Constitution of Belgium (1970) (excerpts)

Constitution of Belgium

Adopted in 1970

(excerpts)

Title III. Powers

Chapter I. The Federal Houses

[Section 0 General Provisions]

Section I. The House of Representatives

Article 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.
(2.1) 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.
(2.2) The remaining seats are attributed to the electoral circumscriptions which have the greatest surplus of population not yet represented.
(3.1) The sharing of the members of the House of Representatives among the electoral circumscriptions is allocated to the population by the King.
(3.2) 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.
(3.3) During the three months of this publication, the King determines the number of seats attributed to each electoral circumscription.
(3.4) 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:
1) be Belgian;
2) enjoy civil and political rights;
3) have completed the age of twenty-one;
4) be legally resident in Belgium.
(2) 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.

Section II. The Senate

Article 67 [Seats]
(1) Without prejudice to Article 72, the Senate is made up of seventy-one senators, of whom:
1) twenty-five senators elected in conformity with Article 61, by the Dutch electoral college;
2) fifteen senators elected in conformity with Article 61, by the French electoral college;
3) ten senators appointed by and within the Council of the Flemish Community, named the Flemish Council;
4) ten senators appointed by and within the Council of the French Community;
5) one senator appointed by and within the Council of the German-speaking Community;
6) six senators appointed by the senators referred to in 1) and 3);
7) four senators appointed by the senators referred to in 2) and 4).
(2.1) 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.
(2.2) 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.

Article 68 [Group Balance]
(1.1) 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.
(1.2) 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.
(1.3) 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.
(3.1) 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.
(3.2) 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.
(3.3) 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.
(3.4) The law determines the appointment of the senators referred to in Article 67 (1)(6,7).

Article 69 [Eligibility]
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)(6,7) 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.

Chapter II. Federal Legislation

Article 77 [Competencies of Both Houses]
(1) The House of Representatives and the Senate are equally competent with respect to:
3) 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, 146, 163, 165, 166, 167 (1.3), (4), and (5), 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;

Chapter IV. Communities, RegionsSection I Bodies

Subsection I. Community and Regional Councils

Article 115 [Councils]
(1.1) 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.
(1.2) 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.
(2.1) Each Community Council is composed of members elected directly as members of the concerned Community Council or as members of a Regional Council.
(2.2) 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.

Article 117 [Term]
(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 4, 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.

Chapter VI. Judiciary Power

Article 145 [Political Rights Conflicts]
Courts hold competency with respect to conflicts involving political rights, save for the exceptions established by law.