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Min Reuchamps
Aspirant du Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique – FNRS au département de Sciences politiques, Université de Liège.
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.

    We analyse the presence of a cost of ruling and/or incumbency advantage in the municipal elections in Flanders of 1988, 1994 and 2000. The empirical work concentrates on vote share evolutions of the three main parties: CD&V, Sp.a and VLD. We find evidence that being in power leads to an incumbency advantage, especially for those parties who provide the mayor. The results indicate that this electoral advantage is not uniform among parties (the socialist party appears to benefit more) and, importantly, the incumbency advantage seems to dampen over successive elections. From the perspective of the local politicians, it is important to keep in mind that this incumbency advantage at the local level was insufficient to compensate for the general trend of the major parties to lose votes at all levels of government. Indeed, even in the 1988 elections – where a clear local incumbency (mayor) advantage could be identified for each of the three parties – it was the case that government parties on average lost votes.


Jan Vermeir
Jan Vermeir promoveerde in 2006 tot dr. in de economische wetenschappen aan de VUB met een proefschrift ‘Essays on Elections and Coalition Formation’. Hij is auteur van artikels in European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, Applied Economics, ...

Bruno Heyndels
Bruno Heyndels is hoogleraar in de economie aan de VUB. Hij verricht onderzoek omtrent de interactie economie & politiek, economie & cultuur en economie & sport. Hij is auteur van talrijke publicaties in (internationale) tijdschriften.

    Together with the city council elections, the citizens of Antwerp elected on 8 October 2006 for the second time their district councils. This new decentralised political level is primarily initiated to restore the confidence of the citizens in the city (and district) government(s). By analysing the results of the city and the district elections we try to find indications whether citizens feel closer to their new district governments or not. Firstly district elections resulted definitely not in less blank votes. Secondly, the number of list votes is higher on the district elections than on the city elections, while we would have expected a higher number of preferential votes. Thirdly, we see that the differences between the electoral results of the city elections and the district elections are becoming more pronounced. Although this last result seems to support the legitimacy of the decentralised district they merely reflect changes in the logic of the city elections. Mainly as a result of media coverage the city elections were direct elections of the mayor. Therefore voters used the district elections to vote for their preferred political party. This was not always possible at city level, because some parties did not have an eligible candidate for mayor. Generally spoken, we can conclude that the district elections do not give much proof of a closer connection between the citizens and the city government.


Peter Thijssen
Peter Thijssen doceert methodologie en politieke sociologie aan de Faculteit Politieke en Sociale Wetenschappen, de Faculteit Rechten en de Managementschool van de Universiteit Antwerpen. Zijn onderzoek spitst zich toe op politieke attitudes en politieke participatie, in het bijzonder van verschillende leeftijdsgroepen. Recente boeken zijn ‘Van beschrijving naar inzicht’ (Acco, 2006) en ‘Babybom? Draagvlak van de intergenerationele solidariteit’ (Acco, 2006, met De Pauw).
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