Elections in Belgium
Elections are an important tool for the operation of a democratic state. They ensure that the population is represented by political parties in legislative bodies of various levels of governance, such as parliaments and councils. Participation in elections, i.e. voting, is mandatory in Belgium.
What types of elections are held in Belgium?
In Belgium, you can vote in five different elections:
- European elections: representatives for the European Parliament
- federal elections: for the federal parliament (the Chamber of Representatives)
- regional elections: for the legislative bodies of the federated regions, e.g.:
- the Flemish Parliament
- the Walloon Parliament
- the Parliament of the Brussels Capital Region
- the Parliament of the German-speaking Community
- provincial elections: for the Provincial council
- municipal elections: for the Municipal council.
On certain conditions, also non-Belgians can vote in a number of elections.
When do elections take place?
Below, please find per level of governance how often elections are held and whether non-Belgian residents have a right to vote.
|Level of governance||Frequency||Right tot vote of non-Belgians|
|Municipal||every 6 years||
|Provincial||every 6 years||no right to vote|
|Regional (Flemish)||every 5 years||no right to vote|
|Federal||every 5 years||no right to vote|
|European||every 5 years||EU citizens|
How can non-Belgians vote in Belgian elections?
As a foreign national in Belgium, you can vote in municipal elections in Belgium on certain conditions. If you are a national of one of the countries of the European Union (EU), you are automatically allowed to vote in European elections.
In order to vote in municipal elections as a foreign resident, you must:
- be registered in a Belgian municipality:
- in the local authority's register office
- or foreign nationals register
- be 18 years of age or older
- be listed in the electoral register.
In order to get enrolled in the electoral register, you must complete an application form. That form can be obtained free of charge from your local authority or can be downloaded from the election site.
The registration remains valid for the following municipal elections, on the condition that you continue to meet the conditions for voting. If you no longer want to vote in local elections, you must renounce your right to vote in writing.
All information on the local and provincial elections is available at the Vlaanderenkiest.be website. Here, you will also find information on voting by non-Belgians in local elections.
The FPS Home Affairs website includes general information on electoral legislation and federal, regional and European elections. You will also find results and division of seats of the most recent elections.
Agency for Local and Provincial Government
Federal Public Service Home Affairs
General Directorate Institutions and Population
Tel: 02 518 21 31
Fax: 02 518 26 31