Zoekresultaat: 16 artikelen

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Research Note

Caretaker Cabinets in Belgium: A New Measurement and Typology

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering Online First 2020
Trefwoorden caretaker government, Belgium, cabinets, political crisis
Auteurs Régis Dandoy en Lorenzo Terrière
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium is probably the world’s best known case of where caretaker governments reside. Yet a clear scholarly definition and measurement of this concept is missing. Based on a detailed analysis of the Belgian federal cabinets, this research note explores the main characteristics and measures the length of the various caretaker periods. We find that Belgium was governed for no less than 1,485 days by a caretaker government between 2007 and 2020, which equals more than four full calendar years. This research note also presents a novel typology of caretaker periods based on the institutional and political practice within the Belgian legislative and executive branches. This typology can be used to assess caretaker periods at other levels of government as well as in other countries in order to improve our understanding of the many ‘faces’ that a caretaker government can take on.


Régis Dandoy
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Lorenzo Terrière
Universiteit Gent
Article

Access_open The Feminisation of Belgian Local Party Politics

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden local politics, local party branches, local elections, gender quotas, Belgium
Auteurs Robin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel en Petra Meier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article investigates the feminisation of local politics. Starting from the observation that the representation of women in local electoral politics lags behind the regional and federal level, and taking into account the relevance of local party branches in the recruitment and selection of candidates for elections, we examine the extent to which there is an ‘internal’ feminisation of local party branches and how this links to the ‘external’ feminisation of local electoral politics. Based on surveys among local party chairs, the article maps patterns of feminisation over time and across parties, investigates problems local branches encounter in the recruitment of candidates for local elections, and analyses the (attitudes towards the) measures taken to further the integration of women in local electoral politics. We conclude that internal and external feminisation do not always go hand in hand and that local politics continues to be a male-dominated political biotope.


Robin Devroe
Robin Devroe is a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University and member of the research group GASPAR. Her main research interest is the study of the political representation of diverse social groups and voting behaviour, with a specific focus on the descriptive representation of women, and she has a fascination for experimental methods. Her doctoral work (2019, Ghent University) focused on the prevalence of political gender stereotypes among Flemish voters. In the past, Robin was a visiting scholar at Texas A&M University (2018, US). Since 2020, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Group on Gender and Politics.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science, Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her research interests include party politics, political representation, gender and intersectionality, and comparative politics. Her current research focuses on three main areas: the integration of gender equality in political parties, intersectionality and political representation in Europe, and the consequences of economic and social inequality for representative democracy. Since 2018, she has been co-convenor of the European Consortium for Political Research’s (ECPR’s) Standing Group on Gender and Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier is Professor of Politics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Antwerp. Her research focuses on the (re)presentation of gender+ in politics and policies. Late work focused on the conceptualisation of symbolic representation, how it operates and the issues at stake from an inclusive perspective. Recently, she turned to study democratic deficits in federal systems, especially Belgium, and processes of de-democratisation in general. She is particularly interested in understanding how such processes affect the demos, more particularly from a gender, an LGBTQI or an ethnic perspective, and what dynamics of marginalisation and exclusion they generate.
Article

Introduction: Parties at the Grassroots

Local Party Branches in the Low Countries

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Auteurs Bram Wauters, Simon Otjes en Emilie van Haute
Auteursinformatie

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Sciences of Ghent University, where he leads the research group GASPAR. His research interests include political representation, elections and political parties, with specific attention for diversity. He has recently published on these topics in journals such as Party Politics, Political Studies, Politics & Gender and Political Research Quarterly. He is co-editor (with Knut Heidar) of ‘Do parties still represent?’ (Routledge, 2019).

Simon Otjes
Simon Otjes is Assistant Professor of Dutch Politics at Leiden University and researcher at the Documentation Centre Dutch Political Parties of Groningen University. His research focuses on political parties, parliaments and public opinion. His research has appeared in various journals, including American Journal of Political Science and European Journal of Political Research.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies or European Political Science. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Article

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

Linkage Between Local Branches and Their National Party Headquarters in Belgium

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden local branches, national party headquarters, linkage, integration, multilevel parties
Auteurs Kristof Steyvers
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article scrutinises local-national linkage in Belgium to better understand territorial power relations in multilevel parties. Drawing on a survey of local chairs of national parties, it adopts an innovative, informal and bottom-up approach. The descriptive analysis reveals two central axes in the morphology of linkage: scope (downward support and upward influence) and surplus (benefits versus costs). However, (the valuation of) this interdependence appears as a matter of degree. The explanatory analysis therefore probes into the effect of macro- (between environments), meso- (between parties) and micro- (within parties) level factors. It demonstrates that variance is explained by different parameters. For scope, differences between parties trump those within them. For surplus, specific differences between parties as well as within them matter. The answer to our guiding question is therefore variegated: it depends on for what and for whom.


