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Record number of expat voters for EU elections

Published on 19/04/2004

19 April 2004

BRUSSELS – Around 60,000 European Union expats living in Belgium have registered to vote in this year’s European elections, an all-time record according to Belgian broadcaster RTBF on Monday.

Since 1994, EU citizens have had the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament wherever they may be living on the Union’s territory.

In Belgium, around 23,000 EU expats used this right ten years ago and the figure rose to 38,000 at the subsequent EU poll in 1999.

This year’s figure of 60,000 registered voters marks the highest number of EU expats ever registered for an EU poll here.

As voting in all elections is obligatory in Belgium, analysts say nearly all of those registered for the poll will turn out to cast their ballots.

But experts also point out that overall turnouts for European elections have historically been very low and have fallen at every poll since 1979, when Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) were first elected directly by European voters.

[Copyright Expatica.com 2004]

Subject: Belgian news