Title III Powers
Chapter 0 General ProvisionsArticle 33: Sovereignty, Rule of Law
1. All power emanates from the Nation.
2. The power is exerted in the manner established by the Constitution.Article 34: Transfer of Sovereignty
The exercising of determined power can be attributed by a treaty or by a law to international public institutions.Article 35: Authorities
1. The federal authority only has power in the matters that are formally attributed to it by the Constitution and the laws carried in pursuance of the Constitution itself.
2. The Communities and the Regions, each in its own field of concern, have power for the other matters, under the conditions and in the terms stipulated by law. This law must be adopted by majority vote as provided for in Article 4, last paragraph.
3. The law referred to in Paragraph 2 determines the date on which this Article comes into force. This date cannot precede the date of the implementation of the new Article to be inserted in Title III, which determines the exclusive powers of the federal authority.Article 36: Legislative Power
The federal legislative power is exerted collectively by the King, the House of Representatives, and the Senate.Article 37: Executive Power
The federal executive power, as stipulated by the Constitution, belongs to the King.Article 38: Local Autonomy
Each Community has assignments, which are recognized by the Constitution or by the laws carried in pursuance of it.Article 39: Regional Autonomy
The law attributes to the Regional Bodies that it creates and that are made up of elected representatives, the power to manage the matters that it determines, with the exception of those referred to in Articles 30 and 127 to 129, within the jurisdiction and according to the manner established by the law. The latter must be adopted by majority vote as provided for in Article 4, last paragraph.Article 40: Adjudicating Power
1. Judiciary power is exerted by the courts and tribunals.
2. Rulings and court decisions are carried out in the name of the King.Article 41: Decentralization, Adjournment
Interests who are exclusively of a communal or provincial nature are ruled on by communal or provincial councils, according to the principles established by the Constitution. The King can adjourn the Houses. However, the adjournment cannot exceed the period of one month, nor be renewed in the same session without the consent of the Houses.
Chapter I The Federal Houses
Section 0 General ProvisionsArticle 42: Representation
The members of the two Houses represent the Nation, and not only those who elected them.Article 43: Linguistic Groups
1. For cases determined by the Constitution, the elected members of each House are divided into a French linguistic group and a Dutch linguistic group, in the manner determined by law.
2. The senators referred to in Article 67 (1), 2, 4, 7, make up the French linguistic group of the Senate. The senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 3, 6, make up the Dutch linguistic group of the Senate.Article 44: Sessions
1. The Houses meet by right each year on the second Tuesday of October, unless they have been called together prior to this by the King.
2. The Houses must meet each year for at least forty days.
3. The King pronounces the closing of the session.
4. The King has the right to convoke the Houses to an extraordinary meeting.Article 45: Adjournment
The King can adjourn the Houses. However, the adjournment cannot exceed the period of one month, nor be renewed in the same session without the consent of the Houses.Article 46: Reasons for Dissolution
1. The King has only the right to dissolve the House of Representatives if the latter, with the absolute majority of its members:
- either rejects a motion of confidence in the federal Government and does not propose to the King, within three days from the day of the rejection of the motion, the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister;
- or adopts a motion of disapproval with regard to the federal Government and does not simultaneously propose to the King the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister.
2. The motions of confidence and disapproval can only be voted on after a delay of forty-eight hours after the introduction of the motion.
3. Moreover, the King may, in the event of the resignation of the federal Government, dissolve the House of Representatives after having received its agreement expressed by the absolute majority of its members.
4. The dissolution of the House of Representatives entails the dissolution of the Senate.
5. The act of dissolution involves the convoking of the electorate within forty days and of the Houses within two months.Article 47: Publicity
1. The sessions of the Houses are public.
2. Nevertheless, each House can meet in a secret committee, at the request of its president or of ten members.
3. It can decide afterwards, by absolute majority, if a session on the same subject has to be held again in public.Article 48: Self-Organization
Each House controls the powers of its members and judges any dispute that can be raised on this matter.Article 49: Horizontal Incompatibility
It is not possible to be a member of both Houses at the same time.Article 50: Ministerial Incompatibility
Any member of one of the two Houses, appointed by the King as a minister and who accepts this nomination, ceases to sit in the House and takes up his mandate again when the King has put an end to his functions as a minister. The law provides for the terms of his replacement in the House concerned.Article 51: Governmental Incompatibility
Any member of either of the two Houses, appointed by the federal Government to any salaried function other than that of minister and who accepts the appointment, immediately ceases to sit in the House and only takes his functions up again by virtue of a new election.Article 52: President
At each session, each of the Houses appoints its president, its vice-presidents, and forms its committee.Article 53: Majority, Quorum
1. Any resolution is made by absolute majority of votes, except with regard to what is established by the regulations of the Houses with regard to elections and presentations.
2. If the votes are divided, the proposal submitted for discussion is rejected.
3. Neither of the two Houses can take a resolution until the majority of its members are in session.Article 54: Group Veto, Alarm-Bell Procedure
1. With the exception of budgets and laws requiring a special majority, a justified motion, signed by at least three-quarters of the members of one of the linguistic groups and introduced following the introduction of the report and prior to the final vote in a public session, can declare that the provisions of a draft bill or of a motion are of a nature to gravely damage relations between the Communities.
2. In this case, the parliamentary procedure is suspended and the motion referred to the Council of Ministers which, within thirty days, gives its justified recommendations on the motion and invites the implicated House to express its opinion on these recommendations or on the draft bill or motion that has been revised if need be.
