Belgium’s Political System

By | May 22, 2019

Belgium is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary-democratic federal state. Legislative authority has been added to the National Assembly, consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives. The Senate has 71 members, 40 of whom are elected indirectly by two electoral corps – one Dutch speaker, who will elect 25 senators, and one French speaker, who will choose 15; Twenty-one senators are nominated by the three popularly elected regional assemblies (10 of the Dutch, 10 of the French and one of the German-speaking assembly) and another 10 (of which six Dutch and four French speakers) by the senate itself. In addition, the monarch’s children have honorary seats in the Senate. The Senate is sitting for four years. The House of Representatives has 150 members elected in the general election for four years according to the ratio principle. Both chambers can be dissolved by the government before the election period ends. Belgium has voting rights.

Belgium political system

Belgium became independent in 1830 with Catholicism as an important unifying factor, and the country gained a unified state character with a liberal and democratic constitution. However, as early as the 1840s tensions appeared and eventually became evident in the formation of a Christian-social and a liberal party. A socialist party was formed around 1900, and the three parties mentioned became dominant. After World War II, the linguistic regional contradictions became clearer, and in the 1960s the old parties were divided into Flemish and Walloon branches; in addition, new regionally based parties have been added and have helped to give Belgium a very fragmented party system. The regional contradictions were characterized and partly to destabilize the political system. In response to the contradictions, the political system was first decentralized (1967-71) and then federalized. From 1993, Belgium is a federal state consisting of the regions Flanders (Dutch), Wallonia (French) and the bilingual Brussels. In addition, the country is divided into 10 provinces (now less important) and 589 municipalities.

Belgium has a relatively well-developed welfare state, with a national institution for social security (social security) as one of the cornerstones, and with a mainly publicly funded (but often privately run) school like the other. Welfare measures have become increasingly decentralized.


The highest court is the Court of Cassation (fr. Cour de Cassation, the Netherlands Court of Cassation) in Brussels; under it are the courts of appeal in Brussels, Ghent and Liège. In addition, there are magistrates, cantons, and in each of the provincial capitals criminal courts (fr. Cour d’assises, the Dutch court of assis) with jury for the treatment of serious crimes. In 1946, a special institution, the Conseil d’État (the Netherlands Council of State), was established following the French pattern. exercises jurisdiction in administrative matters.

The legislation was originally based on “Code Napoléon” and the other French legislation from the time of the French occupation (1795-1814), but has been substantially amended and supplemented by later legislative provisions and influenced by British law.