Home News Belgium’s 2024 general election: What you need to know

Belgium’s 2024 general election: What you need to know

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For a relatively small country in northern Europe with a population of 11.5 million, Belgium is unusually high in political relevance and drama, all of which will play out on June 9 when Belgians go to the polls.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is the seat of EU institutions and NATO. The country’s complex identity has long been a subject of fascination and confusion. It is a federation largely divided into two communities, the Dutch-speaking Flemish and the French-speaking Walloons, as well as a very small German-speaking minority.

Belgium, in its historical efforts to accommodate the divisions between these communities while keeping the country united, has created a complex governance structure affectionately known as the “administrative lasagna”—which accurately describes the layers functioning of bureaucracies.

On June 9, Belgians will go to the polls to not only choose their European Parliament RepresentativeJust like hundreds of millions of other people across the EU, along with their government officials at federal and regional levels.

With extreme political leanings high in opinion polls, forming a national government looks trickier than ever in a country that once took nearly 18 months to assemble a governing coalition after an election. set world record.

The election results could also have profound consequences for the fabric of the country. The far-right Flemish separatist Vlaams Belang, or “Flemish Interest” party, could become the country’s largest party, with support doubling its level in the last parliamentary election in 2019, polls show many. This would allow more Flemish people to gain support. Autonomy, even independence, is firmly back on the political agenda.

All other parties have long vowed never to govern with Flams Braun, making it unlikely that an anti-immigration party will ever take power across the country. But its dramatic rise could give more moderate groups influence, radically changing the way national and regional power is divided.

While separatist forces in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region in northern Belgium, dream of complete secession, it is more realistic that after June 9 the north and south of the country may begin negotiating far-reaching changes that will not actually split the country.

Still, this is an unusual situation in the European Union, where separatist movements have been largely contained.

This month, the current government gave the next Full power to amend the constitution Make possible a radical reform of its federal system. Any changes to the constitution after the election will still need to be approved by a two-thirds majority of parliament.

Voting in Belgium is complicated because of a push for more regional autonomy that has shaped the country. As a federal country, Belgium divides power between a national or federal government and five regional or community governments. Depending on where they vote, Belgians will receive three or four different ballots on June 9.

Regional divisions also affected the way EU votes were cast that day. Belgium is the only country to allocate its allocated seats in the European Parliament to the Dutch, French and German-speaking electoral colleges, which can fill 13, 8 and 1 seats respectively. Belgians aged 16 and 17 will be able to vote in European elections for the first time, a landmark victory for the global campaign to lower the voting age.

In Belgium, voting in person is compulsory. Those who fail to do so face fines of up to 80 euros ($87), although this rarely happens. Voter turnout in the 2019 election was approximately 88%, one of the highest in the world.

opinion polls show The Flemish Party won the most seats in the 150-seat National Assembly, becoming the largest party, followed by three other parties: the far-left Belgian Workers’ Party, the Flemish nationalist New Flemish Alliance and the V Long Socialist Party.

Belgium has long struggled to form a national government that unites regional forces, and the rise of the far right and far left could make things more difficult for more moderate parties.

Overall, the centrist parties that make up Prime Minister Alexander De Croo’s current government have lost ground and are expected to fall just short of a majority. Still, forming a government without the extreme left and right seems possible if other parties can be persuaded to join their coalition. But keeping it together will be a difficult task.

Voting will close at 4 p.m. local time on June 9, with preliminary results to be announced on a rolling basis on the country’s French and Dutch public broadcasters. The final tally will usually be announced within 24 hours of the polls closing.

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