3. This procedure can only be applied once by the members of a linguistic group with regard to the same bill or motion.Article 55: Voting, Ballot
Votes are given by rising or remaining seated or by call-over; most of the laws are voted by call-over. The election and presentation of candidates are carried out by secret ballot.Article 56: Enquiries
Each House has the right to hold an enquiry.Article 57: Petitions
It is forbidden to present petitions to the Houses in person. Each House has the right to send back to the ministers the petitions that are addressed to it. The ministers are obliged to give explanations about their content, each time that the House so requires.Article 58: Indemnity
No member of either of the two Houses can be prosecuted or pursued with regard to opinions and votes given by him in the exercise of his duties.Article 59: Immunity
1. No member of either of the two Houses can, during the duration of a session, be arrested or prosecuted for repression, except with the authorization of the House of which he is a member, except in cases of flagrante delicto.
2. No imprisonment for debt can be undertaken against a member of either of the two Houses during a session, except with the same authorization.
3. The detention of or a lawsuit against a member of either of the two Houses is suspended during a session and for its entire duration, if the House so requires.Article 60: Regulations
Each House determines, by its regulations, the way in which it exercises its duties.
Section I The House of RepresentativesArticle 61: Direct Elections, Electoral Rights
1. The members of the House of Representatives are elected directly by citizens who have completed the age of eighteen and who do not fall within the categories of exclusion stipulated by law.
2. Each elector has the right to only one vote.Article 62: Constituencies
1. The establishing of the constituencies or electoral colleges is governed by law.
2. Elections are carried out by the system of proportional representation that the law determines.
3. The ballot is obligatory and secret. It takes place at the commune, except in the cases determined by law.Article 63: Seats
1. The House of Representatives is made up of one hundred and fifty members.
- Each electoral circumscription has as many seats as the number of the members of its population contains a multiple of the federal divisor, obtained by dividing the number of the population of the Kingdom by one hundred and fifty.
- The remaining seats are attributed to the electoral circumscriptions which have the greatest surplus of population not yet represented.
- The sharing of the members of the House of Representatives among the electoral circumscriptions is allocated to the population by the King.
- The size of the population of each electoral circumscription is determined every ten years by a census or by any other means defined by law. The King publishes the results within a period of six months.
- During the three months of this publication, the King determines the number of seats attributed to each electoral circumscription.
- The new distribution is applied as of the following general election.
4. The law determines the electoral circumscriptions; it also determines the conditions required to be an elector as well as those for the carrying out of electoral operations.Article 64: Eligibility
1. To be eligible, one must:
2. be Belgian;
3. enjoy civil and political rights;
4. have completed the age of twenty-one;
5. be legally resident in Belgium.
6. No other condition of eligibility can be required.Article 65: Term
1. The members of the House of Representatives are elected for four years.
2. The House is renewed every four years.Article 66: Remuneration
1. Each member of the House of Representatives benefits from an annual indemnity of twelve thousand francs.
2. He also has the right to free travel on all the means of communication operated or contracted out by the State.
3. The law determines the means of transport that the representatives can use free of charge apart from those mentioned above.
4. An annual indemnity to be deducted from the allocation destined to cover the expenditure of the House of Representatives can be attributed to the President of this assembly.
5. The House determines the amount of the deductions that can be applied to the indemnity by way of a contribution to the pension funds that it judges necessary to establish.
Section II The SenateArticle 67: Seats
1. Without prejudice to Article 72, the Senate is made up of seventy-one senators, of whom:
- twenty-five senators elected in conformity with Article 61 by the Dutch electoral college;
- fifteen senators elected in conformity with Article 61, by the French electoral college;
- ten senators appointed by and within the Council of the Flemish Community, named the Flemish Council;
- ten senators appointed by and within the Council of the French Community;
- one senator appointed by and within the Council of the German-speaking Community;
- six senators appointed by the senators referred to in 1 and 3.;
- four senators appointed by the senators referred to in 2 and 4.
Article 68: Group Balance
- At least one of the senators referred to in Paragraph 1.1,3,6. Is to be legally resident, on the day of his election, in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital.
- At least six of the senators referred to in Paragraph 1.2,4,7 are to be legally resident, on the day of their election, in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital. If four or fewer of the senators referred to in Paragraph 1.2 are not legally resident, on the day of their election, in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital, at least two of the senators referred to in Paragraph 1.4. must be legally resident, on the day of their election, in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital.
- The total number of senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1),2,3,4,6,7 is shared within each linguistic group on the basis of the electoral figure of the lists obtained at the moment of the election of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1),2. according to the system of proportional representation that is determined by law.
- For the designation of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.3), 4., only the lists can be taken into consideration on which at least one senator referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2, is elected and from the moment that a sufficient number of members elected on this list sit, according to the case, on the Council of the Flemish Community or the Council of the French Community.
- For the designation of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.6), 7. only the lists can be taken into consideration on which at least one senator referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2, is elected.
2. For the election of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2, the ballot is obligatory and secret. Voting takes place at the commune, except for cases determined by law.
Article 69: Eligibility
- For the election of senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2, the law determines the electoral circumscriptions and the composition of the electoral colleges; it also determines the conditions which must be met in order to be an elector, as well as those for the carrying out of electoral operations.
