Belgium Government: from the All Country Info reference guide to country facts

Belgium Government

Belgium Government: A summary of information about Belgium Government, from government research data as well as independent research and other sources.

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Belgium: Government

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
Data code
BE
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 Capital Region is not included within the 10
provinces
Independence
4 October 1830 (from the Netherlands)
National holiday
National Day, 21 July (ascension of King LEOPOLD I
to the throne in 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, Cour de Cassation in French, judges are appointed for life by
the Belgian monarch
Political parties and leaders
AGALEV (Flemish Greens) [Wilfried
BERVOETS]; ECOLO (Francophone Greens) ; 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) ; Francophone Democratic Front or
FDF ; Francophone Liberal Reformation
Party or PRL ; Francophone Socialist Party
or PS ; National Front or FN ;
Vlaams Blok or VB ; Volksunie or VU [Geert BOURGEOIS,
president]; 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 the Flemish Action Committee Against Nuclear Weapons and Pax
Christi
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, 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:  (202) 333-6900
FAX:  (202) 333-3079
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission: Ambassador Paul CEJAS
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent, B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
telephone:  (2) 508-2111
FAX:  (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
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