The city council is supposed to hold another referendum this autumn, almost 25 years after the last referendum in Ghent. A group of activists gathered enough signatures for a vote on affordable housing.
A box of 35,620 signatures. The workers had gone to City Hall a few weeks ago regarding this. They took to the streets for months to get a referendum through those signatures and are now winning their fight. Signatures have been counted and are sufficient.
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“After receiving, our services began to carefully check whether the signatures were valid,” says Alderman for Civil Affairs Isabel Hendrickx (CD&V). “They stopped counting at 26,725. This was ten percent of all Ghent residents recorded on the date of issue, 15 May.
commitment? The lack of affordable housing in the city and a referendum against the sale of city buildings. Action group ‘Too Expensive’ wants to use the land and buildings for social housing and start a debate about house prices in Ghent.
“Now that we know there will be a referendum, it is up to the city council to determine the exact date and questions,” says Hendricks. “It will take place at the end of June. The referendum will take place in early October: a year before the next local elections as scheduled, with enough time to organize it properly. Later, depending on the result, We’ll see how we can continue to work with this as a city council.
A referendum has been held for the first time since 1999. The residents of Ghent voted on free public transport, but the turnout was too low to be valid. Other attempts at sub-municipalities and district councils in the circulation plan ended in lack of signatures. The result is only valid if ten percent of all residents vote, and is not binding anyway.