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BELGIUM 201 of Socialists, and the defeat of the Liberals. But the elections) to all the arrondissements. After a long debate strength of the parties was not proportionate to the number the Bill was adopted by the Chamber, in November, by f e

the stren t}l of

nJ00,000 AA nnAgained . g the CathoHc vote being 67 votes to 60, and by the Senate, in December, by 62 as against 350,000 Socialists and 450,000 Liberals^ The provincial elections in the same year gave the Liberals votes to 26 m spite of the double opposition of the the administration of two provinces—namely Brabant and Catholics who held to M. Woeste, and of the Socialists, Hamault; the Radical Socialists secured Liege, and the who considered the passing of the Bill of less importance han the suppression of plural voting. In both Chambers Catholics the remaining six provinces. The communal elections held in October 1895 resulted, in many of the Zrndn%f0r riS10n 0f Article 47 with a view to the 10 the prmci le of cities, in councils without a stable majority, a state of dpf H ? ? °! P “°ne man one vote” were things due to the existence of the three parties and to defended, but rejected by an overwhelming majority The features of the law are proportional distribution of proportional representation. In February 1896 M. de a S am0 ng a tlie l ts en b mg in bad ^ presence, irrespective of the f ' kealtll> transferred direction of ^ b public affairs to the Minister of Finance, the M. de Smet de f P01 6d ; r in Wp S °uping of the smaUer districts Naeyer The Liberal defeat and the Socialist successes ihp rSf ar[ ondlsf uients; determination by •the clerks of

e hsts of the order of election of candidates prohibition had substituted a revolutionary for a constitutional of electors from giving votes to candidates of two lists • Opposition in Parliament. The new Cabinet recognized all the dangers of the situation from the point of view ?f dePU'y Senat°rS and representaof monarchical and Conservative interests. On the other «vt TheT?^ ele Ctl nS Which t00k nZ^ f i P]ace as under the 1 ° in May 1900 resulted followshand, the Liberals demanded a reform calculated to make operation of the new law heir numbers m the Chamber proportionate to their the enate 58 pldilf and ^ 5r? socialists; ?. Catholics, to the Chamber39ofLiberals Repreelectoral strength. The faults of the existing system and Radicals sentatives 85 Catholics, 1 Christian Democrat, 33 Liberals were so apparent that opinion among all parties soon veered round m favour of its abolition. Yet parties and and Radicals, 33 Socialists. The Catholic majority in the Ministry alike were divided as to the nature of the reform Pkam^rs sensibly diminished, the Socialists and required. Some, like M. Woeste, were for the system of especially the Liberals gaining seats. Experience has tne scrutm unmominal, others demanded with M. Beer- shown that the Belgian electoral system is very comnaert complete proportional representation. The more the pheated, and its simplification is urgently demanded. Opposition on the left insisted on these demands, the less The Socialists and a majority of the Liberals advocate harmony reigned in the majority and in the Government. I SUffrag PUreand Slmple the rr: i ^ also demand’ the ^e-’ system suppression of voting. They of proporHence, in 1899, a Ministerial crisis occurred. MM de plural lonal representation, and an active agitation has begun in bmet de Naeyer and Nyssens, being unable to persuade favour of these reforms. We may conjecture that, despite their coUeagues to declare in favour of proportional repre1 the opposition of the Catholics and certain Liberals, comsentation, resigned office. p The new chief of the Cabinet was M. van den Peere- lete political equality will be finally attained if the union boom, who had been Minister of Railways since 1884 0! tile liberal bourgeoisie and the Socialists, which brought He conceived that he could solve the diffi- about the electoral reforms of 1893 and 1899, becomes Proportional culty by applying proportional representation consolidated. representaThere are three political parties in Belgium — the to the large arrondissements, returning at tion. Catholics, the Liberals, and the Socialists. The Catholic east t iree . * ^ senators and six representatives thescrutms of the small arrondissements continuing to be party was formed after the publication of the Po/ ca/ in 1832. InX. J 1846 itIII came into '" held on the majority system. This proposal met with Encyclical LU p ~ Parties. power for the first time, and up till 1901 had formidable opposition. It satisfied neither M. Woeste nor his friends, and was virulently attacked in Parliament held it for twenty-seven years. It published its programme m the press, and on platforms, by Liberals and Sociahsts for the first time at the Congress of Malines in 1863. True alike As a matter of fact it tended to keep the to the instructions of the Papacy, it has, since then, posed Catholic party in power. It actually confirmed them more and more as the defender of constitutional liberties m possession of the majority of the small arrondissements y means of an ingenious distinction drawn between hey already held, and brought them seats in the large thesis and hypothesis. Its fight with the Liberal party arrondissements, where they had hitherto not held any or centres essentially in two points — the question of eduwhere the possession of the seats they had previously cation (lay or _ sectarian), and the maintenance of the field was precarious. In spite of all protests to the privileged position of the clergy, which is paid by, but is contrary, M. van den Peereboom insisted on pressing his yet independent of, the State. Since 1894, in spite of Conservative tendencies, the Catholic party, adapting the So clallst TV . the Deputies course of organized obstruction m Chamber,began and afrom Parliament the itself to new political exigencies, has added to its old agitation passed to the street. On several evenings in programme social reforms which have partly become law succession during June bloody encounters took place Its unity, however, was in 1901 jeopardized by the e ween the demonstrators and the gendarmes guarding rivdry of MM. Beernaert and Woeste, its two chiefs since the Houses of Parliament, the palace of the king the death of Malou,—the first before all a “ Conservaand the houses of Ministers. As in 1893 the move- tive and the latter before all a “ Clerical.” Certain a o ic elements have become organized in working men’s ment degenerated into riots. It extended to all the large ities of the province, and found support among the associations grouped in a democratic federation distinct ibera! middle classes; even the garde civique declared trom the Catholic federation. In Flanders a Democratic Chnstmn party has been formed under the lead of the The Government bvy t>,pP iftl0n weakly supported the Right, gave- way, as in 1893, and’ withdrew the Bill Abbe Daens, an inhibited priest. Its demands are A month later, m August 1899, M. van den Peereboom obligatory education and military service, a progressive tax levied upon income, and measures of agrarian socialism. 8 findlng an ther S0luti0n 0f the On the whole, the Catholic party finds its support in the resTnpT f ° Problem,’ ned, making way for the second ministry of M. de 0 met de iSaeyer. The new Cabinet at once introduced a aristocracy, in one section of the bourgeoisie, but chiefly giving proportional representation (for Parliamentary in the Flemish peasants. The Liberal party, as constituted by a congress in 1846 S. II. — 26