- The law determines the designation of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.3), 5, with the exception of the terms stipulated by a law adopted by the majority provided for in Article 4, last paragraph, which are determined by decree by the Community Councils, each one for matters of its concern. This decree must be adopted by a two-third majority of the votes expressed, on condition that the majority of the members of the Council concerned are present.
- The senator referred to in Article 67 (1.5) is appointed by the Council of the German-speaking Community with absolute majority of the votes expressed.
- The law determines the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.6), 7.
In order to be elected or appointed as a senator one must:
1. be Belgian;
2. enjoy civil and political rights;
3. have completed the age of twenty-one;
4. be legally resident in Belgium.Article 70: Term
1. The senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2 are elected for four years. The senators referred to in Article 67(1.1), 7 are appointed for four years. The Senate is entirely renewed every four years.
2. The election of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1.1), 2 coincides with the election for the House of Representatives.Article 71: Compensation
1. Senators do not receive a salary.
2. They do, however, have the right to be compensated for any disbursement; this compensation is fixed at four thousand francs per year.
3. They also have the right to free travel on all the means of communication operated or contracted out by the State.
4. The law determines the means of transport that they can use free of charge apart from those mentioned above.Article 72: King's Descendants
The King's children or, in the absence of children, the Belgian descendants of the branch of the royal family called on to reign, are senators by right at the age of eighteen. They are only entitled to a seat and vote at the age of twenty-one. They are not taken into account for the determination of the quorum of attendance.Article 73: Sessions
Any assembly of the Senate that takes place outside the time of the session of the House of Representatives, is automatically void.
Chapter II Federal LegislationArticle 74: Competencies
Notwithstanding Article 36, federal legislative power is jointly exercised by the King and by the House of Representatives for:
1. the granting of naturalization;
2. laws relative to the civil and penal responsibilities of the King's ministers;
3. State budgets and accounts, without prejudice to Article 174 (1),second Sentence;
4. the establishment of the army quotas.Article 75: Initiative
1. Each branch of the federal legislative power has the right of initiative.
2. Except for those matters described in Article 77, draft bills submitted to the Houses at the King's initiative are brought to the House of Representatives, then forwarded to the Senate.
3. Draft bills relating to the approval of treaties submitted to the Houses on the King's initiative, are introduced to the Senate and afterwards transmitted to the House of Representatives.Article 76: Drafts
1. A draft bill may be adopted by a House only after having been voted on article by article.
2. The Houses have the right to amend and to sub-divide those articles and amendments proposed.Article 77: Competencies of Both Houses
1. The House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent with respect to:
- the declaration of constitutional revision and for constitutional revision;
- matters requiring settlement by both legislative Houses by virtue of the Constitution;
- laws described in Articles 5, 39,43, 50, 68,71,77, 82, 115, 117, 118, 121, 123, 127 to 131, 135 to 137, 140 to 143, 145 to 146, 163, 165,167, 169, 170 (2.2), 3.2,3.3, and 4.2, and 175 to 177, in addition to those laws executed on the basis of the above-mentioned laws and articles;
- laws to be adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph, in addition to those laws executed on the basis of the latter;
- laws described in Article 34;
- laws relating to the approval of treaties;
- laws adopted in keeping with Article 169, to ensure respect of international or supranational commitments;
- laws relating to the Council of State;
- the organization of courts and tribunals;
- laws approving co-operation agreements between State, Communities, and Regions.
2. A law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4, last paragraph, may designate other laws for which the House of Representatives and the Senate are competent on an equal basis.Article 78: Draft Bills of the House of Representatives
1. Regarding matters other than those described in Articles 74 and 77 draft bills adopted by the House of Representatives are then forwarded to the Senate.
2. At the request of fifteen Senate members at least, the Senate examines the draft bills. This request is made within fifteen days after receiving the draft bill.
3. The Senate may, within a time period not exceeding sixty days: - decide against amendment of the draft bill;
- adopt the bill following amendment.
4. Should the Senate fail to act within the established time frame, or should it have informed the House of Representatives of its decision not to amend the bill, the latter is forwarded to the King by the House of Representatives.
5. If the bill has been amended, the Senate forwards it to the House of Representatives, which then makes a final decision: the draft bill is either adopted, or those amendments established by the Senate are either partially or entirely rejected.Article 79: New Amendment
1. Should, during the course of an examination as described in Article 78 last paragraph, the House of Representatives adopt a new amendment, the draft bill is returned to the Senate, which expresses its opinion on the amended bill. The Senate may, within a time period not exceeding fifteen days,
- decide to accept the bill as amended by the House of Representatives;
- adopt the draft bill following further amendment.
2. Should the Senate fail to act within the established time frame, or should it inform the House of Represenatatives of its decision to support the draft bill as voted by the House of Representatives, the latter then forwards the bill to the King.
3. Should the bill once again be amended, the Senate forwards it to the House of Representatives which then makes a final decision by either adopting or by amending the draft bill.Article 80: Urgent Bills
1. Should, during the presentation of a draft bill as described in Article 78, the federal Government indicate urgency, the parliamentary consultation committee described in Article 82, must determine the time frame within which the Senate must make its decision.
2. Should the commission fail to reach agreement, the time frame granted to the Senate becomes seven days, while the examination period described in Article 78 3, becomes thirty days.Article 81: Draft Bills of the Senate
1. Should the Senate, by virtue of its right of initiative, adopt a draft bill in the areas described in Article 78, the draft bill is then forwarded to the House of Representatives.
