The Brussels Parliament voted in favour of a bill submitted by majority representatives (PS, DéFi, cdH, sp.a) and the Green opposition on Friday. It called for non-Belgian nationals living in Brussels to have the right to vote in the regional elections. The MR, N-VA and Vlaams Belang voted against it. Stefaan Cornelis (Open Vld) abstained. Putting it into legislation is a federal matter.
In Layman’s terms, the bill says the federal government should extend the vote in the regional elections, making conditions the same as the local elections. The bill also includes an evaluation of the pre-registration process for non-European foreign voters, to see whether or not it is an obstacle to them exercising their right to vote.
The Brussels Parliament wants the future Senate to do a more thorough investigation on this issue and see whether people’s right to vote can be registered automatically, with an option to deregister. It also thinks other points should be examined by the Senate, including eligibility and giving foreign nationals the right to vote in other regions.
Currently, one Brussels resident in three old enough to vote cannot do so. That’s more than 300,000 citizens.