From Hereditary Authority to Individual Charisma. The Monarchy in Belgium
(Emmanuel Gerard) The Low Countries - 1998, № 6, pp. 73-83
The Belgian monarchy was very popular at the time this article was written. Be that as it may, since 1993 the position of the King has not been what it was under Baudouin. The constitutional reform of that year which sought to combat political instability also touched for the first time on the provisions regarding the head of state; more specifically, it restricted his role in appointing and dismissing ministers. On top of this, the roles of the King and his ministers have again been reversed: since his accession the less experienced Albert II has found himself facing a Prime Minister of consequence. Finally, the controversy about the monarchy itself which was ignited under Baudouin has not died down, and a question mark still hangs over the issue of the succession. The monarchy can rely on broad support, but there is something strange about it. Its survival no longer depends on the vanished splendour of hereditary authority, of the institution as such, but on the individual who embodies it.
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