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Belgium Government 1999

    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 Capitol 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 Jean-Luc DEHAENE (since 6 March 1992)
    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

    Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Flemish, 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 Flemish, 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 21 May 1995 (next to be held in June 1999)
    election results: Senate—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—CVP 7, SP 6, VLD 6, VU 2, AGALEV 1, VB 3, PS 5, PRL 5, PSC 3, ECOLO 2; note—before the 1995 elections, there were 184 seats; Chamber of Deputies—percent of vote by party—CVP 17.2%, PS 11.9%, SP 12.6%, VLD 13.1%, PRL 10.3%, PSC 7.7%, VB 7.8%, VU 4.7%, ECOLO 4.0%, AGALEV 4.4%, FN 2.3%; seats by party—CVP 29, PS 21, SP 20, VLD 21, PRL 18, PSC 12, VB 11, VU 5, ECOLO 6, AGALEV 5, FN 2; note—before the 1995 elections, there were 212 seats
    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 Flemish, Cour de Cassation in French, judges are appointed for life by the Belgian monarch

    Political parties and leaders: Flemish Christian Democrats or CVP (Christian People's Party) [Marc VAN PEEL, president]; Francophone Christian Democrats or PSC (Social Christian Party) [Philippe MAYSTADT, president]; Flemish Socialist Party or SP [Fred ERDMAN, president]; Francophone Socialist Party or PS [Philippe BUSQUIN, president]; Flemish Liberal Democrats or VLD [Guy VERHOFSTADT, president]; Francophone Liberal Reformation Party or PRL [Louis MICHEL, president]; Francophone Democratic Front or FDF [Olivier MAINGAIN, president]; Volksunie or VU [Patrik VANKRUNKELSVAN, president]; Vlaams Blok or VB [Frank VANNECKE]; National Front or FN [leader NA]; AGALEV (Flemish Greens) [no president]; ECOLO (Francophone Greens) [no 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, MTCR, NATO, NEA, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OPCW, OSCE, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNMOGIP, UNMOP, UNPREDEP, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, 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 Paul CEJAS
    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

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)