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Article

Access_open Voters of Populist Parties and Support for Reforms of Representative Democracy in Belgium

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 3 2020
Trefwoorden Belgian politics, democratic reforms, elections, populist voters, representative democracy
Auteurs Lisa van Dijk, Thomas Legein, Jean-Benoit Pilet e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Recently, studies have burgeoned on the link between populism and demands for democratic reforms. In particular, scholars have been debating the link between populist citizens or voters and support for referendums. In this article, we examine voters of populist parties (Vlaams Belang (VB) and Parti du Travail de Belgique-Partij van de Arbeid (PTB-PVDA)) in Belgium in 2019 and we look at their attitudes towards various types of democratic reforms. We find that voters of populist parties differ from the non-populist electorate in their support for different kinds of reforms of representative democracy. Voters of VB and PTB-PVDA have in common stronger demands for limiting politicians’ prerogatives, for introducing binding referendums and for participatory budgeting. While Vlaams Belang voters are not significantly different from the non-populist electorate on advisory referendums, citizens’ forums or technocratic reform, PVDA-PTB voters seem more enthusiastic.


Lisa van Dijk
Lisa van Dijk (corresponding author), KU Leuven.

Thomas Legein
Thomas Legein, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB).

Sofie Marien
Sofie Marien, KU Leuven.
Article

Between Party Democracy and Citizen Democracy

Explaining Attitudes of Flemish Local Chairs Towards Democratic Innovations

Tijdschrift Politics of the Low Countries, Aflevering 2 2020
Trefwoorden democratic innovations, citizen participation, local politics, Flanders, Belgium
Auteurs Didier Caluwaerts, Anna Kern, Min Reuchamps e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    As a response to the perceived legitimacy crisis that threatens modern democracies, local government has increasingly become a laboratory for democratic renewal and citizen participation. This article studies whether and why local party chairs support democratic innovations fostering more citizen participation. More specifically, we analyse the relative weight of ideas, interests and institutions in explaining their support for citizen-centred democracy. Based on the Belgian Local Chairs Survey in 2018 (albeit restricting our analysis to Flanders), the central finding is that ideas matter more than interests and institutions. Ideology is alive and kicking with regard to democratic innovation, with socialist and ecologist parties and populist parties being most supportive of participatory arrangements. By contrast, interests and institutions play, at this stage, a minor role in explaining support for participatory innovations.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research and teaching deal with Belgian and comparative politics and democratic governance in deeply divided societies. His work has been published in various journals, including European Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Acta Politica.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is Assistant Professor at research group GASPAR at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her main research interests include political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multilevel 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.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. 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, citizenship (education), (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership.
Thema-artikel

Voortvarend in verbouwen

Hoe Denemarken efficiënt drastische beleidswijzigingen realiseert (maar niet per se heel effectief blijkt)

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 1 2019
Trefwoorden Comparative public administration, Public reform, Reform implementation, Decentralisation, Civil service
Auteurs Eline van Schaik MSc
Samenvatting

    In international comparative research, a dominant image often emerges of Denmark as a frontrunner in innovative governance, gaining top results in international rankings.
    Based on four recent examples of national public reforms, this article studies the dynamics of reform implementation in Denmark, which can be characterised as expeditious and efficient. Three explanatory factors are discussed: a political, systemic and managerial factor. What is Denmark, a country in many ways similar to the Netherlands, doing differently? The article concludes that, for the Netherlands, the guiding element of Danish public reforms can be found not in the results of these reforms, but in the efficiency with which they are implemented.


Eline van Schaik MSc
Artikel

De democratische vertegenwoordiging van cliënten en patiënten bij de decentralisaties

Tijdschrift Beleid en Maatschappij, Aflevering 2 2015
Trefwoorden representative claim, democratic decision making, Decentralization, social and health policies, Municipalities
Auteurs Dr. Hester Van de Bovenkamp en Dr. Hans Vollaard
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    Citizen participation is firmly on the agenda of many Western policy makers. Numerous opportunities for individuals to participate in public decision-making have been created. However, few citizens use these opportunities. Those who do are often the highly educated, white, middle and upper classes that also tend to dominate other democratic spaces. Opportunities to become active can increase inequalities in terms of whose voices are heard in public decision-making. This fundamentally challenges the central democratic value of equality. Nevertheless, others can represent the interests of those who remain silent. Using the concept of representative claim this paper explores a variety of forms of representation (electoral, formal non-electoral and informal self-appointed) in the domain of social policy which is currently decentralized in the Netherlands. We conclude that especially informal self-appointed representatives such as medical professionals, churches and patient organizations can potentially play an important role in representing groups who often remain unheard in the public debate. They can therefore play an important role in ensuring the democratic quality of the decentralization process.