Kristof Steyvers
Kristof Steyvers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science of Ghent University (Belgium). His research is conducted in the Centre for Local Politics, where he focuses on topics such as local political leadership, parties and elections at the local level, local government in multilevel governance and local government reforms (often from a comparative perspective).
Article

Still Consociational? Belgian Democracy, 50 Years After ‘The Politics of Accommodation’

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2020
Trefwoorden Belgium, consociational democracy, Lijphart, federalism, ethnolinguistic conflict
Auteurs Didier Caluwaerts en Min Reuchamps
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Despite the enduring importance of Lijphart’s work for understanding democracy in Belgium, the consociational model has come under increasing threat. Owing to deep political crises, decreasing levels of trust in elites, increasing levels of ethnic outbidding and rising demands for democratic reform, it seems as if Lijphart’s model is under siege. Even though the consociational solution proved to be very capable of transforming conflict into cooperation in Belgian politics in the past, the question we raise in this article is whether and to what extent the ‘politics of accommodation’ is still applicable to Belgian democracy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the four institutional (grand coalition, proportionality, mutual veto rights and segmental autonomy) and one cultural (public passivity) criteria, we argue that consociational democracy’s very nature and institutional set-up has largely hollowed out its potential for future conflict management.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is professor of political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with democratic governance and innovation in deeply divided societies. With Min Reuchamps, he has recently published “The Legitimacy of Citizen-led Deliberative Democracy: The G1000 in Belgium” (Routledge, 2018).

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.
Article

Split-Ticket Voting in Belgium

An Analysis of the Presence and Determinants of Differentiated Voting in the Municipal and Provincial Elections of 2018

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2019
Trefwoorden split-ticket voting, local elections, voting motives, Belgium, PR-system
Auteurs Tony Valcke en Tom Verhelst
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article tackles the particular issue of split-ticket voting, which has been largely overlooked in Belgian election studies thus far. We contribute to the literature by answering two particular research questions: (1) to what extent and (2) why do voters cast a different vote in the elections for the provincial council as compared to their vote in the elections for the municipal council?
    The article draws on survey data collected via an exit poll in the ‘Belgian Local Elections Study’, a research project conducted by an inter-university team of scholars.
    Our analysis shows that nearly 45% of the total research population cast a split-ticket vote in the local elections of 2018. However, this number drops to one out of four if we only consider a homogenous party landscape at both levels by excluding the numerous votes for ‘local’ lists (which occur mostly at the municipal level). This finding underlines the importance of accounting for the electoral and institutional context of the different electoral arenas in research on split-ticket voting in PR systems. In the Belgian context, split-ticket voting in 2018 also differed between the different parties and regions. Furthermore, it was encouraged by a higher level of education and familiarity with particular candidates. This candidate-centred and strategic voting was matched by party identification and the urban municipal context favouring straight-ticket voting. Other factors such as region, a rural municipal context and preferential voting seemed more relevant to determine voting for local parties than using the instrument of split-ticket votes as such.


Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University (Belgium). He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership, citizenship (education).

Tom Verhelst
Tom Verhelst is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University (Belgium) and a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Political Science at Maastricht University (the Netherlands). His research focuses on the Europeanisation of local government (with a particular interest for the regulatory mobilisation of local government in EU decision-making processes) and on the role and position of the local council in Belgium and the Netherlands (with a particular interest for local council scrutiny).
Article

Split Offer and Homogeneous Response in Belgium

The Conceptual and Empirical Limitations of (De)Nationalization

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden (de-)nationalization, voting behaviour, party offer, voter response, methodological nationalism
Auteurs Luana Russo, Kris Deschouwer en Tom Verthé
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    By examining the Belgian case, this article aims to show that methodological nationalism is strongly present in the literature on nationalization of party offer and voting behaviour. In nationalization studies, Belgium is often presented as a typical example of a denationalized country. This is true for the party offer, as it is de facto split between the two language groups since the 1980s, and therefore also voter response at the national level. However, voter response within each separate subnational party system is very homogeneous and shows interesting differences between these party systems that inform us about important electoral dynamics. We argue, on the basis of our results, that rather than stretching the concept of nationalization, it is preferable and justified to treat the concepts of nationalization of the party offer and homogenization of voter response as analytically distinct and not as two sides of the same coin.


