Provinces of Belgium

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Belgium is divided into three regions, two of them are subdivided into five provinces each.

The division into provinces is fixed by Article 5 of the Belgian Constitution. The provinces are further subdivided into arrondissements.

Contents

Provincial government

The provincial government consists of three main parts: the Governor, an executive council known as the Permanent Deputation (Dutch: Bestendige Deputatie) in the Flemish Region, or as the Provincial College (French: Collège Provincial) in the Walloon Region, and the Provincial Council (Dutch: Provincieraad, the equivalent of a States-Provincial in the Netherlands), which is elected by the inhabitants of the province for a term of office of 6 years. The Permanent Deputations and the Provincial Colleges consist of seven members: the Governor and 6 Deputies elected by the Provincial Council from among its members. The numbers of seats in the Provincial Councils are proportional to the population of the province.

In Flemish Brabant, there is also a Deputy Governor (Dutch: Adjunct van de gouverneur). The Deputy Governor is appointed by the Flemish Government on the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers and must have a considerable knowledge of both the Dutch and the French language. He is responsible for ensuring that the language legislation is observed in the peripheral municipalities of Flemish Brabant.

Following the Fifth State Reform, the responsibility for the provincial institutions was devolved to the Regions. The Regions have the power to amend or replace the existing legislation on the provincial institutions, most notably the Provincial Law of 30 April 1836. In the Flemish Region the Provincial Decree of 9 December 2005 applies. In the Walloon Region, the Code of Local Democracy and Decentralisation applies. The legal framework in these Regions is still very similar, but that could change in the future. Although the Regions are responsible for the provincial institutions, the Federal State has retained its responsibility over the provinces in certain cases. For instance, the Regions are responsible for the appointment of the Provincial Governors, but only after the unanimous advice of the Federal Council of Ministers. Legislation regarding the Governor and Vice-Governor of Brussels-Capital, and the Deputy Governor of Flemish Brabant, has also remained a federal competency.

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