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Almost 50,000 foreigners in Brussels register for local elections

23:14 22/08/2018

One in six foreigners living in Brussels has registered to vote in this October's local elections - a marked improvement on the 2012 elections, according to newly updated official figures.

Non-partisan campaigns such as Vote Brussels, and an improved communication effort by several Brussels municipalities and the Brussels region, mean 49,406 non-Belgians will receive their polling cards and cast their vote on 14 October, out of the 285,413 who were eligible.

This compares with 34,172 foreign voter registrations in the last municipal elections six years ago.

"October's elections will be more competitive and inclusive for everyone", said Vote Brussels.

"Although non-Belgians could have registered at any time during the past six years, most communes did not start to inform or register them until June - two months before the deadline."

Vote Brussels praised the municipalities of Brussels-City, Etterbeek, Ixelles, Schaerbeek, Saint-Gilles and Saint-Josse for making an effort to inform local residents of their right to vote.

Watermael-Boitsfort is the municipality that has the highest rate of voter registration among non-Belgians, at 26%.

Some 23.9% of foreigners in Saint-Josse registered to vote, after the municipality sent out emails in Romanian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Turkish, Spanish, Italian, Polish and English.

Saint-Gilles went a step further, sending a letter to every non-Belgian EU national in their native language. Voter registration among foreigners in Saint-Gilles was 21.8%.

Evere was the Brussels municipality that struggled the most to attract foreigners to join the electoral roll, at just 12.3%.

Written by The Bulletin