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Belgium

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Elections in Belgium gives information on election and election results in Belgium.

Belgium elects on federal level a legislature. The Federal Parliament (Federale Parlement/Parlement Fédérale/Föderales Parlament) has two chambers. The Chamber of People's Representatives (Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers/Chambre des Représentants/Abgeordnetenkammer) has 150 members, elected for a four year term by proportional representation. The Senate (Senaat/Sénat/Senat) has 71 members, 40 members directly-elected for a four year term by proportional representation, 21 members appointed by the Community Parliaments and 10 coopted members appointed by the other Senators. In addition, the children of the King are Senators by right.

Belgium has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which no one party often has a chance of gaining power alone, and parties must work with each other to form coalition governments.

Several months before an election, each party forms a list of candidates for each district. Parties are allowed to place as many candidates on their "ticket" as there are seats available. The formation of the list is an internal process that varies with each party. The place on the list influences the election of a candidate, but its influence has diminished since the last electoral reform.

Political campaigns in Belgium are relatively short, lasting only about one month, and there are restrictions on the use of billboards. For all of their activities, campaigns included, the political parties have to rely on government subsidies and dues paid by their members. An electoral expenditures law restricts expenditures of political parties during an electoral campaign. Because of the huge public bureaucracy, the high politisation of nominations, and the widely accepted practice that political nominees spend many man-months paid for by all tax-payers for partisan electioneering, this arrangement massively favors the ruling political parties.

Since no single party holds an absolute majority, after the election the strongest party or party family will usually create a coalition with some of the other parties to form the government.

Voting is compulsory in Belgium; more than 90% of the population participates. Belgian voters are given five options when voting. They may:

  • Vote for a list as a whole, thereby showing approval of the order established by the party they vote for;
  • Vote for one or more individual candidates belonging to one party, regardless of his/her ranking on the list. This is a "preference vote;"
  • Vote for one or more of the "alternates (substitutes);"
  • Vote for one or more candidates, and one or more alternates, all of the same party; or
  • Vote invalid or blank so no one receives the vote

Elections for the Federal Parliament are normally held every four years although early elections are possible. The regional parliaments are elected every five years, and their elections coincide with those for the European Parliament, no early elections are possible. Elections for the members of Belgium's municipal and provincial councils are held every six years, no early elections are possible.

Voting in Belgium is done almost entirely by electronic voting on a computer. A few weeks before the actual election, every Belgian older then 18 receives a voting card with the details of the voting bureau where he/she has to cast his/her vote. Voting bureaus are usually in schools. Several voting bureaus can be spread out in the school using the school's facility to accommodate all the people. A bureau is lead by a chairmen and a few volunteers, these are ordinary people that are randomly picked and assigned a job. Computers are installed in private cubicles. When someone arrives in a bureau, the following procedure is followed:

  • The voter gives his/hers eID card and his voting card to a volunteer of the bureau
  • The volunteer checks if the voter is in the correct bureau and checks if his/her name is on the list of voters for this bureau
  • The voter receives a magnetic card and is directed to a private cubicle
  • The voter inserts the magnetic card and casts his/her vote by tapping the choices on the screen with a computer pen; each choice has to be confirmed once; after the vote, the magnetic card is ejected from the system.
  • The voter returns to the volunteer and inserts his/her magnetic card in a receiver machine; this machine only shows whether the vote is valid or not.
  • If the vote is valid, the voter receives his/hers eID back and the original voting card that has a stamp with an identification code of the bureau; this is the proof for the voter that he/she actually did cast a vote in the election.

The most recent general election was held on 10 June 2007. The next regional elections are expected in June 2009 and the next communal and provincial elections in October 2012.

Contents

Latest federal election

e • d  Summary of the 10 June 2007 Belgian Chamber of Representatives election results
Parties Chamber
Votes +/- % +/- Seats +/-
Christian Democratic and FlemishNew-Flemish Alliance (Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams – Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie) 1,234,950 +162,802 18.51% +2.20% 30 +8
Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur) 835,073 +86,121 12.52% +1.12% 23 −1
Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang) 799,844 +38,437 11.99% +0.40% 17 −1
Open VLD 789,455 −219,768 11.83% −3.53% 18 −7
Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) 724,787 −131,205 10.86% −2.16% 20 −5
Socialist Party – DifferentSpirit (Socialistische Partij – Anders – Spirit) 684,390 −295,360 10.26% −4.65% 14 −9
Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste) 404,077 +44,417 6.06% +0.59% 10 +2
Ecolo 340,378 +139,260 5.10% +2.04% 8 +4
List Dedecker (Lijst Dedecker) 268,648 +268,648 4.03% +4.03% 5 +5
Green! (Groen!) 265,828 +103,623 3.98% +1.51% 4 +4
National Front (Front National) 131,385 +1,373 1.97% −0.01% 1 ±0
Others 192,545 2.89%
Total (turnout 91.0%) 6,671,360   100%   150  
Source: Verkiezingen 2007.

The 2003 data are resp. CD&V and N-VA instead of CD&V NVA alliance, Vlaams Blok instead of Vlaams Belang and Agalev instead of Groen!.

e • d  Summary of the 10 June 2007 Belgian Senate election results
Parties Senate
Votes +/- % +/- Seats +/-
Christian Democratic and FlemishNew-Flemish Alliance (Christen-Democratisch & Vlaams – Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie) 1,287,389 +254,267 19.42% +3.65% 9 +3
Open VLD 821,980 −185,888 12.40% −2.98% 5 −2
Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur) 815,755 +19,998 12.31% +0.16% 6 +1
Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang) 787,782 +45,842 11.89% +0.57% 5 ±0
Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste) 678,812 −162,096 10.24% −2.60% 4 −2
Socialist Party – DifferentSpirit (Socialistische Partij – Anders – Spirit) 665,342 −348,218 10.04% −5.43% 4 −3
Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste) 390,852 +28,147 5.90% +0.36% 2 ±0
Ecolo 385,466 +176,598 5.82% +2.63% 2 +1
Green (Groen) 241,151 +80,127 3.64% +1.18% 1 +1
List Dedecker (Lijst Dedecker) 223,992 +223,992 3.38% +3.38% 1 +1
National Front (Front National) 150,461 +3,156 2.27% +0.02% 1 ±0
Others 179,145 2.69%
Total (turnout 91.1%) 6,628,127   100.00%   40  
Source: Verkiezingen 2007.

The 2003 data are resp. CD&V and N-VA instead of CD&V NVA alliance, Vlaams Blok instead of Vlaams Belang and Agalev instead of Groen!.

Results in Flanders

Party 2007 2003 Change
% seats % Seats % Seats
CD&V/N-VA 29,6 30 25,3 22 +4,3 +8
Open Vld 18,8 18 25,9 25 -7,1 -7
Vlaams Belang 19 17 18,2 18 +0,8 -1
sp.a-spirit 16,3 14 24,9 23 -8,6 -9
Lijst Dedecker 6,5 5 - - +6,5 +5
Groen! 6,3 4 3,9 0 +2,4 +4
Others 3,5 0 1,8 0 - =
Total 100,0 88 100,0 88 0,0 0

Last elections

Past elections

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European elections

See also

External links


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