Brussels Express is happy to support the #1brui1vote campaign.
A group of Brussels residents launched the #1Bru1Vote campaign to extend voting rights in Brussels region elections to non-Belgian citizens.
Sign the petition here
On 26 May 2019, as the Brussels-Capital Region celebrates its 30 years of existence, citizens of Brussels-Capital will vote to elect the assembly of this city-region – the Brussels-Capital Parliament. But not all residents of Brussels, or Brusseleirs, will be able to vote!
1 in 3 Brussels-Capital adult residents – or 310.000 adult people – are denied the right to vote, and are prevented from taking an active political role, because they are non-Belgian.These 220.000 adult European Union citizens and 90.000 adult citizens with other nationalities are second-class citizens in this city-region, since they are excluded from the democratic process. And yet they are Brussels residents like everyone else—who live, love, work, study, pay taxes and contribute in so many ways to make Brussels-Capital a better home for everyone.
These 310.000 Brussels adult residents, do not have a say on decisions that affect their day-to-day lives, such as mobility and public transport, urban planning and heritage, parks and green spaces, waste and recycling, infrastructure and public works, pollution and air quality, energy and sustainable development, family allocations and education as well as budget.
It is true that all inhabitants of Brussels-Capital, regardless of nationality, can vote in local « communal elections ». But this is an insufficient right because it is fragmented across the 19 communes. While it is at the level of the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three federal entities in Belgium, that Brussels residents’ life is really organized, and that significant decisions – and policy-making take place.
If the Brussels-Capital Region has the particularity of being a federated entity with many areas of competences, unique in Europe, it nevertheless has one of the largest democratic deficits in the European Union. Elsewhere in Europe, the vote of non-national residents counts well at the city level for the election of its assembly or council. In these cities, the vote of non-national residents counts for the election of the assembly of the city and not just at the commune, district or district level.
It is time for change! It is time for all Brussels residents to be able to exercise full rights as citizens, perhaps subject to a minimum requisite period of residence.
The exclusion of 35% of Brussels-Capital residents undermines the legitimacy and accountability of its institutions as well as the social cohesion or the feeling of community in a city-region as diverse and complex as Brussels. Political and public life in Brussels is also missing out on the dynamic human capital that those 1 in 3 Brussels residents could contribute to the creation of a truly cosmopolitan and resilient Global City and Capital of Europe.
We are well aware of the existence of lively debates on reform of the Brussels-Capital Region and its 19 communes and on the good governance in its institutions. On that regards, it is essential to invite all Brussels residents to the table – in other words, not only those who currently have the right to vote, but each and every Brussels residents !
And let’s start this debate with the communal elections of October 14, 2018, where we work together to get non-Belgians to register to vote, and then for the 2019 regional elections, to discuss together the future of this city-region of 1,190,000 Brussels residents !
We call upon Prime Minister Charles Michel and members of the Belgian Parliamentary assemblies to submit a legislative proposal to the Parliament to grant all residents of the Brussels-Capital Region the right to vote in the 26 May 2019 regional elections.
If you share these ambitions, whatever your nationality and your language – non-Belgian or Belgian – join our non-partisan movement open to all !
Let’s truly shape and build the future of Brussels-Capital together. Let’s seize the opportunity and benefit from its full human capital !
The voices of all Brusseleirs must count ! #1bru1Vote