Elections 2019: The European Parliament

The European Parliament elections in Belgium will be held on 26 May, the same day as the regional and federal elections. In the European elections there are three Belgian constituencies: the Dutch-speaking electoral college, the Francophone electoral college and the German-speaking electoral college. Voters in the 5 Flemish provinces and the Brussels-Capital Region can vote for candidates standing in the Dutch-speaking electoral college. 

12 of Belgium’s 21 MEPs are elected by those voting for candidates in the Dutch-speaking electoral college.

Voters in the 5 Walloon provinces, with the exceptions of those living in the 9 German-speaking municipalities in the East of Liège province, and those living in the Brussels-Capital Region can vote for candidates from the Francophone electoral college.

Voters in the 19 municipalities that make up Brussels are the only Belgian voters able to choose from candidates from more than one electoral college. 8 MEPs are elected from the Francophone electoral colleges. Belgium’s German-speaking Community is also represented in the European Parliament.

1 MEP is elected by those voting for candidates from the German-speaking electoral college.   

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EU nationals can vote for Belgian candidates if they wish.

Ever since the European elections in 1994, non-Belgian EU nationals have been allowed to vote in Belgium for the European election. However, unlike Belgian national that are enrolled to vote automatically, foreigners from other EU countries must first register at their local town hall if they wish to vote here.

As with the local council elections, in wish EU and some non-EU national can register to vote if they wish to the vast majority don’t. Only around 1 in 6 non-Belgian EU nationals living in Belgium will be voting here on 26 May. 

Brexit won’t influence Belgian MEP numbers

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The reapportionment of seats following the UK’s decision to leave the EU hasn’t impacted the number of seats allocated to Belgium. As in 2014 21 MEPs will be elected in Belgium. By the same token the division of the seats between the language communities also remains unchanged.

The seats are allocated according to the D’Hondt method. However, as the German-speaking electoral college only elects one MEP, a de facto first past the post system is in force there. All those registered to vote are obliged by law to turned up to the polling station. Anyone failing to do so could face a fine.

New this time around is that Belgian nationals living in non-EU countries can vote in the European elections. The law was changed to this end on17 November 2016. 

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