EU elections in Belgium: High turnout, little interest

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In the country hosting the EU institutions, European elections are held on the same day as regional elections, with local issues overshadowing the EU poll. Voting is compulsory in Belgium, and over 90% of the population usually participates in the ballot.

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Overview

Belgium's political institutions are complex, with most political power organised around the need to represent the main linguistic communities. This is also reflected in the way that the European elections are organised. 

Under the Treaty of Nice, the number of Belgian MEPs will be reduced from 24 (in 2004) to 22 after the 2009 poll: 13 MEPs will be elected by the Dutch-speaking electoral college, eight delegates by the Francophone electoral college and only one will be elected by the German-speaking electoral college. 

Previous results 

In the 2004 EU elections, the following parties sent MEPs to Strasbourg: 

Dutch-speaking electoral college: 

  • Christian Democratic and Flemish/New Flemish Alliance (CDV/NVA) – four MEPs; 
  • Vlaams Belang (VB) – three MEPs; 
  • Flemish Liberals and Democrats (VLD) – three MEPs; 
  • Social Progressive Alternative-Spirit (SPA-Spirit) – three MEPs; 
  • Greens (Groen!-EFA) – one MEP. 

French-speaking electoral college: 

  • Socialist Party (PS) – four MEPs; 
  • Reformist Movement (MR) – three MEPs; 
  • Democratic Humanist Centre (CDH) – one MEP; 
  • Ecologists (Ecolo) – one MEP. 

German-speaking electoral college: 

  • Christian Social Party (CSP-EVP) – one MEP. 

Affiliation to European political families 

  • CDV-NVA and CDH are affiliated to the centre-right EPP-ED group in the present European Parliament (EP); 
  • VLD and MR are affiliated to the liberal ALDE group; 
  • SPA-Spirit and PS are affiliated to the socialist PES; 
  • Ecolo and Groen!-EFA are affiliated to the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance; 
  • Vlaams Belang are non-attached, following the collapse of the Identity, Tradition and Sovereignty (ITS) political group in the EP (EurActiv 15/11/07). 
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