No more free Belgian waffles for us!

Belgium goes to the polls to elect new municipal and provincial councils next 14 October and to ensure the result is free and fair certain legal restrictions have been put in place. In the run up to the election forms of advertising are restricted and politicians are not allowed to hand out any more freebies.

The period during which restrictions on gifts are in place starts today. The restrictions were introduced in 2005 in order to stop politicians from displaying "unwanted activities" and to give everybody taking part an equal chance.

In the run up to the election politicians are banned from handing out and selling gadgets. Commercial telephone campaigns are not allowed and politicians aren't allowed to use commercial hoardings either.

Posters e.g. in your garden may only be stuck on boards smaller than 4 square metres. There is also a ban on political advertising on radio, TV and in cinemas.

After the elections politicians can hand out what they like, but several commentators have expressed doubts that they will be as generous as in recent weeks. On Friday Christian democrats in Waregem treated well-wishers to three free barrels of beers, but this will now have to stop.

Members of the right wing liberal party LDD won't be able to hand out Belgian waffles any more either, a reference to a Flemish expression that is similar to "Shut you cake hole!"