2. Within a time period not exceeding sixty days, the House must give its final decision, either by rejecting or by adopting the draft bill.
3. Should the House amend the draft bill, the latter is then returned to the Senate, which must debate the amendments in accordance with the rules in Article 79.
4. In the event of application of Article 79.3, the House statutes in a final manner within fifteen days.
5. Should the House fail to reach agreement within the time frames established in Paragraphs 2. and 4., the parliamentary consultation commission described in Article 82 must meet within fifteen days and establish a time limit within which the House must make a decision.
6. Should the commission fail to reach agreement, the House must make a decision within sixty days.Article 82: Consultation Commission
1. A parliamentary consultation commission composed on an equal basis of members of the House of Representatives and of the Senate settles competency conflicts which may arise between the two Houses and may, with mutual agreement, extend the study periods described in Articles 78 to 81 at all times.
2. Lacking majority representation by either of the two groups composing the commission, the latter must statute on a two-thirds majority basis.
3. A law determines the composition and functioning of the commission, in addition to a method of calculating the time periods described in Articles 78 t 81.Article 83: Specification
All motions and all draft bills specify whether contents refer to those issues described in Article 74,77,or 78.Article 84: Interpretation of Laws
The authoritatives interpretation of laws remains the sole competency of the law.
Chapter III King and Federal Government
Section I The KingArticle 85: Dynasty
1. The King's constitutional powers are hereditary through the direct, natural, and legitimate descent from H.M. Leopold, Georges, Chretien, Frederic of Saxony-Coburg, by order of primogeniture.
2. The successor described in Paragraph 1 shall be deprived of his rights to the crown, if he marries without the King's consent or, in the absence thereof, without the consent of those exercising the King's powers in cases provided for by the Constitution.
3. His lost right may nonetheless be re-established by the King, or, in the absence thereof, by those exercising the King's powers in cases provided for by the Constitution, in the event of agreement on the part of both Houses.Article 86: Succession
1. For lack of a descendant to H. M. Leopold, Georges, Chretien, Frederic of Saxony-Coburg, the King may name his successor, with the approval of the Houses, in such a manner as prescribed in Article 87.
2. In the absence of a nomination undertaken in the above-mentioned manner, the throne shall be vacant.Article 87: Other Kingdom
1. The King may not simultaneously act as head of another state without the consent of both Houses.
2. Neither of the two Houses may debate this matter unless two-thirds of their members are present, and the resolution may be adopted only with a two-thirds majority vote.Article 88: Responsibility
The King's person is inviolable; his ministers are responsible.Article 89: Civil List
The civil list for the duration of each reign is established by law.Article 90: King's Tasks
1. Upon the King's death, the Houses meet without convocation, ten days following the decease at latest. Should the Houses have been previously dissolved, and should the convocation in the dissolution act have been made for a time later than the tenth day following the decease, then the former Houses are to return to their functions until the establishment of those destined to replace them.
2. From the moment of the King's death and until the taking of oath by his successor to the throne or by the Regent, the King's constitutional powers are exercised, in the name of the Belgian people, by the Council of Ministers, and under their responsibility.Article 91: King's Majority, Oath
1. The King attains his majority upon completion of his eighteenth year of age.
2. The King may accede to the throne only after having taken the following oath before the united Houses: "I swear to observe the Constitution and the laws of the Belgian people, to preserve our national independence and our territorial integrity".Article 92: Minority Guardianship
Should, upon the King's death, his successor be under age, the two Houses meet as a single assembly, for the purpose of regency and guardianship.Article 93: Inability Guardianship
Should the King find himself unable to reign, the ministers, having observed this inability, immediately summon the Houses. Regency and guardianship are to be provided by the United Houses.Article 94: Conferring Regency
1. Regency may be conferred on only one person.
2. The Regent may take office only after having taken the oath as specified in Article 91.Article 95: Vacancy of the Throne
Should the throne be vacant, the Houses, debating as one assembly, temporarily ensure regency, until the convening of the fully renewed Houses. This meeting must take place within two months. The new Houses, debating as one assembly, provide permanent cover for the vacancy.
Section II The Federal GovernmentArticle 96: Establishing Government
1. The King appoints and dismisses his ministers.
2. The Federal Government offers its resignation to the King if the House of Representatives, by an absolute majority of its members, adopts a motion of disapproval, proposing to the King the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister, or proposes to the King the nomination of a successor to the Prime Minister within three days of the rejection of a motion of confidence. The King names the proposed successor as Prime Minister, who takes office the moment the new federal Government is sworn in.Article 97: Eligibility for Government
Belgians alone may be ministers.Article 98: Royal Incompatibility
No member of the royal family may be a minister.Article 99: Composition of Government
1. The Council of Ministers includes fifteen members at most.
2. With the possible exception of the Prime Minister, the Council of Ministers includes as many French-speaking members as Dutch-speaking members.Article 100: Government in Parliament
1. Ministers have access to both Houses and must be heard whenever they so request.
2. The House of Representatives may demand the presence of ministers. The Senate may request their presence for discussion of a motion or a draft bill as described in Article 77 or of a motion or a draft bill as described in Article 78, or for the exercise of its right to investigate as described in Article 56. For other matters, the Senate may request their presence.Article 101: Responsibility, Indemnity
1. Ministers are responsible before the House of Representatives.
2. No minister may be prosecuted or pursued on account of opinions expressed in the line of his duties.Article 102: Exclusive Responsibility
Under no circumstances may a written or verbal order of the King diminish the responsibilities of a minister.Article 103: Control
1. The House of Representatives has the right to accuse ministers and to confront them before the Supreme Court of Appeal, the latter alone having authority to judge them, Chambers assembled, except for that which is statuted by law, regarding the exercising of a civil suit by a victimized party and regarding crimes and misdeeds which ministers may have committed outside their line of duty.
