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Quarter of a million Belgians abroad vote in elections today

22:08 05/06/2024

Some 255,000 Belgians abroad have registered to vote in the upcoming elections.

Those who plan to vote in person will do so at their nearest embassy on Wednesday, but the vast majority (178,000) will do so via mail.

They will be voting in the federal parliamentary elections and the European Parliament elections, but not in the regional elections. Citizens aged 16-17 can only vote in the European Parliament elections.

More than 525,000 Belgians live abroad, including almost 420,000 adults.

Belgians abroad can choose to vote by proxy in Belgium or at a consular post. For the European elections, Belgians living inside the EU can vote instead on a list from their country of residence, while those outside the EU can vote only on a Belgian list.

Those voting in Belgium will do so this weekend and campaigns are ramping up their outreach as the deadline approaches.

A number of people are reporting election leaflets in their mailbox despite the display of a "no advertisements" sticker. This is because such leaflets are legally considered to be "information" and not "advertising".

Political parties can obtain the names, address and gender of any voters under electoral law.

Specifically, the language in Article 17 states that the municipal administration is obliged to communicate the list of voters and their information "to persons acting on behalf of a political party, who make a request by registered post addressed to the mayor no later than the 25th of the third month preceding the month in which the election takes place and who undertake in writing to present a list of candidates to the Chamber".

Written by Helen Lyons