Belgium is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy. The king is the titular head of the state and the prime minister, who is chosen from among leaders of major political parties represented in parliament, is the head of Government. Elections are held at four-year intervals.
Social Organization. Belgium is a Western, industrial, class-based society. Clubs and associations, based on shared personal interests or backgrounds, proliferate. What political party one belongs to is almost always an important criterion when choosing an organization.
Political Organization. The Socialist party claims the most adherents in Wallonia (36.3 percent of the vote in 1981). Other political parties are the Christian Socialists, the Liberals, the Walloon Assembly, the Communists, and the Ecologiste. Trade unions are very important. The first three parties named run their own trade unions.
Social Control. The Belgian armed forces and police force (including national gendarmerie and municipal, rural, and criminal police) exercise control over the region.
Conflict. Belgium, throughout its history, has been used as a frequent battlefield in wars that originated outside its borders. Even though Belgium claimed neutrality in both world wars, its countryside was decimated. The two major conflicts in Wallonia today are between the leftist and conservative Political parties and between the Flemish and the Walloons.