Duke of Brabant
The Duke of Brabant was formally the ruler of the Duchy of Brabant since 1183/1184. The title was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I of the House of Reginar, the Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant. This was an Imperial fief which was assigned to Count Henry III of Leuven shortly after the death of the preceding Count of Brabant, Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia. Although the corresponding county was quite small its name was applied to the country under control of the Dukes from the 13th century on. In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I became Duke of Lotharingia, formerly Lower Lotharingia, this title was now practically without territorial authority, but was borne by the Dukes of Brabant as an honorific title. In 1288, the Dukes of Brabant became Duke of Limburg, the title fell to the Dukes of Burgundy in 1430. Counts of Leuven, Counts of Brussels and Landgraves of Brabant, Henry III, already Count of Leuven and Brussels from 1078.
The oldest Son/daughter becomes automatically the duke/duchess of Brabant when his/her father becomes King of the Belgians, when the Duke of Brabant loses his father, or when he abdicates, his title goes to the next in line, and he becomes the new King of the Belgians. Unlike the office of King of the Belgians, you do not have to reach the age of 18 to become Duke of Brabant, however, if a Duke of Brabant does not reach the age of 18, he cannot ascent to the Throne of Belgium. When the prince becomes duke of Brabant, this takes precedence of the other titles. When the Duke of Brabant marries legally, after permission of the King, the last Duke of Brabant became King in 2013, and passed the title to his oldest child. The current Duchess, Crown Princess Elisabeth was in 2013 only 12 years old when she became duchess, Leopold II Leopold, son of Leopold II - the only prince who died a Duke of Brabant. Leopold III Baudouin Philippe Elisabeth Coat of arms of Elisabeth of Belgium, Duchess of Brabant Dukes of Brabant family tree Charters of the Duchy of Brabant Counts of Louvain, genealogical note
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie
Siegfried Bracke is a Belgian politician and is affiliated to the N-VA. He was elected as a member of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in 2010, before his political career he had a long career as a journalist, working for the Vlaamse Radio- en Televisieomroep. He is a supporter of Orangism, media related to Siegfried Bracke at Wikimedia Commons
Monarchy of Belgium
The monarchy of Belgium is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy whose incumbent is titled the King or Queen of the Belgians and serves as the countrys head of state. There have been seven Belgian monarchs since independence in 1830, the incumbent, ascended the throne on 21 July 2013, following the abdication of his father. When Belgium became independent in 1830 the National Congress chose a constitutional monarchy as the form of government, the Congress voted on the question on 22 November 1830, supporting monarchy by 174 votes to 13. Following this refusal, the National Congress appointed Erasme-Louis, Baron Surlet de Chokier to be the Regent of Belgium on 25 February 1831 and this day has since become a national holiday for Belgium and its citizens. As a hereditary constitutional monarchy system, the role and operation of Belgiums monarchy is governed by the Constitution, the royal office of King is designated solely for a descendant of the first King of the Belgians, Leopold I. Since he is bound by the Constitution the King is intended to act as an arbiter and guardian of Belgian national unity, Belgiums monarchs are inaugurated in a purely civil swearing-in ceremony.
The Kingdom of Belgium was never an absolute monarchy, nevertheless, in 1961, the historian Ramon Arango, wrote that the Belgian monarchy is not truly constitutional. King Leopold I was head of Foreign Affairs as an ancien régime monarch, millions of Congolese were killed as a result of Leopolds policies in the Congo. On several occasions Leopold II publicly expressed disagreement with ruling government and was accused by Yvon Gouet of noncompliance with the parliamentary system. In a similar manner, Albert I of Belgium would state that he was in command of the Belgian army contrary to his Prime Minister Charles de Broqueville, Louis Wodon, thought the Kings oath to the Constitution implied a royal position over and above the Constitution. The family is, of course, an institution as is the state. But what would a family be where everything was limited among those who compose it to simply legal relationships. For Raymond Fusilier, the Belgian monarchy had to be placed - at least in the beginning - between the regimes where the rules and those in which the king does not rule.
