Elections 2024: Record number of Belgians cast vote abroad

A record number of Belgians are taking part in the elections abroad. They can cast their vote by post or go to a polling station at Belgian embassies and consulates on Wednesday.

More than 255,000 Belgians living abroad will take part in the upcoming elections. In the 2019 elections, the number was 178,000. The fact that 16- and 17-year-olds can vote in the European elections for the first time is a first possible explanation for this increase. A total of 1,900 people in this age group living abroad registered to do so.

The number of Belgians living abroad has also risen sharply in recent years. In 2019, there were 476,653. Now, there are more than 537,000. In principle, voting is compulsory for them, like for all other Belgians. But they are required to register to vote, and not everyone does. Belgians living abroad can also only vote in federal and European elections. They cannot participate in the regional elections if they are not domiciled in Belgium.

Belgians abroad do not have to wait until 9 June. Most of them vote by letter. The Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs sent out 178,000 ballot papers to all corners of the world. Their votes need to be in by Sunday at 14.00 at the latest.

A total of 35,186 other Belgians will vote at a Belgian embassy or consulate on Wednesday. In most countries, this is only possible at one place. But in Paris, Belgians can vote at five sites, and in London three polling stations are set up. People can also choose to vote via a proxy.

Man casting his vote at a polling station © BELGA PHOTO DIRK WAEM

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