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Aflevering 1, 2003 Alle samenvattingen uitklappen

    Although communication and discussion between rank and file members and the party leadership are at the heart of party congresses, most parties meet a lot of difficulties in organising truly democratie party conferences. The party leadership has a natural tendency to try to influence the decision-making process. In this article, we identify thirteen conditions fora democratic party conference. They vary from the decision whether or not to organise a conference, over the conference' s theme and the designation of the chair of the conference on to the electoral formula to accept amendments to the proposed resolutions (e.g. simple majority or two-third majority). The thirteen conditions stem from avery long and extensive participatory observation, combined with the analysis of numerous party conferences in Belgium, over the last couple of decades. This enables also to point out some shifting tendencies in the Belgian party congresses since World War II.

Wilfried Dewachter

    In response to a decline of 'the party on the ground', political parties in Western Europe have increased the opportunities for their members to have a say on the party's policy. In this article, four ways of increased involvement of the rank-and-file in Belgian political parties are analysed: party leadership elections, co-decision as concerns the composition of electoral lists, intra-party referenda and the widening ofthe suffrage on party congresses. As concerns the statutory regulations, the involvement of party members has increasedsignificantly. In practice, however, influence of party members remains limited and the party elite continues to keep most power in their hands. Most party members are aware of the limits of their influence. Moreover, not all members are interested in having a greater say in party affairs. Those that adhere to a party because of ideological or programmatic reasons, participate most.

Bram Wauters

Access_open Jongerenafdelingen van politieke partijen

Een onderzoek naar hun recruteringsfunctie en hun functioneren binnen Vlaamse politieke partijen

Auteurs Marc Hooghe en Patrick Stouthuysen

    Despite the fact that numerous political parties in Western democracies include separate youth chapters, these have not been studied systematically in political research. There are two reasons to study youth chapters: we know youth participation has strong and enduring political socialisation effects, while several authors have expressed concern about a decline of political engagement among adolescents. Our assumption is that youth chapters fulfil two functions within a party: recruitment of members and ideological innovation. Given the structural evolution toward cartel parties (Katz & Mair), both functions have become partly obsolete. Youth chapters of Flemish political parties have indeed lost 70 percent of their members since the 1970s. A survey among city councillors confirms the recruitment,function of,youth chapters: 41 percent of them started their political career in youth chapters. The demise of youth chapters therefore can be seen as a clear indication of a structural transformation of political parties.

Marc Hooghe

Patrick Stouthuysen

Access_open Inspraak of Samenspraak?

Voorwaarden tot, kenmerken en gevolgen van een breuklijnoverstijgende catch-all partij

Auteurs Wouter Beke

    Political parties are at the centre of democratic and parliamentary systems. The current classic political parties are expressions of societal cleavages of the nineteenth and twentieth century. After the Second World War, those parties look for new strategies to assure important parts of the electorate. One of the strategies is to integrate the existent cleavages into the party itself. But this kind of integration is not without ideological and organisational consequences. These cleavages manifest themselves within the party as subgroups and have to respect some overarching loyalties. As far as the internal decision making process is concerned, they have some consequences as well. Rules of pacification have to be respected when the integration of cleavages has to be recognizable and successful. The disadvantage of these rules of pacification is the absence of a formal active involvement of the party on the ground. At the same time, the presence of subgroups can lead to realdemocratic involvement and even discourage oligarchie tendencies.

Wouter Beke

Access_open Europeanisering en centralisering

Een verkennend onderzoek naar de plaats van de Europese Unie in de organisatie van de Belgische politieke partijen

Auteurs Martine Van Assche en Kris Deschouwer

    The European Union affects the internal organisation of national political parties. We found 'traces of Europe' in the party statutes of all Belgian parties that are represented in the European Parliament since 1999. Europe is, to a greater or lesser extent, present in party goals, rules on party membership and party organs. Parties have elaborated rules for the organisation of European elections, for the selection of European executives, for the formulation of party programmes, and for internal and external co-ordination of policy formulation. At first sight these rules seem to confirm the hypothesis that Europe is in the first place a concern of party leadership, and that it reinforces centralisation of decision-making. Yet the full confirmation of this hypothesis requires further comparative research on the Europeanisation of political parties.

Martine Van Assche

Kris Deschouwer

Access_open Participation gouvernementale et adaptation organisationnelle

une analyse qualiquantitative comparée des partis écologistes en Europe occidentale

Auteurs Benoît Rihoux en Sakura Yamasaki

    This contribution explores the reciprocal links between the organisational transformation of Western European Green parties and the access of some of these parties to national government participation. On the one hand, a series of hypotheses with regard to the possible link between prior organisational adaptation and eventual access to governmental participation are examined. On the other hand, the opposite question is addressed: that of the potential impact of governmental participation on further organisational adaptation. Following both a qualitative and Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), one does ultimately identify a link between prior organisational adaptation and eventual access to government, but a much more indirect and contrasted link between governmental participation and further organisational adaptation.

Benoît Rihoux

Sakura Yamasaki

    A comparative study of the literature on party changes shows that there are many different views on why and how parties change. The existing literature is rather theoretical. Most authors have based their model on a survey of a limited number of parties. The only general conclusion one can draw is that both external and internal factors can provoke party changes. In this contribution, we concentrate on the role of the internal factors. We find that change is less likely to happen when the party is divided in several factions. Furthermore the party organisation influences the changes. In highly institutionalised parties changes wil be more difficult than in less organised parties. Finally the role of the party president cannot be neglected. He has to analyse and interpret the external challenges. Only if he thinks that a change is necessary, the party is likely to change. In brief, party change is a dynamic process that is led by the party elite.

Tom Verstraete

Access_open De toetsing: partijvernieuwing in Nederland

Auteurs Gerrit Voerman

Gerrit Voerman