The Belgian monarchy is closer to the principle the King does not rule But the Belgian kings were not only at the head of the part of the Constitution. For Francis Delpérée, to reign does not only mean to preside over ceremonies, the Belgian historian Jean Stengers wrote that some foreigners believe the monarchy is indispensable to national unity. He is only a piece on the chessboard, but a piece which matters, to date all have belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This is a tree of the Kings of the Belgians, hereditary. Dutch monarchs family tree The proper title of the Belgian monarch is King of the Belgians rather than King of Belgium, the title indicates a popular monarchy linked to the people of Belgium, whereas King of Belgium would indicate standard constitutional or absolute monarchy linked to territory or state
Prime Minister of Belgium
The Prime Minister of Belgium or the Premier of Belgium is the head of the federal government in the Kingdom of Belgium. The political importance of the King of the Belgians has decreased over time, since the independence of Belgium in 1830, governments have been designated with the name of the minister who formed the government as formateur, but that position did not have a specific status. The title of Prime Minister or Premier was used for the first time in 1918 in official documents, only in 1970 the title was incorporated in the Belgian Constitution with the first state reform. Gradually, the Head of Cabinet replaced the King more often during the first half of the twentieth century, given his newly acquired prominence, as a member of the cabinet the Head of Cabinet continued to lead a ministerial department. Since then, coalition governments have been necessary, which has made the task of forming a government by the appointed formateur more difficult, the formateur increasingly gained greater respect, and much prestige.
Thus the formateur became prominent as a position of leadership, as the ministers of the government now represented various political parties, there was a need for someone to coordinate the proceedings of the various ministers. The Prime Minister was now asserted as the head of government. Besides coordinating government policies, the Prime Minister is responsible for the execution of the coalition agreement. He presides at meetings of the Council of Ministers and manages conflicts of competencies between the ministers, in addition, the Prime Minister represents the government coalition in public, both at home and abroad. It is the Prime Minister who maintains contact with the King and he can ask Parliament for a vote of confidence, which can even lead to the governments resignation in the case of a constructive vote of no confidence. Unless the Prime Minister resigns because of a matter, the whole government resigns when he resigns. The Prime Minister represents Belgium in the various international organisations, the day after the federal elections, the incumbent Prime Minister offers the resignation of his government to the King.
The King asks the government to continue as a caretaker government until a new government is formed. The King consults a number of prominent politicians in order to ascertain the different possibilities of forming a government and he usually consults the presidents of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, the most important political parties, and other people of political and socio-economic importance. After the consultations, the King appoints an informateur who is in charge of collecting information from the different political parties about their demands for formation of a new government. After these consultations, the reports to the King so that the King can find a suitable formateur. Usually, it is the formateur of the government who becomes Prime Minister. The Prime Minister or Premier is appointed by the King, alongside the other ministers, as the head of government, he is the first to be appointed
Provinces of Belgium
The country of Belgium is divided into three regions. Two of these regions, the Flemish Region or Flanders, and Walloon Region, the third region, the Brussels-Capital Region, is not divided into provinces, as it was originally only a small part of a province itself. Many of the provinces evolved from earlier duchies and counties of the name and similar location. At the time of the creation of Belgium in 1830, only nine provinces existed, including the province of Brabant and these divisions reflected political tensions between the French-speaking Walloons and the Dutch-speaking Flemish, the Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual. The division into provinces is fixed by Article 5 of the Belgian Constitution, the provinces are subdivided into 43 administrative arrondissements, and further into 589 municipalities. These each had their own identities and governments, though in the modern period almost all the Belgian states became part of larger entities. Each of the provinces of Belgium takes its name from one of these predecessors.
At the time of the independence of Belgium from the Netherlands in 1830, the first article of the Belgian Constitution said, Belgium is divided into provinces. These provinces are Antwerp, West Flanders, East Flanders, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg, Namur, in 1839 half of the province of Limburg became part of the Netherlands, which consequently has its own province of Limburg. In 1920, following the First World War, Belgium annexed the Eupen-Malmedy territory, during the second half of the 20th century, Belgium transitioned from a unitary state to a federal state with three Communities and three Regions. As part of the reforms, the province of Brabant was split in 1995 three ways, into two provinces and into the Brussels-Capital Region. The two new Brabant provinces became part of the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region respectively, the remaining eight provinces became part of these regions as well, so the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region each contain five provinces. The Provincial Councils are the bodies of the population of the provinces.
