More candidates with foreign roots

There has been a big increase in the number of Flemings with foreign roots that are standing in the local elections. However, according to a study by the University of Ghent, those with foreign roots remain under-represented on electoral lists. This time around 14.3% of candidates in the 13 largest towns and cities in Flanders are of foreign descent. This is up from 9.5% in 2012 and 6.7% in 2006.   

The increase is most pronounced in Ghent (+7.2%) and Antwerp (8.6%).

Meanwhile, the increase is the smallest (+3.9%) in Genk (Limburg). However, the highly diverse town has the highest percentage of candidates with foreign roots (36%) of all the towns and cities surveyed. In 2006 this was already 27.7%.

The only exception is the West Flemish city of Bruges, where the percentage of candidates with foreign roots has fallen by 0.9%.  

Differences between the parties

There are big differences between the political parties in the percentage of candidates with foreign roots. With 18% the socialists have the highest percentage, closely followed by the greens and the far-left PVDA.

The far-right Vlaams Belang has the lowest percentage of candidates with foreign roots (3.4%). 9.6% of candidates standing for the Flemish nationalist party N-VA have foreign roots.

Despite, the general rise in the number of people with foreign roots standing for the local election they are still under-represented taking into consideration their presence in the population at large.