Friday, November 4, 2011

The Provisional Government

At this time in history, in 1830, during the Belgian Revolution, power was held by the Provisional Government led by Charles Rogier, chairman of the committee, which had declared the independence of the provinces of Belgium on October 4, 1830. The provisional government ruled by decree during this time. They had already called for elections to choose a national congress but this took time to organize and to have people vote since they were at war at the time and the patriots were still facing the threat of the Dutch military. It was the provisional government that asserted the basic freedoms of what would become the Kingdom of Belgium such as freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of religion and freedom of education.

This provisional government held power until the election of a congress and after that time a more formal government was established under the statesman Baron Surlet de Chokier as Regent of Belgium. The provisional government had diverse members, some more liberal supporting a secular "enlightenment" state and others more conservative, supporting independence but still with ties to the monarchie of the House of Orange of the Netherlands. In the end, we know they decided on total independence and a Belgian monarchy with Louis, Duke of Namours as King. However, the British opposed this idea, not wanting Belgium to become an instrument of France. The powers agreed Belgium needed a strong and independent monarch and so the choice was later suggested of Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha who became the first King of the Belgians, Leopold I, starting our dynasty.

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