This is the equivalent of the States-Provincial in the Netherlands, the numbers of seats in the Provincial Councils are proportional to the population of the province, the numbers were reduced in both Flanders and Wallonia, starting 2013. They are directly elected each six years, at the time of the municipal elections. Before 1994, the elections instead coincided with the national elections. Until then, the provincial councils appointed Provincial Senators to the Belgian Senate, the executive branch was previously called the Permanent Deputation. In the Flemish Region it is now called the Deputation and it consists of the Governor
Arrondissements of Belgium
Arrondissements of Belgium are subdivisions below the provinces of Belgium. There are administrative and electoral arrondissements and these may or may not relate to identical geographical areas. The 43 administrative arrondissements are a level between the municipalities and the provinces. Brussels-Capital forms a single arrondissement for all 19 municipalities in the region by that name, Belgium had 27 judicial arrondissements until April 1,2014. Until 1999 the electoral districts for the election of the parliaments were electoral arrondissements, the arrondissement of Brussels-Capital is not part of any province and consequently forms its own electoral district
Constitutional Court (Belgium)
The Constitutional Court plays a central role within the federal Belgian state. This is a judicial court founded in 1980 and its jurisdiction was augmented in 1988 and 2003. Founded as the Court of Arbitration, the court owes its existence to the development of the Belgian unitary state into a federal state, the Court of Arbitration was officially inaugurated in the Belgian Senate on 1 October 1984. On 5 April 1985 it delivered its first judgment, in May 2007, upon a change of the Belgian Constitution, the court was renamed Constitutional Court as this name is more in keeping with the actual jurisdiction of the court. With a special law of 2003, this competence was expanded to the Section II, the Court is therefore developing into a constitutional court. The court has two modi operandi, when the Court decides to annul a law, decree or ordinance it counts erga omnes, for all persons. The second modus operandus of the court are the preliminary issues, when the Court finds a breach of these articles, it will pronounce its decision inter partes, meaning the ruling has effect only between the parties of the specific case.
Such a judgement, has great value and will force the parliament which made the targeted law. The Court is composed of 12 judges appointed for their lifetime by the King within a list of candidates provided by the federal parliament. The list to fill a vacancy contains two candidates proposed alternately by the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members present. Each linguistic group is composed of three judges with a background and three judges who have had at least five years experience as members of parliament. Candidates must be at least forty years of age, the judges may hold office until they reach seventy years of age, when they retire from the bench. In other words, the law, decree or ordinance must be harmful to the party submitting the appeal, cases can be heard by the whole Court if either President so decides or if at least two judges of the ordinary panel of seven judges so requests. If cases are heard by the whole Court, the Court cannot rule unless at least 10 judges, in this case, if the votes are equally divided, the President of the Court has a casting vote.
The appeal must include the subject of the appeal and must be motivated, the party submitting the appeal can request that the law, decree or ordinance in question be suspended pending a final ruling by the Court. Communities and provinces of Belgium Constitution of Belgium Judiciary Politics of Belgium Rule According to Higher Law Rule of law Homepage of the Constitutional Court of Belgium
Belgian Federal Parliament
The Belgian Federal Parliament is the bicameral parliament of Belgium. It consists of the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate and it sits in the Palace of the Nation. The Chamber of Representatives is the legislative body, the Senate functions only as a meeting place of the federal communities. The Chamber of Representatives holds its meetings in the Palace of the Nation. Eligibility requirements for the Chamber are a minimum age of 21, the number of seats in the Chamber is constitutionally set at 150 elected from 11 electoral districts. The districts are divided along lines,5 Flemish,5 Walloon. The districts are the provinces, except for the districts of Leuven, each district is given a number of seats proportional to its population ranging from 4 for Luxembourg to 24 for Antwerp. 7 with language facilities for French-speakers, the current composition was elected at the federal elections of 2014. Since 2014, the Senate consists of 60 members, there are two categories of senators, co-opted senators and senators of community and regional parliaments.
The 10 other senators are co-opted, elected by the 50 other senators, eligibility requirements for the Senate are identical to those for the Chamber. Before 2014, the Senate consisted of 71 senators, only 21 of which were elected by the community parliaments,25 were directly elected by the Flemish constituency and 15 by the French-speaking constituency. The last direct election of these 40 members occurred in the 2010 federal elections, the 2014 elections are the first one with the reformed Senate. The President of the Senate is Christine Defraigne as of 2014, the Senate holds its plenary meetings in the Palace of the Nation, Brussels. In certain matters both Chambers have equal power, in this case, the mandatory bicameral procedure applies, which means that both Chambers must pass exactly the same version of the bill. For most other legislation, the Chamber of Representatives takes precedence over the Senate and this means that the Senate may still intervene as a chamber of consideration and reflection.
It has the opportunity to, within specific time limits, examine the bills adopted by the Chamber of Representatives and, if there is a reason to do so, the Chamber may subsequently adopt or reject the amendments proposed by the Senate or make new proposals. The Senate can submit a bill it has adopted to the Chamber, whatever the case, the Chamber has the final word. The one-chamber procedure applies in cases where the Chamber of Representatives has the power to legislate