DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647002000042001023

Res PublicaAccess_open


De (on)macht van de Eerste Minister

Een a-wetenschappelijke ervaringsbenadering

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Jean-Luc Dehaene, "De (on)macht van de Eerste Minister", Res Publica, 1, (2000):23-32

    The position of the Belgian prime minister (PM) is hardly mentioned in the Belgian Constitution. It was only after almost 140 years, in 1970 he was mentioned for the first time. Its power is rather a matter of common law. Since 1831 through the years, the position and power of the PM changed strongly. This often happened together with changes concerning the power of the King: the weaker the King, the stronger the PM. The existence of coalition governments puts forward bis role as coordinator and even as arbitrator, whereas the federalisation process since the seventies places him as a conciliator between Regions and Communities. The growing importance of the European Council of Head of States have made him the most important decision-maker among the national politicians in the European integration process. The PM's skills concerning timing and agendasetting are very important because it is one of his most important power instruments. Other key skills are bis profound knowledge in certain issues but mostly as a generalist, his insisting on good minister nominations by the party leaders, the way he can motivate his cabinet members, a good team spirit among the government members and the existence of a clear government contract. In order to avoid a strongdependency on or tutelage from the political parties of the majority it is important to have their top politicians in the government.

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