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Travel & Tourism . Tourist Guide to the Country

Belgium Government




Belgium    Government Top of Page
Country name: conventional long form:  Kingdom of Belgium

conventional short form:  Belgium

local long form:  Royaume de Belgique/Koninkrijk Belgie

local short form:  Belgique/Belgie
Government type: federal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch
Capital: Brussels
Administrative divisions: 10 provinces (French: provinces, singular - province; Flemish: provincien, singular - provincie); Antwerpen, Brabant Wallon, Hainaut, Liege, Limburg, Luxembourg, Namur, Oost-Vlaanderen, Vlaams Brabant, West-Vlaanderen; note - the Brussels Capitol Region is not included within the 10 provinces
Independence: 21 July 1831 (from the Netherlands)
National holiday: Independence Day, 21 July (1831)
Constitution: 7 February 1831, last revised 14 July 1993; parliament approved a constitutional package creating a federal state
Legal system: civil law system influenced by English constitutional theory; judicial review of legislative acts; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction, with reservations
Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch: chief of state:  King ALBERT II (since 9 August 1993); Heir Apparent Prince PHILIPPE, son of the monarch

head of government:  Prime Minister Guy VERHOFSTADT (since 13 July 1999)

cabinet:  Council of Ministers appointed by the monarch and approved by Parliament

elections:  none; the monarch is hereditary; prime minister appointed by the monarch and then approved by Parliament

note:  government coalition - VLD, PRL, PS, SP, AGALEV, and ECOLO
Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats; 40 members are directly elected by popular vote, 31 are indirectly elected; members serve four-year terms) and a Chamber of Deputies or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers in Dutch, Chambre des Representants in French (150 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)

elections:  Senate and Chamber of Deputies - last held 13 June 1999 (next to be held in NA 2003)

election results:  Senate - percent of vote by party - VLD 15.4%, CVP 14.7%, PRL 10.6%, PS 9.7%, VB 9.4%, SP 8.9%, ECOLO 7.4%, AGALEV 7.1%, PSC 6.0%, VU 5.1%; seats by party - VLD 11, CVP 10, PS 10, PRL 9, VB 6, SP 6, ECOLO 6, AGALEV 5, PSC 5, VU 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - VLD 14.3%, CVP 14.1%, PS 10.2%, PRL 10.1%, VB 9.9%, SP 9.5%, ECOLO 7.4%, AGALEV 7.0%, PSC 5.9%, VU 5.6%; seats by party - VLD 23, CVP 22, PS 19, PRL 18, VB 15, SP 14, ECOLO 11, PSC 10, AGALEV 9, VU 8, FN 1

note:  as a result of the 1993 constitutional revision that furthered devolution into a federal state, there are now three levels of government (federal, regional, and linguistic community) with a complex division of responsibilities; this reality leaves six governments each with its own legislative assembly; for other acronyms of the listed parties see Political parties and leaders
Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie (in Dutch) or Cour de Cassation (in French) (judges are appointed for life by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders: AGALEV (Flemish Greens) [Dos GEYSELS]; ECOLO (Francophone Greens) [no president]; Flemish Christian Democrats or CVP (Christian People's Party) [Stefaan DE CLERCK, president]; Flemish Liberal Democrats or VLD [Karel DE GUCHT, president]; Flemish Socialist Party or SP [Patrick JANSSENS, president]; Francophone Christian Democrats or PSC (Social Christian Party) [Joelle MILQUET, president]; Francophone Liberal Reformation Party or PRL [Daniel DUCARME, president]; Francophone Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO, president]; National Front or FN [Daniel FERET]; Vlaams Blok or VB [Frank VANHECKE]; Volksunie or VU [leader vacant]; other minor parties
Political pressure groups and leaders: Christian and Socialist Trade Unions; Federation of Belgian Industries; numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; various organizations represent the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as Pax Christi and groups representing immigrants
International organization participation: ACCT, AfDB, AsDB, Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CCC, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, G- 9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, MINURSO, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMIK, UNMOGIP, UNMOP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WADB (nonregional), WCL, WEU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO, ZC
Diplomatic representation in the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador Alexis REYN

chancery:  3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone:  [1] (202) 333-6900

FAX:  [1] (202) 333-3079

consulate(s) general:  Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US: chief of mission:  Ambassador (vacant)

embassy:  27 Boulevard du Regent, B-1000 Brussels

mailing address:  PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710

telephone:  [32] (2) 508-2111

FAX:  [32] (2) 511-2725
Flag description: three equal vertical bands of black (hoist side), yellow, and red; the design was based on the flag of France

 

Countryfacts Information Courtesy: CIA Worldbook








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