2. Cases of responsibility are determined by law, as are the sentences and the manner of proceeding against them, either on the basis of the accusations introduced in the House of Representatives or on the basis of a civil suit emanating from a victimized part.
3. Until being covered by the law described in Paragraph 2., the House of Representatives holds discretionary powers to accuse a minister, and the Supreme Court of Appeal to judge him, in those cases established by penal laws and by the application of those sentences foreseen.Article 104: Secretaries of State
1. The King appoints and dismisses the federal Secretaries of State.
2. The latter are members of the federal Government. They are not part of the Council of Ministers. They are deputies to a minister.
3. The King determines their attributions and the limits within which they may engage in countersigning.
4. Constitutional provisions which apply to ministers apply equally to federal Secretaries of State, with the exception of Articles 90.2,93, and 99.
Section III ResponsibilitiesArticle 105: Limited Powers
The King has no powers other than those formally attributed to him by the Constitution and by specific laws established by virtue of the Constitution itself.Article 106: Countersignature
No actions of the King may take effect without the countersignature of a minister, who, in doing so, takes responsibility upon himself.Article 107: Army
1. The King bestows ranks within the army.
2. He appoints individuals to general administrative functions and to foreign affairs, but for those exceptions established by law.
3. He appoints individuals to other functions only by virtue of specific provisions of a law.Article 108: Execution of Laws
The King establishes regulations and decrees required for the execution of laws, without ever having the power to either suspend the laws themselves, or to dispense from their execution.Article 109: Promulgation
The King sanctions and promulgates laws.Article 110: Right to Pardon
The King has the right to annul or to reduce sentences pronounced by judges, except for that which is statuted relative to ministers and members of Community and Regional Governments.Article 111: Limitation of Pardon
The King may not pardon a minister or the member of a Community or Regional Government condemned by the Supreme Court of Appeal, except at the express demand of the House of Representatives or of the Council concerned.Article 112: Money
The King may mint money, in keeping with the law.Article 113: Titles
The King may confer titles of nobility, while remaining unable to attach privileges to the latter.Article 114: Military Orders
The King may give military orders within the limits prescribed by law.
Chapter IV Communities, Regions
Section I BodiesSubsection ICommunity and Regional CouncilsArticle 115: Councils
- There is a French Community Council and a Flemish Community Council, named Flemish Council, the composition and the functioning of which are established by law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph.
- There is a German-speaking Community Council, the composition and the functioning of which are determined by law.
2. Without prejudice to Article 137, regional bodies as described in Article 39 comprise a Council for each Region.Article 116: Elections
1. The Councils are composed of elected representatives.
Article 117: Term
- Each Community Council is composed of members elected directly as members of the concerned Community Council or as members of a Regional Council.
- The application of Article 137 notwithstanding, each Regional Council is composed of members elected directly as members of the Regional Council concerned or as members of a Community Council.
1. Council members are elected for a period of five years. The Councils are completely renewed every five years.
2. Unless a law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, should specify otherwise, Council elections are to take place on the same day and are to coincide with European Parliamentary elections.Article 118: Election Law
1. Elections described in Article 116.2, as well as the composition and functioning of Councils are fixed by law. But for the German-speaking Community Council, this law is adopted by majority vote as described in Article last paragraph.
2. A law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, establishes those matters relative to the election, composition, and functioning of the French Community Council, of the Walloon Regional Council and of the Flemish Community Council, which are regulated by their respective Councils, either by decree or by ruling as described in Article 134, according to the case. This decree and this ruling as described in Article 134 are adopted by a two-thirds majority vote, provided that a majority of members of the Council concerned are present.Article 119: Incompatibility
A Council member's mandate is incompatible with that of a member of the House of Representatives. Moreover, it is incompatible with a senator's mandate as described in Article 67(1.1), 1.2,1.6, and 1.7.Article 120:Immunities
All Council members benefit from those immunities described in Articles 58 and 59.
Subsection II Regional and Community GovernmentsArticle 121: Community Governments 1.
- There is a French Community Government and a Flemish Community Government, the composition and functioning of which are established by law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article last paragraph.
- There is a German-speaking Community Government, the composition and functioning of which are established by law.
2. Without prejudice to Article 137, the Regional bodies described in Article include a Government for each Region.Article 122: Incompatibility
Members of each Community or Regional Government are elected by their Councils.Article 123: Remuneration, Limited Immunity
1. The law establishes the composition and functioning of Community and of Regional Governments. But for the case of the German-speaking Community Government, this law is adopted by majority vote as described in Article last paragraph.
