Citizens’ groups want Constitution amended to boost local democracy
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    Citizens’ groups want Constitution amended to boost local democracy

    © Belga
    © Belga

    A collective of 14 organisations want the designation of unelected municipal councillors to be authorised and are calling on political parties to amend Article 162 of the Constitution to that end, La Libre Belgique reported on Friday. The collective, which includes French- and Dutch-speaking citizens’ groups such as, Agora, Belvox, La voix est libre, Oxygène, WeCitizens and Kayoux, addressed a letter on 1 January to party leaders calling for the revision of the mode of designation of municipal and provincial councillors.

    They referred specifically to Article 162, which, given the direct nature of elections, obliges parties to designate beforehand and by name the candidates to be included on the lists submitted for the vote.

    According to the Collective, “this article has to be updated to guarantee that, at the next local elections (in 2024 – Editor’s note) citizens’ representatives not on the nominative electoral lists can fully and entirely exercise the responsibilities that would be entrusted to them.”

    The signatories do not explain how Art. 162 should be rewritten because they have not necessarily agreed on the modus operandi for that.  Some organisations advocate drawing lots to designate some of the members of the communal councils. Others want delegative democracy, in which power is delegated to persons based on their skills. Still others prefer a citizens’-initiative referendum.

    The parties have been invited to state, by the end of January, whether they plan to include 162 in the list of articles submitted for revision. The vote on this list is to be organised by mid-April at the latest.

    Oscar Schneider
    The Brussels Times