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Belgium - Electoral Law

Election to the European Parliament : 13 June 2004 - Electoral Procedure


1. LEGAL BASIS

Federal law of 23 March 1989, as amended by the federal laws of 11 April 1994, 29 April 1994 and 5 April 1995 (new law proposal adopted by federal Chambers - 11/3/04 - nr. 840).
Federal law of 5 March 2004 regulates the passing from 25 to 24 seats for the European elections.
Federal law of 11 March 2003 (Min. Decree of 17 April 2003) imposes 50% men and 50 % women on electoral lists and the first 3 candidates on candidate and alternate lists not being of the same sex.

2. ELECTORAL SYSTEM
Proportional representation on the basis of four constituencies (Flanders, Wallonia, the German-speaking region and the Brussels region) and three electoral colleges.
  • 14 Members will be elected by the Dutch-speaking electoral college (Flanders + Brussels)
  • 9 Members by the French-speaking college (Wallonia + Brussels),
  • 1 Members by the German-speaking college.
Preference voting.
3. REGISTRATION OF CANDIDATES
Deadline for registration:Friday 16 April 2004 (2pm - 4pm) or Saturday 17 April 2004 (9am - 12 noon).
Deposit: None.

Conditions: Signatures required:

  • 5 Belgian MPs of the same language category as the candidate,or
  • 5000 French-speaking voters for the French-speaking electoral college,
  • 5000 Dutch-speaking voters for the Dutch-speaking electoral college,
  • 200 German-speaking voters for the German-speaking electoral college.
Incompatibilities: Those laid down in the 1976 Act on Elections to the European Parliament. In addition, the position of Member of the European Parliament is incompatible with national public office or membership of a federal or regional executive and with the office of mayor, alderman or chairman of the OCMW / CPAS (social aid centre) of a municipality with more than 50 000 inhabitants.
4. POLLING DAY : 13 JUNE 2004
Other elections on the same day: Flemish Council, Walloon Regional Council, Council of the Brussels Region and Council of the German-speaking Community.
Voting hours: In principle, 8am to 1pm (traditional voting method) and 8am to 3pm (electronic voting). A draft law provides for polling stations to close later, on the King's orders, when other elections are held on the same day.
The count begins at a time to be decided by the King (taking account of the time at which polling stations close in other countries). The time at which the vote ends and the results are announced depends on the time the count begins.
5. VOTING / STANDING FOR ELECTION

Right to vote:
All Belgian citizens aged 18 or over and in full possession of their voting rights are entitled to vote.
All EU citizens who meet the same conditions may vote.
Belgians residents abroad who are aged 18 or over and in full possession of their voting rights and who apply to vote by post for Belgian lists are entitled to vote.
Voting is compulsory for all voters registered on electoral rolls. Proxy voting is allowed for the first two categories above.

Right to stand for election
Anyone registered on a Belgian electoral roll for European Parliament elections may stand for election.
Candidates must be aged 21 or over and enjoy their civil and political rights.
Candidates must be French-, Dutch- or German-speakers, depending on the college for which they stand.
6. ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Funding: Limited by the law of 19 May 1994, as amended by the law of 25 June 1998 (law revised in federal chambers - proposal 4/3/04 - nr. 825). The limits on campaign expenditure laid down by the above law apply to the three-month period prior to the elections.
Official campaign starting date: 40 days before the election, i.e May 4, 2004

Media access: Restrictions have been introduced under the same law. For the national media, broadcasting time is decided by the radio or TV station itself in accordance with the size of the parties. Broadcasting of Interior figures at 10 PM.

Opinion polls: No restrictions.