2. A law, adopted by majority vote as described in Article last paragraph, determines those matters relative to the composition and to the functioning of the French Community Government, the Walloon Regional Government, and the Flemish Community Government, which are regulated by their respective Councils, either by decree or by ruling as described in Article 134, according to the case. This decree and this ruling described in Article 134 are adopted by a two-thirds majority vote, provided that a majority of members of the Council concerned are present.Article 124: Indemnity
No member of a Community or of a Regional Government may be prosecuted or pursued on the basis of opinions or votes expressed by him in the line of his duties.Article 125: Accusation
1. All Council members benefit from those immunities described in Articles 58 and 59 Regional and Community Councils possess the right to accuse members of their respective Governments and to confront the latter before the Supreme Court of Appeal which alone may judge them, chambers together, but for that which is statuted by law regarding the exercising of civil suits by victimized parties and concerning crimes and misdeeds which Regional or Community Government members may have committed outside the line of their duties.
2. A law shall determine the cases of responsibility, the sentences to be passed upon members of Regional or Community Governments, in addition to the manner of proceeding against them, either on the basis of the accusations expressed by their Councils or on the basis of a civil suit engaged by a victimized party.
3. Those laws described in Paragraphs 1. and 2. must be adopted by a majority vote, as described in Article last paragraph.
4. Until covered by the law described in Paragraph 2., Regional and Community Councils possess the discretionary power to accuse a member of their Government, and the Supreme Court of Appeal to judge the latter in those cases described in penal law and through the application of penalties stipulated therein.Article 126: Regional Secretaries of State
Constitutional dispositions relative to Regional and Community Government members, in addition to those executory laws described in Article 125 last paragraph, apply to Regional Secretaries of State.
Section II ResponsibilitiesSubsection ICommunity ResponsibilitiesArticle 127: Decrees, Competencies
- The French and Dutch Community Councils, respectively, establish by decree:
- cultural issues;
- education, with the exception of:
- the determination of the beginning and of the end of mandatory schooling;
- Minimum standards for the granting of diplomas;
- attribution of pensions;
- Inter-Community co-operation, in addition to international co-operation, including the drafting of treaties for those matters described in 1. and 2..
2. A law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph,establishes those cultural matters described in 1., types of co-operation described in 3., in addition to terms governing the conclusion of treaties described in 3..2. These decrees have force of law in French-language and in Dutch-language regions respectively, as well as in those institutions established in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital which, on account of their activities, must be considered as belonging exclusively to one Community or the other.Article 128: Decrees on Personal Issues
- The French and Flemish Community Councils rule by decree, in as much as each is concerned, on personal issues, in addition to what is included in such issues, matters of inter-communal and international cooperation, including the ratification of treaties.
- A law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, establishes such personal issues, in addition to the various forms of cooperation and the terms governing ratification of treaties.
2. These decrees have force of law in French-language and in Dutch language regions respectively, as well as in those institutions established in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital which, on account of their activities, must be considered as belonging exclusively to one Community or the other, unless a law adopted by majority vote as provided for in Article 4 last paragraph, makes other provisions with regard to those institutions in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital.Article 129: Decrees on Language
1. The French and Dutch Community Councils rule by decree, in as much as each is concerned, excluding the federal legislator, on the use of language for:
- administrative matters;
- education in those establishments created, subsidized, and recognized by public authorities;
- social relations between employers and their personnel, in addition to corporate acts and documents required by law and by regulations.
2. These decrees have force of law in French-language and in Dutch-language regions respectively except as concerns:
- those communes or groups of communes contiguous to another linguistic Region and in which the law prescribes or allows use of another language than that of the Region in which they are located. For these communes, a modification of the rules governing the use of languages as described in 1. may take place only through a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article last paragraph;
- services the activities of which extend beyond the linguistic Region within which they are established;
- federal and international institutions designated by law, the activities of which are common to more than one Community.Article 130: German-speaking Community Council
- The German-speaking Community Council rules by decree on: cultural issues;
- personal issues;
- education, within the limits established by Article 127 1,(1.2);
- inter-Community co-operation, in addition to international co-operation, including the conclusion of treaties, for issues described in 1, 2, and 3.
- The law establishes cultural and persona issues described in 1 and 2, in addition to the forms of cooperation described in 4 and the manner in which treaties are concluded.
2. These decrees have force of law in the German language Region.Article 131: Non-Discrimination
The law determines measures designed to prevent all forms of discrimination for ideological or philosophical reasons.Article 132: Right to Initiative
The right of initiative belongs to the Community Government and to members of the Community Council.Article 133: Interpretation
The interpretation of decrees by voice of authority belongs the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, on the other hand.
Subsection II Regional ResponsibilityArticle 134: Regional Council Decrees
1. Laws executed on the basis of Article 39 determine the judicial force of the rules which the organs that they create may take in matters which they determine.
2. They may confer the power to decree with force of law to these organs, with the responsibilities and in the manner which they establish.
Subsection III Special DispositionsArticle 135: Region of Brussels-Capital
A law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, designates those authorities within the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital which exercise those responsibilities not attributed to Communities as described in Article 128 (1).Article 136: Linguistic Groups in Brussels-Capital
1. There are linguistic groups within the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, and among the governing bodies, qualified with respect to Community issues; their composition, functioning, and responsibilities and, without prejudice to Article 175, their financing, are regulated by a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph,
2. The governing bodies together form the United Governing Bodies, acting as an inter-Community consultation and coordination organ.Article 137: French and Flemish Community Council
In view of the application of Article 39, the French and Flemish Community Councils, in addition to their respective Governments, may exercise the responsibilities, respectively, of the Walloon and of the Flemish Regional Governments, along the terms and according to those conditions established by law. This law must be adopted by a majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph,Article 138: French Community Responsibilities
1. The French Community Council, on one hand, and the Walloon Regional Council and the French linguistic group of the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, on the other hand, may decide of common accord and each by decree, that the Walloon Regional Council and Government in the French-language Region, and the Brussels-Capital Regional Council and its governing bodies in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital may exercise, in full or in part, the responsibilities of the French Community.
