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Belgian politics in 2000

Tijdschrift Res Publica, Aflevering 2-3 2001
Auteurs Stefaan Fiers en Mark Deweerdt

Stefaan Fiers

Mark Deweerdt

    This article deals with the consequences of an increased number of levels of political decision-making, on the way in which political careers are built. In the traditional bottomup perspective, political careers started at the municipal level. The best were chosen to represent the party in regional assemblies, first, and eventually in the national parliament. In this perspective, a mandate of Member of European Parliament was the highest obtainable office. Evidence from the 1979-99 period shows that the importance of 'local political experience' in recruiting MPs is decreasing. However still, the Belgian figure remains high in comparative perspective: in 1999 no less than 70 % ofthe members of the federal House of Representatives and of the regional Flemish Parliament have previously been local councillor. Moreover, still 60 % combines a mandate as local councillor with their parliamentary mandate. Only a limited number ofpreviously regional Flemish MPs became federal MPs in 1999, so that one could not speak of frequent level-hopping, nor of a hierarchy among these offices.


Stefaan Fiers
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