Belgium is divided into 10 provinces: Antwerp, East Flanders, West Flanders, and Limburg in the north, Hainaut, Liège, Luxembourg, and Namur in the south, Flemish Brabant, and Walloon Brabant. Each of the provinces has a council of 50 to 90 members elected for four-year terms by direct suffrage and empowered to legislate in matters of local concern. A governor, appointed by the king, is the highest executive officer in each province.
There are 589 communes. Each municipality has a town council elected for a six-year term. The council elects an executive body called the board of aldermen. The head of the municipality is the burgomaster, who is appointed by the sovereign upon nomination by the town council. Recently, the number of municipalities has been greatly reduced through consolidation.
In 1971, Brussels was established as a separate bilingual area, presided over by a proportionally elected metropolitan council. Linguistic parity was stipulated for the council's executive committee.