Give each voter five votes to break federal government deadlock, justice minister says

Give each voter five votes to break federal government deadlock, justice minister says
Koen Geens said giving more votes for each voter to distribute could end recurrent crisis at the federal level. Credit: © Belga

Allowing every citizen to cast five votes instead of a single one could help Belgium break recurrent deadlocks at the federal level, the caretaker justice minister said.

In an interview with Het Nieuwsblad, Justice Minister Koen Geens said that by allowing more votes per voter, citizens would be able to express their political views in a more nuanced way and avoid the divisive effects of protest votes.

“Give them five votes instead of one so that they can, for example, give two to Groen —because the climate concerns them— and one to Vlaams Belang, because they want stricter immigration policy at the same time,” Geens said, referring to the green and far-right parties.

Geens said that Belgian voters were already using their votes in a similar fashion on election day, which in Belgium sees citizens called to the polls to vote on regional, federal and EU elections simultaneously.

Geens is currently holding onto his ministerial position in a caretaker capacity, as for seven months parties have been unable to reach an agreement on the formation of a new federal government.

The divisive results of the federal election in May have seen two pairs of royal informants, top government officials charged with overseeing the formation of a government, walk away from the task.

The Francophone party’s leader Paul Magnette was the latest official to request to be relieved from his assignment, handing his final report to King Philippe 9 December.

Geens, who also said he believed a government would be in place between Christmas and Easter —”if Easter came late”— is the second to say voters should not be “restricted” to a single vote, after fellow CD&V member Mark Eyskens said voters should be given anywhere from ten to fifteen votes to distribute.

“You do not take people seriously by restricting them to one vote,” Geens said, adding: “And you do not serve our democracy with it.”

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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