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Aflevering 2-3, 2003 Alle samenvattingen uitklappen

Mark Deweerdt
Article

Belgian politics in 2002

Auteurs Sam Depauw en Mark Deweerdt

Sam Depauw

Mark Deweerdt
Article

Van euro naar uitbreiding: de Europese Unie in 2002

Auteurs Bart Kerremans en Edith Drieskens
Samenvatting

    The European Union stepped into the year 2002 with mixedfeelings. On the one hand, the anthraxcrisis and the war in Afghanistan remembered of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. On the other hand, the introduction of the euro notes and coins created a EU-wide feeling of euphoria. In the following twelve months, EU activity was mainly dominated by the impeding eastern enlargement. Moreover, in 2002, the institutional foundations were laid ofwhat will turn out to be one of the mostfundamental transformations ofthe European construction in EU history. As most of these activities will be settled in the years to come, asfor 2002, especially the starting point - the introduction of the euro coins and notes -and the end point- the decision ofthe Copenhagen European Council to welcome Cyprus, Estonza, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic in 2004 into the European family - will remain printed in the European memory.


Bart Kerremans

Edith Drieskens

    After four years of a so called «Rainbow» coalition, which had the support of the Socialists (red), the Liberals (blue) and the Greens, the electorate rewarded the first two political families and inflicted a crushing defeat on the Greens. The latter lost nearly 60 % of their electorate, which had occurred only once before to a political party since the introduction of universal suffrage in Belgium in 1919. The outcome of the elections is fairly similar in the three regions of the country. In Flanders, the Socialists progress by more than 8 %, reaping the benefits of the alliance formed with «Spirit», one of the successor parties of the former Volksunie. Half of the Socialists' progress can be attributed to this effect. Moreover, the Socialist party started off from an absolute low hit in 1999 and has not regained its top scores of the 1960s. The advance of the Liberal VLD is more modest, (some 2.5 %), but it followed upon excellent previous results. With some 25 % of the vote, the VLD, which is the first party in Flanders, has reached an absolute high. Conversely, the Christian Democrats of the CD&V slightly regress, thereby continuing a downward trend. These results take them to their historical low, and make them into Flanders ' third party, with some 21.9 % of the vote. Agalev, the Green party, no langer has any representation in parliarnent and falls back from11 to 3.85 %. The far right, the Vlaams Blok, continues its advance and reaches 17,86 %, an increase of 2,5 %. In Wallonia too one observes a significant advance of the Socialists. The PS remains the first party in the South of the country with 36.39 % of the vote, progressing by 7 %. It exceeds all its results of the previous twelve years, without however reaching its earlier highs. The Liberals of the Mouvement Réformateur (MR) gain 3.65 % and are at their historical high with 28.38 % of the vote. The Christian Democrats, under the denomination CDH (Centre democrate humaniste) slip back by some 1.5 %, but this decline is almost equivalent to the result of a dissident list of the CDH, which had wanted to maintain «christian» as a reference. This doesn't alter the fact that the Christian Democrats have also reached their all time low. The Greens, Ecolo, lose some 57 % of their vote and stand at 7.45 %. In contrast with 1999, one observes a slight advance ofthe Front National, a far right party, that only obtained 5.56 % of the vote however. With the exception ofan increase in the French and a decline in the Flemish vote, the Brussels districts show the same characteristics as the two other regions of the country; a very significant advance of the Socialists, a slight increase in the Liberal vote, the collapse of the Greens; the status quo ofthe Christian Democrats and an advance of the far right with almost 2 %. The 2003 election therefore seems to be a correction on the 1999 one, where the advance of the greens had been amplified by the dioxineJood scare. But the width of the swing makes it into one of the elections where the volatility of the vote will have been the highest.


William Fraeys

    At 18 May 2003, elections for both the Belgian House of Representatives and Senate were held within a new institutional framework: among others the constituencies were enlarged. The percentage of voters casting a preferential vote increased again, reaching the highest score ever with 66,5 %for the House and 68,0 %for the Senate. Voters can also cast a vote for several candidates figuring on the same party list, which was not done very frequently in the past. The number of preference votes on one ballot increased enormously, with naw on average 2,23 for the House and 2,37 for the Senate. More candidates than ever succeeded in becoming elected out of the order of the party list, which was mostly decisive in the past. The new electoral laws are one reason for these changes, togethers with some political and social evolutions, such as individualism, anti-party feelings and mediatisation.


Bram Wauters

Mark Deweerdt

Jo Noppe
Article

De Europese eenmaking in de Vlaamse publieke opinie

onbekendheid, onverschilligheid, gelatenheid of machteloosheid

Auteurs Wilfried Dewachter
Samenvatting

    Unlike France, Denmark, Sweden, Austria and other E.U. countries Belgium has not yet organised a referendum on European policy matters, however important these may be. So one is constrained to opinion polls and survey data to grasp the attitude of the Flemish community towards European integration. Five important policy matters are examined: the introduction of the euro, the involvement in E.U. countries, the enlargement of the E.U., the institutional design and the position ofthe Flemish community in the E.U. At the end, with about 20 % of the electorale trying to follow the intricate European polities, on the whole public opinion on Europe in Flanders seem to be a mixture of unfamiliarity, indifference, resignation and acceptance of the policy advocated by the elitist consensus in Belgium on these matters. The missing impetus is the incentives provided by a referendum to become concerned with the complex policy-making and policies in Europe.


Wilfried Dewachter

Jo Noppe