Luana Russo
Luana Russo, Maastricht University.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Tom Verthé
Tom Verthé, Ghent University & Vrije Universiteit Brussel.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2019
Trefwoorden fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Auteurs Johanna Schnabel
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open Do Characteristics of Consociational Democracies Still Apply to Belgian Parties?

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Belgium, political parties, party membership, political participation, political representation
Auteurs Emilie Van Haute en Bram Wauters
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Belgium has long been described as a typical case of a consociational or consensus democracy. This article aims at identifying whether political parties in Belgium share the internal characteristics of parties in consensus democracies: passive mass memberships, the importance of purposive and material incentives for joining, and representation of a clear subculture in the social and attitudinal profiles of their members and via overlapping memberships with related organizations. We mobilize longitudinal party membership data and party member surveys conducted in three different time periods. We show that pillar parties still exercise their role of mobilization and representation of societal segments, but these segments tend to become smaller over time. New parties offer alternative options of mobilization and representation, although not always in line with the specific institutional arrangements of consociational democracy.


Emilie Van Haute
Emilie Van Haute, Cevipol, Université libre de Bruxelles.

Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters, Research Group GASPAR, Ghent University.
Article

Ze halen hun slag wel thuis

Over particratie en het aanpassingsvermogen van Belgische partijen

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 4 2018
Trefwoorden dealignment, electoral support, federalism, gender, particracy, personalisation
Auteurs Jean-Benoit Pilet en Petra Meier
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Particracy has been widely used to describe Belgian politics after World War II. Yet, Belgian politics has changed. We examine five changes – the federalisation of the state architecture, diversification of the demos, erosion of political support, party’s dealignment and personalisation of politics – to evaluate how they have affected particracy in Belgium. The answer is twofold: particracy is still very strong, but it has changed. The three traditional party families that had institutionalised particracy in Belgium (Christian-democrats, socialists and liberals) had to face new challengers. They co-opted the most moderate ones (greens, regionalists), while excluding others (radical right/left). Intraparty democracy/participatory/transparency reforms, or changes to the electoral system, all of them opening the political system, were also implemented, but parties were able to overcome them. Yet, the ever-growing gap between traditional parties and citizens and the growth of new parties building upon voters’ dissatisfaction with traditional parties, may put particracy more radically into question.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is hoogleraar in de Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB). Hij doet onderzoek naar politieke partijen, kiessystemen, kiesgedrag, de personalisering van de politiek en democratische vernieuwing. Over die thema’s publiceerde hij boeken bij Oxford University Press en Routledge en artikels in wetenschappelijke tijdschriften zoals European Journal of Political Reform, West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Environmental Politics, Representation, Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, Res Publica, Revue Française de Science Politique en Comparative European Politics.

Petra Meier
Petra Meier, hoogleraar Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen, focust op de representatie van gender, de reproductie van ongelijkheid en de constructie van normativiteit in politiek/beleid. Zij publiceerde recent een aantal special issues over de ontwikkeling van gender beleid (Journal of Women, Politics and Policies; met Emanuela Lombardo en Mieke Verloo), symbolische vertegenwoordiging (Politics, Groups, and Identities; met Tania Verge) en een boek over de professionalisering van de strijd voor gelijkheid (Academia L’Harmattan; met David Paternotte).
Article

Het financiële gedrag van politieke partijen

Een verkennend onderzoek op basis van de Belgische case

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2 2018
Trefwoorden party spending, financial behaviour, spending behaviour, dealignment, professionalisation, Belgium
Auteurs Jef Smulders en Bart Maddens
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    In recent decades processes of partisan dealignment and professionalisation have taken place. But how do political parties adapt their financial behaviour to these changes in the political-electoral system? We answer this question by analysing two indicators. First, we examine to what extent parties spend their available financial means (saving versus spending strategy). Secondly, we study how parties spend their available financial means (bureaucratic versus electoral strategy). Based on these two indicators we set up a two-dimensional model describing the financial behaviour of political parties, which we apply to data of Belgian parties in the period 1999-2015. The results illustrate that most parties generally adopt a bureaucratic saving strategy, but that there has not been a linear evolution between 1999 and 2015 towards a specific financial behaviour as a reaction to dealignment and professionalisation.


