One in four Belgians ‘don’t want to vote’
27 August 2004
BRUSSELS – One in four French-speaking Belgians would not go to the polling booth if voting were not compulsory, a new study has revealed.
The study by Liege University, and published on Friday in Le Soir newspaper, shows that many people from more vulnerable sections of society would rather stay at home on polling days.
This includes old people, women who have a low income and the unemployed.
The desire to vote increases as people become more educated or wealthy, the survey found.
According to the study, those who are isolated or who do not feel secure where they live are the most likely to give up their democratic right to vote.
This is an astonishing find that should give rise to concern at a time when there are moves to make voting optional, say Flemish parties, including the VLD.
A proposal to remove the legal obligation to vote across the entire country has already been tabled.
Compared to previous studies in 1997 and 1994, Belgian patriotism has risen in the French speaking south of the country, a result of Flemish efforts to become autonomous.
Walloons feel Belgian and are proud to be so.
But Wallonia is still marked by a strong regional identity.
The feeling of belonging to Europe is on the decline due to big issues such as enlargement and the new EU constitution, which Walloons find it hard to identify with.
[Copyright Expatica 2004]
Subject: Belgian news