Elections 2024: More than 1 million Belgians did not go to vote

More than 1,050,000 people, or about 12.5 per cent of the Belgian electorate, stayed away from the polls on Sunday. The figure is a record and is about 100,000 more than the previous high seen in 2019.

The group who did not vote effectively represent the second-largest party in the country. The largest party, N-VA, secured 1.165 million votes. In the last elections, in 2019, about 950,000 people or 11.6 per cent did not vote.

Brussels had the lowest turnout in the country, with 17.5 per cent of residents not voting. In every Walloon province, the turnout was lower than in Flemish provinces. About 10 per cent of people in Flanders did not vote, compared to about 16 per cent of Walloons.

Voting is compulsory in Belgium and every citizen who is eligible to vote should enter a polling booth. They are not obliged to vote and can also leave their ballot blank. Those who do not go to the polling station face a fine, but the rule is almost never enforced.

Man holding a torn voting letter © BELGA PHOTO TOM GOYVAERTS

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