Belgian Federal Parliament
|Belgian Federal Parliament
Dutch: Federaal Parlement van België
French: Parlement fédéral belge
German: Föderales Parlament von Belgien
Chamber of Representatives
|President of the Senate||Sabine de Bethune, CD&V
Since October 11, 2011
|President of the Chamber||André Flahaut, PS
Since July 20, 2010
|Last election||June 10, 2007|
|Last election||June 10, 2007|
|Palace of the Nation, Brussels|
The Belgian Federal Parliament is a bicameral parliament. It consists of the Chamber of Representatives (Dutch: Kamer van Volksvertegenwoordigers (help·info), French: la Chambre des Représentants, German: die Abgeordnetenkammer) and the Senate (Dutch: Senaat (help·info), French: le Sénat, German: der Senat). It sits in the Palace of the Nation (French: Palais de la Nation; Dutch: Paleis der Natie).
Chamber of Representatives 
The Chamber of Representatives holds its plenary meetings in the Palace of the Nation, Brussels. Eligibility requirements for the Chamber are a minimum age of 21, citizenship, and residency in Belgium.
The number of seats in the Chamber is constitutionally set at 150 elected from 11 electoral districts. The districts are divided along linguistic lines: 5 Flemish (79 seats), 5 Walloon (49 seats), and the bilingual district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (22 seats). The districts are the provinces, except for the districts of Leuven (part of Flemish Brabant) and Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde. Each district is given a number of seats proportional to its population (not number of voters) ranging from 4 for Luxembourg to 24 for Antwerp. All districts have an electoral threshold of 5%, except for Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde and Leuven; all districts are monolingual, except for Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde which encompasses both the 19 bilingual municipalities from the Brussels-Capital region and some 35 Dutch-speaking municipalities in Flemish Brabant, incl. 7 with language facilities for French-speakers.
The current composition was elected at the federal elections of 2010.
|← 2007 • 2010 • 2014 →|
|Party||Main ideology||Leader(s)||Votes||%||+/–||E.c. %||Seats||+/–|
|New Flemish Alliance (N-VA)||Flemish nationalism||Bart De Wever||1,135,617||17.40||*||28.2||27||*|
|Socialist Party (PS)||Social democracy||Elio Di Rupo||894,543||13.70||2.85||35.7||26||6|
|Christian Democratic & Flemish (CD&V)||Christian democracy||Wouter Beke||707,986||10.85||*||17.6||17||*|
|Reformist Movement (MR)||Liberalism||Charles Michel||605,617||9.28||3.23||24.2||18||5|
|Socialist Party – Differently (SP.A)||Social democracy||Bruno Tobback||602,867||9.24||1.02||15.0||13||1|
|Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (OPEN VLD)||Liberalism||Alexander De Croo||563,873||8.64||3.19||14.0||13||5|
|Flemish Interest (VB)||Flemish nationalism||Bruno Valkeniers||506,697||7.76||4.23||12.6||12||5|
|Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH)||Christian democracy||Benoît Lutgen||360,441||5.52||0.53||14.4||9||1|
|Ecology Party (ECOLO)||Green politics||Jean-Michel Javaux
and Sarah Turine
|Green! (GROEN!)||Green politics||Wouter Van Besien||285,989||4.38||0.40||7.1||5||1|
|List Dedecker (LDD)||Libertarianism||Jean-Marie Dedecker||150,577||2.31||1.72||3.7||1||4|
|Popular Party (PP)||Conservative liberalism||Mischaël Modrikamen||84,005||1.29||new||3.4||1||—|
|Workers' Party+ (PVDA+/PTB+)||Marxism-Leninism||Peter Mertens||101,088||1.60||0.80||—||—|
|Others (parties that received less than 1% of the national vote)||316,108||4.84||—||—||—||—|
|Blank and invalid votes||402,488||5.81|
|Electorate and voter turnout||7,767,552||89.22|
|Source: Federal Portal − Chamber Elections 2010.
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
The Senate consists of 71 members. There are four categories of senators: directly elected senators, community senators, co-opted senators and senators by right (Dutch: senatoren van rechtswege, French: sénateurs de droit). For the election of the 25 Flemish and 15 Francophone directly-elected senators, the country is divided into three constituencies. Of the Community senators, 10 are elected by the Flemish Parliament, 10 by the Parliament of the French Community, and 1 by the Parliament of the German-speaking Community.
The third category, the co-opted senators, consists of 10 representatives elected by the first two groups of senators. Eligibility requirements for the Senate are identical to those for the Chamber.
The final category, that of senators by right, consists of the children of the reigning monarch who are eligible to succeed to the throne. In theory, they can vote, but since the royal family is supposed to be politically neutral, they, in practice, do not vote in the Senate. In theory and in practice, they are not considered when the quorum is counted.