2. These decrees are adopted by a two-thirds majority vote within the French Community Council, and by absolute majority within the Walloon Regional Council and by the French linguistic group within the Brussels-Capital Regional Council, provided that a majority of the Council members or of the members of the linguistic group concerned are present. They may settle the financing of the responsibilities, which they designate, in addition to transfers of personnel, of assets, of rights and of obligations which may concern them.
3. These responsibilities are exercised, according to the case, either by decree, by order, or by ruling.Article 139: German- and Walloon Council
1. Upon request by their respective Governments, the German-speaking Community Council and the Walloon Regional Council may, by decree, decide of common accord that Walloon Regional responsibilities may be exercised in whole or in part by the German-speaking Community Council and Government in the German-language Region.
2. These responsibilities may be exercised, according to the case, either by decree, by order, or by ruling.Article 140: Decrees of German-speaking Institutions
1. The German-speaking Community Council and Government exercise by means of decrees and rulings all other responsibilities attributed by law.
2. Article 159 is applicable to these decrees and rulings.
Chapter V Conflict Prevention, Court of ArbitrationArticle 141:Prevention of Responsibility Conflicts
The law organizes procedures tending to foresee conflicts between laws, decrees, and rulings described in Article 134, in addition to between decrees among themselves and the rulings described in Article 134 among themselves.Article 142: Court of Arbitration, i.e. Constitutional Court
1. There is, for all of Belgium, a Court of Arbitration, the composition, competencies, and functioning of which are established by law.
2. This court statutes by means of ruling on:
- those conflicts described in Article 141;
- the violation through a law, a decree, or a ruling as described in Article 134 of Articles 10,11, and 24;
- the violation through a law, a decree, or through a ruling as described in Article 134, of constitutional articles determined by law.
3. The court may be solicited by any authority designated by law, by any person with justified interests, or, on an interlocutory basis, by any jurisdiction.
4. Those laws described in Paragraph 1., in Paragraph 2., 3., and in Paragraph 3. are adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph.Article 143: Prevention and Settling of Conflicts of Interest
1. In the exercise of their respective responsibilities, the Federal Government, the Communities, the Regions, and the common Community Commission act in the interests of federal loyalty, in order to prevent conflicts of interest.
2. The Senate makes decisions, by means of well-founded judgments, on conflicts of interest which may exist between the various bodies through laws, decrees, or rulings as described in Article 134, within the conditions and according to the procedures determined by a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph.
3. A law adopted by majority vote as described in 4 last paragraph, organizes the procedures designed to prevent and to settle conflicts of interest between Federal, Community, and Regional Governments, and between the common Community Commission assembly.
4. Concerning the prevention and the settling of conflicts of interest, the ordinary law of 9 Aug 1980 regarding institutional reform remains valid; it nonetheless can be rescinded, completed, modified, or replaced only by those laws described in Paragraphs (2) and (3).
Chapter VI Judiciary PowerArticle 144: Civil Rights Conflicts
Courts hold exclusive competency with respect to conflicts involving civil rights issues.Article 145: Political Rights Conflicts
Courts hold competency with respect to conflicts involving political rights, save for the exceptions established by law.Article 146: No Extraordinary Courts or Tribunals
Under no circumstance may a court or contentious jurisdiction be established, other than on the sole basis of a law. Under no denomination may a commission or an extraordinary tribunal he created.Article 147: Court of Cassation
1. There is a Court of Cassation for the whole of Belgium.
2. This court lacks competency regarding matters of substance save for the judgment of ministers and of members of Regional and Community Governments.Article 148: Publicity
1. Court hearings are open, unless public access should jeopardize morals or order. In this case, the court so declares by ruling.
2. Regarding political wrong doings or those of the press, proceedings behind closed doors may be undertaken only on the basis of a unanimous vote.Article 149: Reasoned Judgments
All judgments are well-founded. They are pronounced in open court.Article 150: Juries
The jury is established for all criminal matters, in addition to issues of political and press wrongdoings.Article 151: Nomination of Judges
1. Court magistrates and court judges are directly named by the King.
2. Appeal judges and the presidents and vice-presidents of the high Courts of Justice to which they are attached are named by the King on two double lists. One is presented by the courts, the other by provincial Councils and by the Brussels Capital Regional Council, as the case may be.
3. Judges of the Court of Cassation are named by the King on two double lists. One is presented by the Court of Cassation, the other, alternately, by the House of Representatives and by the Senate.In both cases, candidates of one list may be placed on the other. All presentations are made public, at least fifteen days prior to nomination.