Jef Smulders
Jef Smulders is aspirant van het Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO), verbonden aan de KU Leuven, Instituut voor de Overheid. Hij verricht voornamelijk onderzoek naar partij- en campagenfinanciering en naar de profielen van verkiezingskandidaten. Zijn doctoraatsproefschrift handelde over de uitgaven van politieke partijen in Europa.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is gewoon hoogleraar in de politieke wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven, Instituut voor de Overheid. Zijn onderzoeksagenda richt zich hoofdzakelijk op partijen campagnefinanciering, politieke carrièrepatronen, de profielen van verkiezingskandidaten en multilevelsystemen.
Article

Van Volksunie (VU) naar Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA)

Een analyse van de ideologische opvattingen van hun partijleden

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 3 2016
Trefwoorden regionalist parties, party ideology, elections, party members, Belgium
Auteurs Bram Wauters en Nicolas Bouteca
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The electoral rise of the Belgian regionalist party New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA) from scratch to the country’s largest party is remarkable. We explore here to what extent the party has shifted in ideological terms compared to its less successful predecessor VU. We make use of party member survey data (a dynamic indicator of a party’s position). We distinguish three factors that impact on parties’ positions: institutional reforms, the influx of new members and changes in the internal power distribution. The results show a clear change: on each of the five policy dimensions (centre-periphery, socio-economic, moral-ethical, post-materialist and migration issues), significant differences could be found.


Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is professor aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent. Hij is hoofd van de Ghent Association for the Study of Parties and Representation (GASPAR).

Nicolas Bouteca
Nicolas Bouteca is professor aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de UGent en lid van de Ghent Association for the Study of Parties and Representation (GASPAR). Hij publiceerde eerder over ideologie, politieke partijen, electorale competitie en het Belgisch federalisme.

Jo Noppe
Vrij medewerker van het Centrum voor Politicologie van de KU Leuven in samenwerking met de secretariaten van de politieke partijen.

    In national elections the results tend to become more ‘nationalized’: a homogeneous party offer all over the territory, less variation in the results per constituency and more homogeneous electoral swings. This article investigates whether this nationalization can also be witnessed at local elections. It focuses on two indicators: the party offer and the voting behaviour. The party offer is the presence of the national parties on the local ballot paper, while the voting behaviour looks at patterns of homogeneity across the municipalities.
    The answer to the question of nationalization is mixed. The Flemish and Walloon local elections display the same long-term trend as the national elections, but they keep their own local character. The heterogeneity of the local party offer clearly demonstrates the local specificity of the local elections, and consequently the voting behaviour also differs from the voting behaviour at national elections. We also find that the local elections in Wallonia are less nationalized than in Flanders.
    Although the local character of the local elections remains important, the newer parties – Ecolo and Groen! – show until 2000 a clear trend towards nationalization. Especially the extreme right Vlaams Belang shows positive scores on all indicators of nationalization since its first local appearance in 1982.


Fanny Wille
Fanny Wille is verbonden als assistent/vorser aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen en de Vakgroep Micro-economics of the Profit and Non-Profit Sectors aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zij doet onderzoek naar lokale coalitievorming.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer is gewoon hoogleraar aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij doet onderzoek naar politieke vertegenwoordiging in systemen met een complexe institutionele context.

Jo Noppe
Aspirant van het Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek – Vlaanderen, aan het Centrum voor Politologie van de K.U.Leuven, in samenwerking met de secretariaten van de politieke partijen.
Article

Partis politiques nationaux en crise?

Organisation des partis et décentralisation. Une comparaison de l’Espagne et du Royaume Uni

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2005
Auteurs Elodie Fabre, Bart Maddens, Wilfried Swenden e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    This article investigates the link between state decentralization and party decentralization. We study the impact of the type (dual, integrative, asymmetrical) and degree of decentralization on two dimensions of the relationship between a party’s central party organs and its regional branches: the autonomy of the regional branches to manage their regional affairs and the degree of participation of the regional branches in the central party. We compare the organization of five state-wide parties in two decentralized multi-national polities, Spain and the UK. Our analysis of their party statutes partly confirms the link between degree and asymmetry of decentralization and party organization. However, the impact of the type of distribution of powers between the state and its regions is much less clear. This article shows the need to investigate the influence of other factors such as regional party competition and electoral rules on the type of central-regional relationships within state-wide parties.


Elodie Fabre
Doctorante au Département de science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.

Bart Maddens
Professeur en science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.

Wilfried Swenden
Professeur en science politique à l’Université de Edimbourg, Ecosse.

Robertas Pogorelis
Collaborateur scientifique au Département de science politique à la Katholieke Universiteit de Leuven.
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