In the past, senators by right could only be men, since women were excluded from the succession. Since 1991, however, this is no longer true and, at the present time, Princess Astrid, Prince Philippe, and Prince Laurent exercise their constitutional right to a seat in the Senate, but constitutional convention provides that senators by right do not participate in Senate votes even though they officially have the right to do so.
The Senate holds its plenary meetings in the Palace of the Nation, Brussels.
|New Flemish Alliance (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie)||1,268,780||*||19.61%||*||9||*|
|Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste)||880,828||202,016||13.62%||3.37%||7||3|
|Christian Democratic and Flemish (Christen-Democratisch en Vlaams)||646,375||*||9.99%||*||4||*|
|Socialist Party – Differently (Socialistische Partij – Anders)||613,079||52,251||9.48%||0.54%||4||0|
|Reformist Movement (Mouvement Réformateur)||599,618||216,137||9.27%||3.04%||4||2|
|Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten)||533,124||288,809||8.24%||4.16%||4||1|
|Flemish Interest (Vlaams Belang)||491,547||296,263||7.60%||4.29%||3||2|
|Humanist Democratic Centre (Centre Démocrate Humaniste)||331,870||58,982||5.13%||0.77%||2||0|
|List Dedecker (Lijst Dedecker)||130,779||93,215||2.02%||1.36%||0||1|
|Workers' Party of Belgium (Partij van de Arbeid van België, Parti du Travail de Belgique)||105,060||50,253||1.60%||0.80%||—||—|
|Popular Party (Parti Populaire)||98,858||—||1.53%||—||0||—|
|Source: Federal Portal − Senate Elections 2010.
Notes: * Christian Democratic and Flemish and the New Flemish Alliance contested the 2007 elections together, receiving 19.42% of the votes and 9 seats.
Legislative procedure 
Since the elections of 21 May 1995, there has been a breakdown of powers between the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate, which resulted in the latter having fewer competences than the Chamber of Representatives. Prior to that, the Chamber of Representatives and the Senate did the same parliamentary work on an equal footing, but now there are three different legislative procedures that can be followed: the one-chamber procedure, the optional two-chamber procedure, and the mandatory two-chamber procedure.
In certain matters both Chambers have equal power. These include constitutional revisions, laws requiring a qualified majority, laws on the basic structure of the Belgian State, laws approving agreements of cooperation between the Federal State, the Communities and the Regions, laws on the approval of international treaties, and laws on the organisation of the judiciary, the Council of State, and the Constitutional Court. 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 the optional bicameral procedure applies. 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, make amendments. The Chamber may subsequently adopt or reject the amendments proposed by the Senate or make new proposals. The Senate can also submit a bill it has adopted to the Chamber, which can approve, reject or amend it. Whatever the case, the Chamber has the final word.
The one-chamber procedure applies in cases where the Chamber of Representatives has the sole power to legislate. It means that the Senate cannot intervene and that the Senate's approval is not required for the bill to pass. The matters for which the Chamber of Representatives is exclusively responsible include naturalisations, ministerial liability, State budget and accounts and military quotas.
United Chambers 
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
The United Chambers (Dutch: Verenigde Kamers, French: Chambres réunies) is the name given to the body created when both chambers of the Federal Parliament meet in joint session. The United Chambers are convened only on certain occasions enumerated in the Belgian Constitution: the King must take the constitutional oath before the United Chambers, in accordance with article 91 of the Constitution, and the United Chambers must provide for the regency in the event that the successor to the Crown is a minor or the King is unable to reign, in accordance with articles 92 and 93 of the Constitution. The last session of the United Chambers took place on 9 August 1993, when King Albert II took the constitutional oath.
Palace of the Nation 
The Palace of the Nation (French: Palais de la Nation; Dutch: Paleis der Natie) was built to a Neoclassical design by French architect Gilles-Barnabé Guimard from 1779 to 1783 and includes sculptures by Gilles-Lambert Godecharle. Under Austrian rule it housed the Sovereign Council of Brabant before being used as a courthouse during the French period. During the Dutch period it was one of two homes of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, the other being in the Hague. The provisional Government of Belgium and the Belgian National Congress moved into the building in 1830 and the first session of the House of Representatives and Senate was held there a year later.
See also 
- Politics of Belgium
- Court of Audit of Belgium
- List of political parties in Belgium
- Brussels Parliament
- Flemish Parliament
- Commission communautaire française
- Parliament of the German-speaking Community
- Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie
- Walloon Parliament
- Parliament of the French Community
- List of legislatures by country
- The Chamber of Representatives and the Senate of Belgium. "Solemn session of the United Chambers of Monday 9 August 1993 for hearing the constitutional oath of H.M. Albert II, King of the Belgians". Minutes of the United Chambers (in French and Dutch). The Belgian Chamber of Representatives. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-17.