The federal parliament consists of two chambers, the House of Representatives (150 directly elected representatives) and the Senate. The 150 Members of the House of Representatives are directly elected. 135 members are coming from the 10 provincial constituencies and 15 from Brussels-Capital Region.
The oath is taken in Dutch or French and determines to which linguistic group a deputy belongs. After the election of 2019 the House of Representatives consists of 62 French-speaking members and 88 Dutch-speaking members.
The Senate consists of 60 members. 50 members are appointed by the respective federated parliaments (29 Dutch-speaking senators, 20 French-speaking senators and 1 German-speaking senator). The remaining 10 senators are co-opted on the basis of the election result for the House of Representatives.
The House of representatives holds the exclusive legislative power at the federal level. The Senate is a body of reflection. Nevertheless, in relation to anything concerning the constitution or special majority laws, the House of Representatives and the Senate act equally. Special majority laws require a majority in each linguistic group and a two-third majority of all votes in each chamber of the federal parliament.
With the possible exception of the Prime Minister, the federal government is composed of an equal number of Dutch-speaking and French-speaking federal Ministers.
[Regions and Communities]
The federated parliaments are directly elected in Flanders (118 deputies), Wallonia (75 deputies) and Brussels (89 deputies). The 89 deputies of the Brussels-Capital region are divided into two groups: a French-speaking group of 72 deputies and a Flemish (Dutch-speaking) group of 17 deputies. With the exception of the assembly of the German-speaking Community (25 deputies), also directly elected by the residents of the nine municipalities of the German-speaking Community, the members of the regional parliaments also form the community parliaments. The 118 members of the Flemish regional parliament and 6 deputies directly elected by the Dutch-speaking people living in the bilingual Brussels-Capital region form the Flemish-speaking community parliament. The 75 deputies elected to represent the Walloon region and 19 of the 72 French-speaking regional representatives of the Brussels-Capital region form the parliament of the French-speaking community.
However, in Flanders, the Community and Regional institutions were merged. So in Flanders, there is one Parliament and one Government. Consequently the 6 deputies who are directly elected by the Dutch-speaking people living in the bilingual Brussels-Capital region, can only vote community related matters in Flemish parliament, not the regional related matters as they are not living in the Flemish region.
Note that both French- and Dutch-speaking people are living in the Brussels-Capital region. Hence, the Flemish and French-speaking communities are responsible for community matters in the Brussels-Capital Region resulting in three commissions: the Joint Community Commission, the commission of the Flemish community and the commission of the French-speaking Community. The commission of the Flemish community and the commission of the French-speaking Community are responsible for person related community matters such as education. The Joint Community Commission is responsible for bilingual institutions such as hospitals, public centers for social welfare or residential care centers.
The political structure
The federal state Belgium consists of 6 parliaments and 6 governments, topped up with 3 commissions in Brussels-Capital region.
|Number of ministers||Number of deputies||Final expenditures
|Federal level||15 (& 5 Secretaries of State)||150 / 60||27.6||-3.8|
|Commission of the Flemish Community||3||/||0.034||0.001|
|Joint Community Commission||5||/||0.302||0.023|
|Commission of the French Community||5||/||
°:outturn figures 2021, source: High Council of Finance ; GDP 2021 = 506,205 million euros