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Belgium: Government#

Country nameconventional 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
CapitalBrussels 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 divisions3 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
Constitutiondrafted 25 November 1830, approved 7 February 1831, entered into force 26 July 1831, revised 14 July 1993 (creating a federal state); amended many times, last in 2012 (2012)
Executive branchchief of state: King PHILIPPE (since 21 July 2013); Heir Apparent Princess ELISABETH, daughter of the monarch
head of government: Prime Minister Elio DI RUPO (since 6 December 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Alexander DE CROO (since 22 October 2012); Deputy Prime Minister Joelle MILQUET (since 20 March 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Laurette ONKELINX (since 30 December 2008); Deputy Prime Minister Didier REYNDERS (since 30 December 2008); Depurty Prime Minister Johan VANDE LANOTTE (since i6 December 2011); Deputy Prime Minister Pieter DE CREM (since 5 March 2013)
cabinet: Council of Ministers are formally appointed by the monarch
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 approved by parliament
Flag descriptionthree 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)
Independence4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
Judicial branchhighest 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
Legal systemcivil 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
Legislative branchbicameral Parliament consists of a Senate or Senaat in Dutch, Senat in French (71 seats indirectly elected serve five-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 five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Deputies - last held on 23 May 2014 (next to be held 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%, FDF 1.8%, the People's Party 1.5%, other 7.2%; 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, FDF 2, the People's 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
International organization participationADB (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), 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, Paris Club, PCA, Schengen Convention, SELEC (observer), UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNRWA, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, ZC
National holiday21 July (1831) ascension to the Throne of King LEOPOLD I
Political pressure groups and leadersFederation of Enterprises in Belgium (Pieter TIMMERMANS/Pierre Alain DE SMEDT); Confederation of Christan Trade Unions (Luc CORTEBEECK/Claude ROLIN); Belgian General Federation of Labor (Rudy DE LEEUW/Anne DEMELENNE)
other: trade unions; numerous other associations representing bankers, manufacturers, middle-class artisans, and the legal and medical professions; various organizations representing the cultural interests of Flanders and Wallonia; various peace groups such as Pax Christi and groups representing immigrants
Political parties and leadersFlemish parties: Christian Democratic and Flemish or CD&V (Wouter BEKE)
Flemish Liberals and Democrats or Open VLD (Gwendolyn RUTTEN)
Groen! (Wouter VAN BESIEN) (formerly AGALEV, Flemish Greens)
Libertarian, Direct, Democratic or LDD (formerly Dedecker's List) (Jean-Marie DEDECKER)
New Flemish Alliance or N-VA (Bart DE WEVER)
People's Party (Mischael MODRIKAMEN)
Social Progressive Alternative or SP.A (Bruno TOBBACK)
Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) or VB (Gerolf ANNEMANS)
Francophone parties: Ecolo (Francophone Greens) (Olivier DELEUZE, Emily HOYOS)
Francophone Federalist Democrats (Olivier MAINGAIN)
Humanist and Democratic Center or CDH (Benoit LUTGEN)
Reform Movement or MR (Charles MICHEL)
Socialist Party or PS (Elio DI RUPO)
Workers' Party (Peter Mertens)
other minor parties
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Government typefederal parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy
Diplomatic representation in the USchief of mission: Ambassador Johan VERBEKE (since 10 March 2014)
chancery: 3330 Garfield Street NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: (1) (202) 333-6900
FAX: (1) (202) 338-4960
consulate(s) general: Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York
National anthemname: "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
International law organization participationaccepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
National symbol(s)lion
Diplomatic representation from the USchief of mission: Ambassador Denise BAUER (since 7 August 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