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  • 43


     
    The Influence of the Immigrant Vote on Belgian (and Dutch) Politics
    Immigration; Posted on: 2007-06-30 16:27:12 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]
    Half of the 650,000 “new Belgians” were created since 2000, at an average of over 4,200 each month.

    by Paul Belien

    Belgium has 10.5 million (legal) inhabitants. About 9 million of them are indigenous Belgians – of whom 6 million are Dutch-speaking Flemings and 3 million French-speaking Walloons. Belgium also has 900,000 legal aliens, and 650,000 so-called “new Belgians” – foreigners who acquired the Belgian nationality since 1980. About 0.5 million Belgian inhabitants are Muslims, of whom 265,000 Moroccans and 155,000 Turks. According to the security services, almost 2% of the Muslims (some 8,000 people) sympathize with Islamist extremists.

    Since the acceptance of the so-called “Quick Citizenship” Act in May 2000, the Belgian nationality is notoriously easy to acquire. Belgian citizenship is a right for everyone who has lived in the country for 7 (but often only 3 or even 2) years. One does not need to speak the language or prove that one is willing to integrate in the host country. Obviously, the “new Belgians” are entitled to vote in all elections, while legal aliens have been given the right to vote in local elections.

    The decisions to extend the local franchise to foreigners and to grant Belgian nationality virtually on demand were taken with the aim of countering the electoral surge of the Flemish-secessionist Vlaams Belang. As Leona Detiège, the Socialist Mayor of Antwerp, said in September 2000: “The VB is currently overrepresented as the immigrants are not allowed to vote.” In February 2001, Claude Eerdekens, the parliamentary leader of the governing Parti Socialiste, admitted that “99 % of the applications [for Belgian citizenship] made in Brussels are filed in French.” Indeed, in order to counter the demand for more autonomy on the part of the Flemings, the authorities have granted Belgian citizenship to as many French-speaking foreigners as possible. “We do more for the frenchification of Brussels than the Flemings can ever do to prevent it,” Eerdekens boasted.

    Half of the 650,000 “new Belgians” were created since 2000, at an average of over 4,200 each month. Most of the “new Belgians” live in the major cities. Today only 29.5% of the population of Brussels are indigenous Belgians, 26.9% are legal aliens and 43.6% are “new Belgians” (the latter figure was 34.8% in 2003 – an increase of 8.8% in barely 4 years).

    In Antwerp, the corresponding figures are 67.6%, 12.5% and 19.9% (15.6% in 2003). In Mechelen, 79.4%, 6.4% and 14.2% (10.9% in 2003). In Ghent, 79.0%, 7.8%, and 13.2% (10.7% in 2003). The figures were recently published by the leftist sociologist Jan Hertogen. Though Hertogen is an outspoken opponent of the Vlaams Belang he has been reprimanded for publishing the figures by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), a government organisation.

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    "Soon we will take power in this country. Those who criticize us now, will regret it. They will have to serve us. Prepare, for the hour is near."
    News Source: brusselsjournal.com

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