Dr. Hester Van de Bovenkamp
Dr. Hester van de Bovenkamp is universitair docent bij het Instituut Beleid en Management Gezondheidszorg van de Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dr. Hans Vollaard
Dr. Hans Vollaard is universitair docent Nederlandse en Europese politiek bij het Instituut Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
Article

De provincieraadsverkiezingen van 8 oktober 2006

Electorale tendensen in Vlaanderen en Wallonië

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2-3 2007
Auteurs Tony Valcke, Herwig Reynaert, Kristof Steyvers e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    The 2006 provincial elections in Belgium were the first organised after the transfer of the bulk of competences on local and provincial government from the federal to the regional level. This means that the different regions have both the competence to redesign the institutional framework on provincial government and to change the electoral rules. The government has exercised its competence: some institutional and electoral rules are now different in the two regions. These elections were also the first after drastic reforms in the national political landscape (e.g., the democratic Flemish nationalist party split in different groups, nearly all the parties changed their name and different kinds of cartels and alliances between parties emerged, especially in the Flemish part of the country).
    All over the country, the Christian democrats and the extreme right parties were the winners of the elections, while the ecologists suffered from a declining trend. For the other parties, results differ according to region. In the Flemish part of the country, the socialists joined the Christian democrats as winners, where in the Walloon provinces they lost votes. The Liberals however noticed declining vote shares in the Flemish provinces, while winning in the Walloon part of the country.
    Because of the electoral design the evolution of the provincial political landscape offers an interesting electoral barometer of the upcoming federal elections. Provincial elections do not only ‘predict’ the political future of other levels however, they are path dependent in their own right as well. Historical, institutional, political and electoral forces all codetermine the actual outlook of current provincial events. The analysis for 2006 has once again confirmed this.


Tony Valcke
Assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Herwig Reynaert
Docent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Kristof Steyvers
Doctor-assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Johan Ackaert
Docent Universiteit Hasselt.

    The article analyses the gender balance in local Belgian politics in the aftermath of the 2006 local elections. It offers a comparative perspective on the position of candidates, representatives elected and those holding office including data from the last three decades. The article also discusses the attitude of local party sections towards measures to foster a gender balance. The data show that local party sections more easily agree on parity at the level of candidates than that they support a real sharing of power at the level of the executive power. Local party sections do not support more than a guaranteed minimum presence of wo/men in the councils of eldermen. Furthermore, both at the level of candidates and at that of the executive the data reveal a final glass ceiling. Women have difficulties reaching the top positions on electoral lists as well as the top positions in the local executive power.


Petra Meier
Petra Meier is docente politieke wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Haar onderzoek draait rond de relatie tussen democratie, vertegenwoordiging en gelijkheid, met een speciale klemtoon op de relatie tussen gender en politiek. Recent publiceerde zij ‘De macht van het geslacht. Gender, politiek en beleid’ (samen met Karen Celis, Acco, 2006).
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.
Article

Centraal-lokale relaties in Vlaanderen: verdeel of heers?

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 1 2005
Auteurs Koenraad De Ceuninck, Carl Devos, Herwig Reynaert e.a.
SamenvattingAuteursinformatie

    An important element in the debate on the hollowed State is the extent to which the subsidiary idea caused a decrease in dominance of the central State and lead to a multifaceted process of decentralisation. A case in point is the recent regionalisation of the competency to organise local government in Belgium. Based on Page and Goldsmith’s three dimensions in intergovernmental relations between central and local government (functions, discretion and access), we test the discourse of the reform of the local government in Flanders to its practice. It is argued that the principles of a subsidiary founded municipal autonomy, a growing fiscal and functional discretion and a personal disentanglement of local and central decision-makers was inspired by northern European models of government relations. These, however, are only partially being confirmed by the praxis of the reforms, as the main principles of the existing southern European models persist.


Koenraad De Ceuninck
Assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Carl Devos
Docent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Herwig Reynaert
Docent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Sofie Staelraeve
Assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Kristof Steyvers
Doctor-assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Tony Valcke
Assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Dries Verlet
Doctor-assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.
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