Res Publica

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Issue 3, 1977 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Le Rassemblement Wallon au gouvernement

défi au gouvernement ou défi au parti?

Authors Pierre Lefev

    The participation of the Rassemblement Wallon (Walloon Gathering) in the Belgian government, from June 1974 to March 1977, pointed to great incoherence. Bebind the many incidents characterizing this experience, a ma;or change seems to have taken place within this party as well as in Belgian politics. Isolated in the government coalition, the RW was sub;ect to growing internal tensions, which resulted in the outline of contradictory strategies. The failure of its openings towards the right caused a rift in the party, thus necessitating alternate alliances with «the left», through a rapprochement towards the PSB (Belgian Socialist Party) and the FDF (Front of the French-speaking). This evolution highly contributed to the signing of an agreement between the three regions and to the onset of Belgium towards federalism.

Pierre Lefev

    Until 1971 the Belgian Socialist Party (BSP) was the only Belgian party that consulted its members on the composition of candidate-lists for the parliamentary elections. Internal pre-elections were organized for this purpose.Since 1971 however there is a clear trend to abandon this procedure and to make a party-congres the deciding factor. In 1971 and 1974 this trend became predominant in Flanders; it is now also clearly noticeable in Wallonia. Only one out of seventeen Dutch-speaking federations (Antwerp), and seven of the thirteen Frenchspeaking federations organized pre-elections. As they were held in the large federations which send large numbers of members to parliament, there are still more French-speaking candidates in parliament through pre-elections than through a congres appointed list.

Jan Ceuleers

Access_open La campagne en français

Authors Gabriel Thoveron, Claude Geerts, Michèle Legros e.a.

    The article represents a first approach of the campaign in the frenchspeakingradio and television. A thorough study will be done later. The topics examined here are: the impact of the campaign on the people; the organization of the campaign in the radio and television and the presentation of the different broadcastings in the national and the regional campaign; the topics of the campaign through the political platforms, the debates between several parties and the questions asked by the audience; the personalities and «stars» during the campaign; the audience and the campaign on RTL and in the press.

Gabriel Thoveron

Claude Geerts

Michèle Legros

Jacqueline Thoveron

Roseline Dartevelle

José Manuel Nobre-Correia

    Although in Radio and TV-programmes the dutchspeaking radio and television (BRT) gives much attention to the election campaign, reporters and journalists manage to stick to the status of non agens, conforming the BRT-constitution. There is no difficulty to interview political leaders or ask them for collaboration in one or another programme, during the election campaign. The nearer election-day comes, the more difficult it is to stay neutral. In the radio-programmes one simply avoided to interview political leaders the last weeks before election-day. As for the TV-programmes, one managed to give the campaign with all pro's and con's, the typical detail and the striking events in puredocumentary style.

Herman Santy

    The problem of political apathy and poor representation of women in the Belgian parliament bas been focused and seriously challenged with the 1974 parliamentary elections. Two different strategies hereby have been developed: on the one hand a separate, exclusive feminist party; on the other hand a strategy of female candidates on the more conventional ballots. The effects of both strategies are quite remarkable: whereas the newcoming feminist party was struggling with breakthrough problems, the female candidate strategy strongly effected the amount of female candidates, elected women, as well as the votes given to women, compared to previous elections. The accurate relationship between the women's campaign and its election effect can hardly be determined for the election determinant is too complex. The propaganda however, was an attempt to change the traditional image of women and to increase the political participation and emancipation of women via the instrument of parliamentary elections. The 1977 results, however, hardly equated the optimistic prospects of 1974: the feminist party didn't survive its second participation and the candidate strategyurgently needs permanent action and political sensibilisation.

Mia Nysmans

Access_open Les élections législatives du 17 avril 1977

Analyse des résultats

Authors William Fraeys

    The Parliamentary Elections of 17 April 1977 revealed a great stability of the body of electors and largely confirmed the result of the communal elections of 1976. On the 393 seats in Parliament (House of Representatives and Senate), only 38 went to another political family.Nevertheless, this stability does not exclude movements; in this context should be noted the severe set-back of the «Rassemblement Wallon» which looses nearly half of its voters. Its defeat principally benefits the Liberals and the Christian Democrats and, to a lesser extent, the Socialists. In the Flemish region, the Socialists strengthen their position, whereas the Christian Democrats gain ground. Unexpected is the Liberals's setback. The «Volksunie» slightly recedes. In Brussels, PDF is undeniably successful and even exceeds its 1971 result. Communists are losing ground all over the country. In these elections which have been characterized by rather limited vote variations, the «communal tickets» (i.e. those based upon a single cultural group) recede, on the whole, to the benefit of the traditional parties which received a serious blow in 1971, but showed signs of a recovery as soon as 1974.

William Fraeys

    At the general elections, the Belgian voter has the possibility to bring out either a vote for a party (a liste-vote) or a vote for a candidate of the party (a preferential vote). At the general elections of April 17, 1977 for the House of Representatives the voters have voted for 50,26 % by preference, whereas for the Senate 40,65 % of them have done so. The use of preferential votes is varying from one electoral district to another: from 69,96 % in the district of Oudenaarde to 32,85 % in Bergen. There is also a difference from one political party to another. The highest percentage is obtained by the PW-PLP (liberal party): 59,51 %; the lowest by the KPB-PCB (communist party): 30,14 %. The preferential votes individual candidates obtain differ widely, pointing out not only their popularity but also to a certain extend their political power.

Mark Deweerdt

    Based upon the electoral results from the 17/4/1977 general election this study examines how the introduction of a system of single majoritarian representation (as in Great-Britain) might «reshuffle the cards» among the various political parties.Furthermore, one has examined which might be the consequences of the introduction of majoritarian representation for the over-all functioning of the Belgian political system. One bas also explored the possibilities to counterbalance the possible negative consequences of such a representation system.

Luc Holvoet