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Belgium Government 2011
https://theodora.com/wfb2011/belgium/belgium_government.html
SOURCE: 2011 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES


















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Page last updated on January 12, 2011

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 monarchy

Capital:
name: Brussels
geographic coordinates: 50 50 N, 4 20 E
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:
3 regions (French: regions, singular - region; Dutch: gewesten, singular - gewest); Brussels-Capital Region, also known as Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch), Region de Bruxelles-Capitale (French long form), Bruxelles-Capitale (French short form); Flemish Region (Flanders), also known as Vlaams Gewest (Dutch long form), Vlaanderen (Dutch short form), Region Flamande (French long form), Flandre (French short form); Walloon Region (Wallonia), also known as Region Wallone (French long form), Wallonie (French short form), Waals Gewest (Dutch long form), Wallonie (Dutch short form)
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

Independence:
4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)

National holiday:
21 July (1831) ascension to the Throne of King LEOPOLD I

Constitution:
7 February 1831; amended many times; revised 14 July 1993 to create a federal state

Legal system:
based on 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 Yves LETERME (since 25 November 2009); note - the king accepted the resignation of LETERME on 26 April 2010; LETERME remains as caretaker
cabinet: Council of Ministers are formally appointed by the monarch (For more information visit the  Opens in New Window)
elections: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and then approved by parliament

Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats; 40 members directly elected by popular vote, 31 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 directly elected by popular vote on the basis of proportional representation to serve four-year terms)
elections: Senate and Chamber of Deputies - last held on 13 June 2010 (next to be held no later than June 2014)
election results: Senate - percent of vote by party - N-VA 19.6%, PS 13.6%, CD&V 10%, sp.a 9.5%, MR 9.3%, Open VLD 8.2%, VB 7.6%, Ecolo 5.5%, CDH 5.1% Groen! 3.9%, other 7.7%; seats by party - N-VA 9, PS 7, CD&V 4, sp.a 4, MR 4, Open VLD 4, VB 3, Ecolo 2, CDH 2, Groen! 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - N-VA 17.4%, PS 13.7%, CD&V 10.9%, MR 9.3%, sp.a 9.2%, Open VLD 8.6%, VB 7.8%, CDH 5.5%, Ecolo 4.8%, Groen! 4.4%, List Dedecker 2.3%, the Popular Party 1.3%, other 4.8%; seats by party - N-VA 27, PS 26, CD&V 17, MR 18, sp.a 13, Open VLD 13, VB 12, CDH 9, Ecolo 8, Groen! 5, List Dedecker 1, the Popular Party 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

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 government; candidacies have to be submitted by the High Justice Council)

Political parties and leaders:
Flemish parties: Christian Democratic and Flemish or CDV [Wouter BEKE]; Dedecker List or LDD [Lode VEREECK]; Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Alexander DE CROO]; Groen! [Wouter VAN BESIEN] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens); New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER]; Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [Caroline GENNEZ]; Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Bruno VALKENIERS]
Francophone parties: Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Jean-Michel JAVAUX, Sarah TURINE]; Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Joelle MILQUET]; Popular Party or PP [ Mischael MODRIKAMEN]; Reform Movement or MR [Didier REYNDERS]; Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO]; other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Christian, Socialist, and Liberal Trade Unions; Federation of Belgian Industries
other: 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:
ADB (nonregional members), AfDB (nonregional members), Australia Group, Benelux, BIS, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, MONUC, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SECI (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNMIS, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Jan MATTHYSEN
chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-6900
FAX: [1] (202) 333-3079
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Howard W. GUTMAN
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], 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 vertical design was based on the flag of France; the colors are those of the arms of the duchy of Brabant (yellow lion with red claws and tongue on a black field)

National anthem:
name: "La Brabanconne" (The Song of Brabant)
lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT
note: adopted 1830; Louis-Alexandre DECHET was an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began; according to legend, he wrote the lyrics with a group of young people in a Brussels cafe


NOTE: The information regarding Belgium on this page is re-published from the 2011 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belgium Government 2011 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belgium Government 2011 should be addressed to the CIA.



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