Elections in Belgium

Elections in Belgium

Elections in Belgium gives information on election and election results in Belgium.

Belgium elects on federal level a legislature. The Federal Parliament ("Federale Parlement/Parlement Fédérale/Föderales Parlament") has two chambers. The Chamber of People's Representatives ("Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers/Chambre des Représentants/Abgeordnetenkammer") has 150 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation. The Senate ("Senaat/Sénat/Senat") has 71 members, 40 members directly-elected for a four year term by proportional representation, 21 members appointed by the Community Parliaments and 10 coopted members appointed by the other Senators. In addition, the children of the King are Senators by right. Belgium has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Several months before an election, each party forms a list of candidates for each district. Parties are allowed to place as many candidates on their "ticket" as there are seats available. The formation of the list is an internal process that varies with each party. The place on the list influences the election of a candidate, but its influence has diminished since the last electoral reform.

Political campaigns in Belgium are relatively short, lasting only about one month, and there are restrictions on the use of billboards. For all of their activities, campaigns included, the political parties have to rely on government subsidies and dues paid by their members. An electoral expenditures law restricts expenditures of political parties during an electoral campaign. Because of the huge public bureaucracy, the high politisation of nominations, and the widely accepted practice that political nominees spend many man-months paid for by all tax-payers for partisan electioneering, this arrangement massively favors the ruling political parties.

Since no single party holds an absolute majority, after the election the strongest party or party family will usually create a coalition with some of the other parties to form the government.

Voting is compulsory in Belgium; more than 90% of the population participates. Belgian voters are given five options when voting. They may:

* Vote for a list as a whole, thereby showing approval of the order established by the party they vote for;
* Vote for one or more individual candidates belonging to one party, regardless of his/her ranking on the list. This is a "preference vote;"
* Vote for one or more of the "alternates (substitutes);"
* Vote for one or more candidates, and one or more alternates, all of the same party; or
* Vote invalid or blank so no one receives the vote

Elections for the Federal Parliament are normally held every four years although early elections are possible. The regional parliaments are elected every five years, and their elections coincide with those for the European Parliament, no early elections are possible. Elections for the members of Belgium's municipal and provincial councils are held every six years, no early elections are possible.

Voting in Belgium is done almost entirely by eletronic voting on a computer. A few weeks before the actual election, every Belgian older then 18 receives a voting card with the details of the voting bureau where he/she has to cast his/her vote. Voting bureau's are usually in schools. Several voting bureau's can be spread out in the school using the school's facility to accommodate all the people. A bureau is lead by a chairmen and a few volunteers, these are ordinary people that are randomly picked and assigned a job. Computers are installed in private cubical's. When someone arrives in a bureau, the following procedure is followed:
* The voter gives his/hers eID card and his voting card to a volunteer of the bureau
* The volunteer checks if the voter is in the correct bureau and checks if his/her name is on the list of voters for this bureau
* The voter receives a magnetic card and is directed to a private cubical
* The voter inserts the magnetic card and casts his/her vote by tapping the choises on the screen with a computer pen; each choise has to be confirmed once; after the vote, the magnetic card is ejected from the system.
* The voter returns to the volunteer and inserts his/her magnetic card in a receiver machine; this machine only shows wheter the vote is valid or not.
* If the vote is valid, the voter receives his/hers eID back and the original voting card that has a stamp with an identification code of the bureau; this is the proof for the voter that he/she actually did cast a vote in the election.

The most recent general election was held on 10 June 2007, the next regional elections are expected in 2009 and the next communal and provincial elections in October 2012.

Latest federal election

Resultaten in Vlaanderen

Last elections

* October 8, 2006: elections for municipalities and provinces

Past elections

General elections and referendums

Local and regional elections

European elections

*1979 European Parliament elections
*1984 European Parliament elections
*1989 European Parliament elections
*1994 European Parliament elections
*1999 European Parliament elections
*2004 European Parliament elections

ee also

* Electoral calendar
* Electoral system

External links

* [http://psephos.adam-carr.net/countries/b/belgium/ Adam Carr's Election Archive]


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