"Xenophobe's® Guides: Monarchy"

Less powers for the monarchy?

5th July 2013, Comments 3 comments

The announcement of the abdication of King Albert II in favour of Crown Prince Philippe has opened up the debate about the powers of the Belgian monarchy.

Less powers for the monarchy?Following the announcement from the Palace, the politicians were quick to launch into the debate. The Flemish nationalists (N-VA) immediately told parliament that King Albert's abdication offers the opportunity "to adapt the monarchy to the 21st century". The N-VA wants a reduction of the king's powers and of royal funds. Some are even suggesting that it is time get rid of the monarchy altogether, although this is a long way off.

The N-VA supports the system of a republic but says it will not take the initiative to abolish the monarchy.

Most other parties (liberals, socialists, greens) agree that the king's power should be reduced, and that his functions should only be ceremonial. The Christian democrats are taking a more conservative stand on the matter. They are open for a debate, but point to the fact that the king's functions are already clear-cut.

It seems that there is majority to reduce the king's power, but the parties agree that this debate must be delayed until after a new government has been installed. Elections are coming up next May.

For the moment, the king has a mainly ceremonial function, but it's a bit more than that. The king has to intervene when a new government has to be formed, by appointing a formateur or someone who has to take the initiative in the case of a deadlock. In times of long political crises, this can become an important factor.

The king also has to sign new laws, he is part of the country's executive powers together with the government, he is the commander-in-chief of the army, can appoint or dismiss ministers and grant a royal pardon to criminals or inmates.

NG / Together Magazine / Expatica

Reprinted with permission of Together Magazine.

3 Comments To This Article

  • Bruce Irwin posted:

    on 11th July 2013, 10:29:31 - Reply

    "Democracies only work if enough citizens are engaged to keep them honest" This would be fine if there were enough citizens to do so. Unfortunately they are generally so apathetic, they dont bother to vote having such a poor opinion of their representatives. By the time they decide something should be done, the politicians have eroded their franchise and signed up for who knows what. Believe me, you need a person at the top, not corrupted by the want of money or power, to keep the politicians honest. I know it is seemingly contradictory, but it works. Keep the king, keep his powers. It is balanced, it works and it is keeping the country together. Long my the King reign!
  • Bill posted:

    on 10th July 2013, 16:23:53 - Reply

    So the poor Belgians can't take responsibility for their politicians and need a father-like king to hold it all together. What a load of rot! Politicians everywhere can misuse power. In a democracy, it's up to the electorate to keep them in their place, by voting them out or through acts of protest. Democracies only work if enough citizens are engaged to keep them honest! When citizens are apathetic, crony politics creeps back in. "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest." -- Denis Diderot [Edited by moderator]
  • IanGoodeve posted:

    on 7th July 2013, 16:14:46 - Reply

    Far too many politcians desire power, having followed the recent problems of a Government being formed in Belgium, I reached the conclusion that all Belgian Political Parties were concerned with their own policies and singularly failed to remember that their duty was to unite for the sake of Belgium and it's people, only King Albert seemed concerned, no doubt His Majesty had many sleepless nights, do not let your MP's take all the power, your KIng is the only person to put Country and people first, I know by the British political system here how power crazy MP's can be, You have been warned good people of Belgium