Dutch fined for not voting in Belgium

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Belgium is fining Dutch nationals who live in Belgium, registered to vote in the municipal elections last October, yet who failed to vote. Voting is compulsory for all Belgian residents who are registered to vote, even foreign nationals. The fine starts at 500 euro a person.

Rene van Ham, who lives in the Belgian-Dutch border town of Hoogstraten where 10% of the population is Dutch, said he did not realize this. A neighborhood policeman came to his door recently with a summons.

EU nationals living in Belgium are automatically eligible to vote in local elections. Non-EU nationals who have lived in Belgium for five years are also eligible to vote as of last year, but they need to sign an agreement promising to respect Belgian law. The courts in the border area confirmed that quite a few Dutch nationals failed to show up at the municipal elections.

(Link: People’s Daily)

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