MPs vote on which articles of the constitution can be modified during the next legislature

The Chambers of Representatives has voted to allow 40 articles in the Belgian Constitution to be modified during the next legislature if this is found to be necessary. If the Belgian Senate votes the same way it will clear the way for MPs in the new parliament to vote for (amongst other things) the changes to article 7bis of the Belgian constitution that are needed in order to pass legislation that would oblige future governments to pass measures that will insure Belgium’s climate change objectives are honoured.

However, article 1 of the constitution that defines the structure of Belgium as a federal state will not be up for reform during the next legislature.

MPs were voting until 2:30am on Friday morning. As well as article 7bis changes that could lead to the voting age being reduced to 16 and a federal electoral constituency, whereby some MPs would be elected by voters from across the country, will also be able to be discussed (and voted on) during the next legislature.  

List is not yet definitive

It remains to be seen what (if any) other articles in the constitution the Federal Government decides should be allowed to be modified if necessary during the next legislature. Only articles approved by either parliament or the Federal Government can be the subject of modification during the new legislature. The Prime Minister in Belgium’s caretaker government Charles Michel (Francophone liberal) has said that he will not back allowing the modification of any articles that could lead to disputes between the language communities.     

Mr Michel and his party will only approve granting the possibility of the modification of only the 12 articles of the constitution that could have been modified during this legislature.  

However, the leader of the Flemish liberal Group in the Chamber of Representatives Patrick Dewael has said that he wants the government, of which his party is a part, to back the list approved by MPs.