DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647001997039004523

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Belgian politics in 1996

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Ivan Couttenier, "Belgian politics in 1996", Res Publica, 4, (1997):523-545

    In 1996, Belgian politics centered around three major issues: the jobs contract, the 1997 budget and political fallout of the Dutroux affair (the four girls killed by a pedophile ring). During the first months of the year, Prime Minister Dehaene attempted to win support for a comprehensive jobs contract, but the draft agreement was turned down by the Socialist trade union militants. Nevertheless, the measures contained in the agreement were later implemented by the cabinet, without the consent of the employers and organized labor. Together with adjustments made to the social security system and implementation of budgetary measures needed to reach the conditions set by the EU for joining the Economic and Monetary Union, the jobs contract was implemented by means of special powers. The cabinet obtained these special powers from Parliament before the summer recess. After the summer, as a result ofthe Dutroux alfair, the cabinet dealt with legal reform, in the process trying to quell tensions arisen among the law enforcement agencies.

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