU nationals eligible to vote in Belgium's local elections in October have so far registered with electoral authorities.
That represents just 0.28 percent of the 113,817 non-EU eligible voters.
In Brussels, 47 non-EU nationals from a community of 43,639 potential voters have registered for the October poll. That equates to 0.11 percent.
In Flanders, a total of 95 non-EU nationals have enrolled to vote from a possible 43,536. That represents 0.22 percent.
In the French-speaking Wallonia — where a registration campaign is in full swing — 176 people have registered to vote, representing almost 1 percent of 24,642 eligible non-EU voters.
The figures represent an improvement on last month, however, when a combined total of 89 non-EU nationals had registered to vote in Belgium three regions.
Just six non-EU nationals had registered to vote in Brussels, 14 in Flanders and 69 in Wallonia.
EU and non-EU nationals living in Belgium who wish to vote in the local elections must register by 31 July. It is the first time that non-EU nationals will be allowed to vote in Belgium.
To be eligible to vote, non-EU immigrants must have lived in Belgium for five years and need to sign an agreement promising to respect Belgian law.
But the low number of registered voters indicates that foreign residents are scarcely interested in Belgium's local elections.
Nevertheless, Flemish Minister Marino Keulen — who is overseeing the local elections in Flanders — remains confident.
He said there is still time and that registrations will flow in once the elections spark public interest. Keulen is also expecting local authorities to launching information campaigns.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news