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Expats demand right to vote during Brussels city council meeting
A group of expat campaigners demanded extended voting rights during a Brussels municipal council meeting on Monday evening.
The activists, all part of the 1Bru1vote non-partisan group, asked local lawmakers to expand the right of non-Belgians to vote in the communal elections to the regional level.
“Next year, I won’t be allowed to vote in the regional elections,” Ryan Heath, a Brussels-based political journalist told the lawmakers present during the municipal council meeting. “Even after 11 years in Belgium, we’re not allowed to have our say on mobility, our parks, the trash in our streets. And we’re not alone.”
Although non-Belgians can vote in the communal elections, they are not allowed to vote in the elections at the regional Brussels-Capital parliament level. As a result, more than 300,000 non-Belgians – over a third of the city’s 1.2 million population – living within its jurisdiction do not have a say on such matters as waste management, education choices and air quality.
The 1Bru1vote citizens-led group plans to make their case for extended voting rights during municipal council meetings in all 19 communes in the run-up to the regional elections in 2019.
Photo: Ann Persoons / Twitter