Kortrijk votes against monthly car-free Sunday in country’s first digital referendum

In what was the country’s first ever digital referendum the people of the West Flemish city of Kortrijk have voted against the introduction of a monthly car-free Sunday. Voters had all last week until 6pm on Sunday to cast their votes. Of the 9,880 people that voted 43% were in favour of banning cars from Kortrijk on one Sunday every month. Speaking after the result had been declared, the Mayor of Kortrijk Vincent Van Quickenborne said that “The result is very clear”. 

Around 64,000 people in Kortrijk were eligible to vote. In order to take part they had to first give the number of their identity card. 72% of participants voted using their mobile phones the rest using a tablet, laptop or PC.   

Around a third of those that voted also made suggestions to improve mobility in the city.

The car-free Sunday would have been in force between 10am and 6pm and would have been limited to part of the city centre.

Although less than 1 in 6 of those eligible to vote did so Mayor Van Quickenborne was pleased that almost 10,000 people voted. This far exceeded the 2,000 votes needed for the referendum to be valid.

"This is proof that direct democracy works”.

57% voted against the proposal. “The result is clear. The people have spoken clearly. For them one car-free Sunday a year is enough”.

Kortrijk is the first municipality in Belgium to hold a digital referendum. By doing so it hopes to involve residents in big decision. Such a referendum on a big issue in the city will be held every October for the duration of the municipal legislature that ends in 2024.   

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