4. Courts choose within themselves their presidents and vice-presidents.Article 152: Status of Judges
1. Judges are appointed for life. They retire at an age determined by law and benefit from the pension foreseen by law.
2. No judge can be deprived of his post nor suspended except by court decision.
3. The transfer of a judge can only take place with his consent and after a replacement has been appointed.Article 153: Judicial Administration
The King appoints and dismisses officers of the public ministries working within courts and tribunals.Article 154: Remuneration
Remuneration of members of the judiciary order is established by law.Article 155: Incompatibility, Courts of Appeal
No judge may accept a salaried role on behalf of a Government, unless this role is exercised free of charge and without the existence of incompatibility determined by law.Article 156: Courts of Appeal
There are five Courts of Appeal in Belgium:
1. that of Brussels, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Walloon Brabant, of Flemish Brabant, and of the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital;
2. that of Ghent, with jurisdiction over the provinces of West Flanders and of East Flanders;
3. that of Antwerp, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg;
4. that of Lige, with jurisdiction over the provinces of Lige, of Namur, and of Luxemburg; and
5. that of Mons, with jurisdiction over the province of Hainaut.Article 157: Military, Commercial, and Vocational Courts
1. Specific laws cover the organization of military courts, their attributions, the rights and the obligations of the members of these courts, in addition to the duration of their assignments.
2. There are commercial courts, in locations determined by law. Their organization, attributions, and member nomination methods, in addition to the duration of assignment of their members, are described in the law.
3. The law also covers the organization of work jurisdictions, their attributions, the manner in which their members are nominated, and the duration of their assignments.Article 158: Attribution Conflicts
The Court of Cassation makes decisions in attribution conflicts in the manner provided for by law.Article 159: Rule of Law
Courts and tribunals may apply decisions and general, provincial, or local rulings only inasmuch as these are in conformity with the law.
Chapter VII Council of State, Administrative JurisdictionArticle 160: Council of State
1. There is a Council of State for all of Belgium, the composition, responsibilities, and functioning of which are determined by law. However, the law may allow the King to establish the procedure in keeping with those principles it describes.
2. The Council of State statutes by ruling as an administrative jurisdiction, and provides an opinion in those cases determined by the law.Article 161: Administrative Jurisdiction
Under no circumstance may administrative jurisdiction be established other than on the sole basis of a law.
Chapter VIII Provincial and Communal InstitutionsArticle 162: Principles
1. Provincial and communal institutions are governed by the law.
2. The law applies the following principles:
- the direct election of provincial and of communal Council members;
- the attribution to provincial and communal Councils all that which is in the provincial or communal interest, without prejudice to the approval of their actions in cases and following that manner determined by law;
3. the decentralization of attributions in favor of provincial and communal institutions;
4. the publicizing of provincial and communal Council meetings within the limits established by law;
5. the publicizing of accounts and budgets;
6. the intervention of overseeing authorities or of the federal legislative power, to prevent violations of the law or harm to public interests. 3. In application of a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, the organization and application of administrative overseeing may be determined by Community or Regional Councils.
7. In application of a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4 last paragraph, the decree or the ruling described in Article 134 establishes the conditions and the manner in which several provinces or communes may associate themselves or co-operate. However, the convening of several provincial or communal Councils for joint deliberation may not be allowed.Article 163:Shared Responsibility
1. Those responsibilities exercised within the Walloon and Flemish Regions by Elected provincial bodies are exercised, in the bilingual Region of Brussels-Capital, by the French and Communities, and by the common Community Commission, each with respect
to matters within their jurisdictions and by virtue of Articles 127 and
128 and, with respect to other issues, by the Brussels-Capital Region.
2. However, a law adopted by majority vote as described in Article 4
last paragraph, establishes the conditions by which the
Brussels-Capital Region or all institutions the members of which are
designated by the latter exercise the responsibilities described in
Paragraph 1. which do not depend upon those matters described in
Article 39. A law adopted by the same majority establishes the
attributions to those institutions described in Article 136 of all or
part of the responsibilities described in Paragraph 1., subject to
those matters described in Articles 127 and 128.
Article 164: Registers
The drafting of civil acts and maintenance of registers belong exclusively to the attributions of communal authorities.
Article 165: Urban Entities, Federations of Communes
1.1. The law creates urban entities and federations of communes. It
determines their organization and their responsibilities through
application of those principles described in Article 162.
1.2. For each urban area and for each federation there exists a Council and an executive committee.
1.3. The president of the executive committee is elected by and within
the Council; his election is ratified by the King; the law establishes
1.4. Articles 159 and 190 apply to the rulings and regulations of urban Entities and federations of communes.
1.5. The geographical limits of urban entities and of federations of
Communes may only be changed or rectified on the sole basis of a law.
The law creates the body within which each urban entity and nearby
federations of communes may meet, according to the conditions and
manner, which the law establishes, for the examination of common
problems of a technical nature within their respective areas of
Several federations of communes may cooperate or associate
themselves with one or more urban entities in accordance with the
conditions and in the manner prescribed by law, to jointly manage and
regulate those issues within their respective areas of competence.
Their Councils may not engage in joint deliberation.
Article 166: Brussels-Capital
1. Article 165 applies to that urban entity to which the capital of the
Kingdom belongs, with the exception of that which is established
2. The responsibilities of the urban entity to which the Kingdom's
capital belongs are, in the manner determined by a law adopted by
majority vote as described in Article4 last paragraph, exercised by
those bodies of the Brussels-Capital Region created by virtue of
3. The bodies described in Article 136
possess, each for its Community, responsibilities identical to those
of other organizing powers with respect to cultural, educational, and
exercise, for their respective Communities, the responsibilities
delegated to them by the French Community Council and by the Flemish
jointly settle those matters described in (1) which are of common interest.