Giving residents a say was one of the priorities outlined in the agreement signed by the parties that make up the city coalition after last year’s local government elections.
In recent years residents of Kortrijk have been able to participate in the “Big Questionnaire” in which they were able to give their views on how they wanted things to involve in the city. Now the city authorities have decided to organise an annual online referendum.
Kortrijk has drawn inspiration from Switzerland where numerous referenda are held on a wide range of issues. The first digital referendum in Kortrijk will be to decide whether the city should be car-free one Sunday a month between 10am and 6pm.
In early October each resident will be sent a letter containing a code with which he or she can log on to a website and vote. Although the result is not binding, the city authorities have said that they will abide by the result providing that more than 2,000 people vote and the difference between those voting “yes” and those voting “no” is greater than 2.5%. In September debate on the issue to be voted on in the referendum will be stimulated through various channels.