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At a glance

Structure of Parliament: Bicameral

Are there legislated quotas...

  • Yes for the Single/Lower House?
  • Yes for the Upper House?
  • Yes at the Sub-national level?

Are there voluntary quotas...

  • No adopted by political parties?

Is there additional information?

Yes

Belgium

(Kingdom of Belgium)

Single/Lower house

Chambre des Représentants / House of Representatives

Total seats:150
Total women:59
% women: 39%
Election year:2010
Electoral system:List PR
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas
Election details: IDEA Voter Turnout
IPU Parline
Legal sourceDetails
Quota type:
Legislated Candidate Quotas
Electoral law 150 members of the House of Representatives are elected using the list proportional representation system in multi-member constituencies. On electoral lists, the difference between the number of candidates of each sex should not be more than one. This also applies to the list of alternates. The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Electoral Code, Article 117bis).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance: Electoral law If a party fails to comply with the requirement of a gender-balanced composition, their list shall not be admitted by the electoral authorities (Article 119quinquies).
Rank order/placement rules: Electoral Law The two top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Electoral Code, Article 117bis).

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Last updated 2014-04-01

Upper house

Senat / Senate

Total seats: 71
Total women:27
% women: 38%
Election year:2010
Electoral system:List PR
Quota type: Legislated Candidate Quotas
Election details: IPU Parline
Legal sourceDetails
Quota type:
Legislated Candidate Quotas
Electoral law On electoral lists, the difference between the number of candidates of each sex should not be more than one. This also applies to the list of alternates. The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Article 117bis).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance: Electoral law If a party fails to comply with the requirement of a gender-balanced composition, their list shall not be admitted by the electoral authorities (Article 119quinquies).
Rank order/placement rules: Electoral law The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Article 117bis).

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Last updated 2014-01-22

Quota at the Sub-National Level

Quota type:Legislated Candidate Quotas
Legal sourceDetails
Quota type:
Legislated Candidate Quotas
Electoral law Local elections are governed by the legislation of the 3 respective regions which largely follows the federal legislation and provides for the parity requirement (50%) of each gender on candidate lists (Article 23 (9) of the Communal Elections Law).
Legal sanctions for non-compliance: Electoral law Non-compliance with the gender-parity legislation results in the rejection of the candidate list (Article 26 (2)).
Rank order/placement rules: Electoral law The 2 top candidates on candidate lists and on the lists of alternates cannot be of the same gender (Article 23 (9)).

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Last updated 2014-01-22

Additional information

The first gender quota law was adopted in 1994. Initially, a transitional provision setting a 25 per cent gender-neutral quota on candidate lists for elections at the sub-national level was implemented, in order to give political parties the chance to adapt to the new rules. For the same reason, the law stipulated that the obligation for political parties not to include in their lists more than two-thirds of candidates of the same gender would be applicable from the 1999 elections. Thus, the quota provisions were not implemented in the 1995 federal elections.

Only in the 1999 and 2000 elections was the quota legislation adopted in 1994 used for the elections at all levels, including communal, provincial, regional, federal and European Parliament elections. The law was then revised in 2002 into its current form and applied to the federal elections in 2007 and the regional and European Parliament elections in 2009. The communal and provincial electoral rules are at this stage locally regulated, but largely follow the federal gender-parity legislation (Meier 2008: 43–44).

Last updated 2014-01-22

Sources

LEGAL SOURCES:

OTHER SOURCES:

  • Meier, P., ‘Paradoxes in the Meaning of Quotas in Belgium’, in S. Franceschet, M. L. Krook and J. M. Piscopo (eds), The Impact of Gender Quotas (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012);
  • Meier, P., ‘Belgium: A Best Practice Put in Perspective’, in D. Dahlerup and L. Freidenvall (eds), Electoral Gender Quota Systems and Their Implementation in Europe (Brussels: European Parliament, 2008),

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