It undergone important revisions at the time in particular of the transformation of the country into Federal state.
The November 25th 1830, the constitution project, worked out by the commission indicated by the Provisional government, is subjected to the National congress. The February 7th 1831, the National congress fence the debates and votes the Belgian constitution.
The Belgian constitution is a balanced synthesis of the French constitutions of 1791, 1814 and 1830, Fundamental law of the Kingdom of the Netherlands of 1815 and constitutional law English. The constitutional text is not however a legal amalgam, but well an original creation. Its elementary principles are always into force today.
Belgium thus becomes a parliamentary Monarchie. The basic principle of the constitution is the Séparation of the capacities. The three distinct capacities are: the Legislative power, the Executive power and the judicial Power.
The legislative power is exerted by the Chambre of the representatives and the Sénat, which vote the Loi S, and by the King, which promulgates them and sanctions them. The deputies and the senators were before elected by the vote censitaire, i.e. by citizens having sufficient incomes to pay the poll tax (quota of taxes). Although elected by a fraction only of the population, the federal Parliament was regarded as emanating from the will of the people. Currently it is enough to be 21 years old to be eligible with the Senate, there is no more no condition capacitaire (diploma) or censitaire and the vote is universal since the law of 1921 (law Nyssens) and for men and women (they can vote with legislative since 1948).
The legislative power is thus the most powerful capacity in Belgium. Previously to be eligible with the Senate, the candidate was to pay a quota of taxes even higher than to be entitled to vote, and to be old at least 40 years. The role of the Senate is to moderate the possible ill-considered initiatives of Chambre." Room of réflexion" but currently all the laws do not pass any more through the two assemblies.
The executive power is entrusted to the King and with its Ministre S. the responsibility for the government policy is however spring of the ministers. The constitution provides that no act of the King is followed of effect without the signature of a minister. The ministers, them, are responsible before the Parliament (the Room and the Senate). This control by the legislature of the executive is marked especially by the vote of the Budget.
The judicial power belongs to the courts. The meetings are, in theory, public except the door - closed. The Juge S can be dislocated of their function only by one judgment. Moreover, a jury is made up for the political crimes, offenses and violations of the press laws.
The Constitution also guarantees fundamental freedoms of the citizen. All the Belgians are equal in front of the law (suppression of the privileges of the Old Mode). No citizen can be private of his freedom without the ordinance of a judge. The inviolability of the Residence and that of the secrecy of the letters are guaranteed. Each one is free to express its opinion, in all the fields, and to practice the Religion of its choice. The freedom of the Teaching and the freedom of the press are also guaranteed. The and right to meets Association are formally recognized by the constitution.
The first Belgian Constitution is very centralizing, i.e. it equips the Central state with a strong capacity, in order to fight particularism and to reinforce the unit of the country.
The initial text of the constitution of 1831 underwent various modifications. The first two revisions relate to the right to vote and the conditions of eligibility. The four reforms (1970, 1980,1993,…) following transform unit Belgium into Federal state.
Procedure of revision of the constitution
Article 195 of the Belgian Constitution regulates the procedure of revision in three times:
the national legislative power identifies the provisions likely to be revised (without indicating in which direction they will owe the being);
- at once after this declaration, the Rooms are dissolved and of the elections are organized;
- the new Rooms and the King (i.e. the government) decide revision and of its contents as for the points alone which were the declaration object of revision, with the help of a quorum of presences (majority of two thirds in each of the two rooms) and a vote in the majority of two thirds.
In spite of the federalisation of Belgium, this procedure modified forever since 1831 and thus does not utilize the federate entities created in 1970 (Areas and the Communities). It is the subject consequently of controversies in the political world and among the Belgian constitutionnalists of which some would like the simplification of the process (suppression of the preliminary declaration of revision and the dissolution of the Rooms) or would like to see the federate entities implied in the process.
- Full text of the Belgian constitution in French language on the site of the Belgian senate
- Full text of the Belgian constitution in language Dutchwoman on the site of the Belgian senate
- Full text of the Belgian constitution in German language on the site of the Belgian senate
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