The Latin translation of King of Belgium would have been Rex Belgii , which, from 1815, was the name for the king of the Netherlands . In a cosy community like Ostbelgien, after a few years, most people will know someone who’s had a tap on the shoulder. (The establishment parties traditionally have applied a cordon sanitaire, refusing to negotiate with it. People don’t trust politicians, Dejaeghere notes, but “We never ask the reverse: to what extent do politicians trust their own citizens?” Van Reybrouck agrees: “A lot of politicians say we shouldn’t listen to citizens, because ‘look at the way they shout,’ or ‘look at the way they vote,’ or ‘look at how irrational they are,’ but all this anger is getting louder as they are ignored.”, It could be you!—Empty chairs in a new chamber in the Ostbelgien parliament, where citizens chosen by chance will be summoned to have their say. But there are procedural (and mathematical) objections to all voting systems. In principle, at least, parties represent opposed class interests. Photo: Prospect composite. Could the evangelists convert me? It looks like you are a Prospect subscriber. The importance and impact of the King’s political action varies according to circumstances and according to the pace of public life. /*

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