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Belgium Government 2017
https://theodora.com/wfbcurrent/belgium/belgium_government.html
SOURCE: 2017 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES











Belgium Government 2017
SOURCE: 2017 CIA WORLD FACTBOOK AND OTHER SOURCES


Page last updated on January 12, 2017

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Belgium
conventional short form: Belgium
local long form: Royaume de Belgique (French)/Koninkrijk Belgie (Dutch)/Koenigreich Belgien (German)
local short form: Belgique/Belgie/Belgien
etymology: the name derives from the Belgae, an ancient Celtic tribal confederation that inhabited an area between the English Channel and the west bank of the Rhine in the first centuries B.C.

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; the 2012 sixth state reform transferred additional competencies from the federal state to the regions and linguistic communities

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 Day (ascension to the throne of King LEOPOLD I)

Constitution:
history: drafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state)
amendments: "revisions" proposed as declarations by the federal government in accord with the king or by Parliament followed by dissolution of Parliament and new elections; adoption requires two-thirds majority vote of a two-thirds quorum in both houses of the next elected Parliament; amended many times, last in 2014 (2016)

Legal system:
civil law system based on the French Civil Code; note - Belgian law continues to be modified in conformance with the legislative norms mandated by the European Union; judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation:
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship:
citizenship by birth: no
citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Belgium
dual citizenship recognized: yes
residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
[see also: Suffrage country ranks ]

Executive branch:
chief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Charles MICHEL (since 11 October 2014); Deputy Prime Ministers Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012), Jan JAMBON (since 11 October 2014), Kris PEETERS, Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008)
cabinet: Council of Ministers formally appointed by the monarch
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary and constitutional; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the monarch and approved by Parliament

Legislative branch:
description: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (60 seats; 50 members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote and 10 indirectly elected by Community Parliaments; members serve 5-year terms) and the Chamber of Representatives or Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers in Dutch, Chambre des Representants in French (150 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)
note: the 1993 constitutional revision that further devolved Belgium into a federal state created 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; changes above occurred since the sixth state reform
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 23 May 2014 (next to be held in May 2019); note - elections will coincide with the EU's elections
election results: Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - N-VA 20.3%, PS 11.7%, CD&V 11.6%, Open VLD 9.8%, MR 9.6%, SP.A 8.8%, Groen! 5.3%, CDH 5.0% Workers' Party 3.7%, VB 3.7%, Ecolo 3.3%, Defi 1.8%, PP 1.5%, other 3.9%; seats by party - N-VA 33, PS 23, CD&V 18, Open VLD 14, MR 20, SP.A 13, Groen! 6, CDH 9, Workers' Party 2, VB 3, Ecolo 6, Defi 2, PP 1

Judicial branch:
highest court(s): highest court(s): Constitutional Court or Grondwettelijk Hof in Dutch and Cour constitutionelle in French (consists of 12 judges - 6 Dutch-speaking and 6 French-speaking); Supreme Court of Justice or Hof van Cassatie in Dutch and Cour de Cassation in French (court organized into 3 chambers: civil and commercial; criminal; social, fiscal, and armed forces; each chamber includes a Dutch division and a French division, each with a chairperson and 5-6 judges)
judge selection and term of office: Constitutional Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by Parliament; judges appointed for life with mandatory retirement at age 70; Supreme Court judges appointed by the monarch from candidates submitted by the High Council of Justice, a 44-member independent body of judicial and non-judicial members; judges appointed for life
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; regional courts; specialized courts for administrative, commercial, labor, and audit issues; magistrate's courts; justices of the peace

Political parties and leaders:
Flemish parties: Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V [Wouter BEKE] Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD [Gwendolyn RUTTEN] Groen! [Meyrem ALMACI] (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens) New Flemish Alliance or N-VA [Bart DE WEVER] Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A [John CROMBEZ] Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB [Tom VAN GRIEKEN]
Francophone parties: Ecolo (Francophone Greens) [Patrick DUPRIEZ and Zakia KHATTABI] Francophone Federalist Democrats or Defi [Olivier MAINGAIN] Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH [Benoit LUTGEN] People's Party or PP [Mischael MODRIKAMEN] Reform Movement or MR [Olivier CHASTEL] Socialist Party or PS [Elio DI RUPO] Workers' Party [Peter MERTENS] other minor parties

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Belgian General Federation of Labor [Rudy DE LEEUW, Marc GOBLET] Confederation of Christan Trade Unions [Marc LEEMANS, Marie-Helene SKA] Federation of Enterprises in Belgium [Pieter TIMMERMANS, Michele SIOEN]
other: numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; trade unions; various organizations representing 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, CD, CE, CERN, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EITI (implementing country), EMU, ESA, EU, FAO, FATF, G-9, G-10, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD (partners), IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MONUSCO, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF, OPCW, OSCE, Pacific Alliance (observer), Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Dirk Jozef M. WOUTERS (since 16 September 2016)
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 Denise Campbell BAUER (since 26 September 2013)
embassy: 27 Boulevard du Regent [Regentlaan], B-1000 Brussels
mailing address: PSC 82, Box 002, APO AE 09710
telephone: [32] (2) 811-4000
FAX: [32] (2) 811-4500

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 symbol(s):
lion; national colors: red, black, yellow

National anthem:
name: "La Brabanconne" (The Song of Brabant)
lyrics/music: Louis-Alexandre DECHET[French] Victor CEULEMANS [Dutch]/Francois VAN CAMPENHOUT
note: adopted 1830; according to legend, Louis-Alexandre DECHET, an actor at the theater in which the revolution against the Netherlands began, 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 2017 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Belgium Government 2017 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Belgium Government 2017 should be addressed to the CIA.




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