The Provisional Government and the National Congress

When the Dutch army occupied Brussels between 23 and 27 September 1830, a Revolutionary Committee was formed. After driving out the Dutch army, it transformed itself into a Provisional Government.

On 4 October 1830, it declared that from that moment on, the Belgian provinces formed an independent state. They appointed a commission for the drafting of a new constitution. On 10 October, they called for the election of a National Congress. The Congress was elected by direct ballot, but because of an election system restricted to tax-paying property owners, only 45,000 Belgians were eligible to vote. The election took place on 3 November, and only 30,000 voters turned out. The Congress gathered for the first time on 10 November. It consisted of 200 members, primarily members of the citizenry. Up to this point in time, the Provisional Government held all the power. It ruled through decrees. It announced a number of freedoms, such as freedom of association, the press, religion and education.

The first task of the National Congress was the drafting and approval of a constitution. The new constitution was adopted on 7 February 1831. A Regent was appointed on the same day. The Provisional Government, which held executive power up to this point in time, was dissolved. The National Congress remained as the legislative instrument until the election of the first parliament on 8 September 1831.

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