Res Publica

About this journal  

Subscribe to the email alerts for this journal here to receive notifications when a new issue is at your disposal.

Issue 2, 1976 Expand all abstracts

Access_open Les sections des Chambres législatives

Authors Claude Courtoy

    In 1974, the belgian House of representatives as well as the Senate have decided to bring about some deep changes in their respective rules of procedure. These changes, worked-out within the rank and file of theresearch centres of the three principal political forces, are based on the specialization which is naturally met within an assembly. The Senate and the House of representatives, while respecting the proportional representation of the groups, got divided respectively into four and six sections destined to discuss definitively projects and propositions of law, budgets, as well as hear interpellations. The final vote is, in any case, left to the plenary assembly. This is the way the belgian Houses put into practice the idea of specialized chambers, which was evoked within the Association of the Secretaries general of Parliaments, in the early fifties, following the procedural innovation of the 1947 italian Constitution. The reform functions fully in the Senate, whereas the House of representatives calls up the sections to discuss only budgets and interpellations in relation to them.

Claude Courtoy

Access_open Gemeentelijke inspraak in het besluitvormingsproces inzake de samenvoeging van gemeenten

Een gevalstudie over het arrondissement Leuven

Authors Mark Deweerdt

    The administrative map of Belgium was fundamentally altered in 1975, when mergers reduced the number of municipalities from 2359 to 589. This article deals with the mergers of municipalities in the district of Leuven, and in particular with the share the municipalities themselves had in the decision-making process.Although there was a formal possibility of participating in the decision-making process the dissatisfaction has not decreased in comparison with earlier protests against the originally planned mergers. This appears to be logically linked to the scarce results of the municipal advices: only in 4.08 % of the cases the merger was adapted according to the wishes of the municipalities themselves. The lack of coordination among the various advices is certainly one of the reasons of this development, but nevertheless the question remains to what extent gerrymandering and compromises among political parties played a decisive role in the decision-making.

Mark Deweerdt

    It is sometimes assumed that federal States are a novelty introduced at the end of the 18th century in America. The word «federal» is indeed a recent invention but since antiquity politica! structures have existed in Europe having characteristics which may be qualified as federal or confederal.Originally the only power given to the «supra-national institutions» was common defence, but later other powers were added such as external relations, money, federal taxation, direct applicability of federal decisions, common nationality. A bicameral parliament was not introduced until the United Provinces of the Netherlands, but a federal chamber and executif were in existence since the early greek federations. In somecases, there even was what may be called a supreme court.

Stefan Schepers

    Nowadays, in Belgium, a majority of acts of Parliament are no longer automatically applied but have to be completed by orders in council. In fact, a number of laws may remain without effect for a certain time, theexecutive power, in charge of the implementation of laws, having not prepared the drafts in acceptable delay. This phenomenon seems to arise from today's crisis in the relations between Parliament and government, which arrogates to itself the right to keep at bay the legislator's work and opposes a real veto. The suppression of the phenomenon actually appears to be difficult although the members of Parliament have at times been aware of the inertness of the executive power.An award of the Supreme Court, in Belgium, dated 23 April 1971, has nevertheless penalized the failure and accepted the principle of government's responsibility due to the abstention to regulate.

Philippe Quertainmont

Access_open Un modèle institutionnel déficient

la communauté européenne

Authors Daniel Norrenberg

    Starting from the seven repulses met with the political union, the author describes the main european institutions and underlines their weaknesses. Awaiting the political union for 1980 he suggests immediate institutional improvements for a better and a more democratie working of the community, actually a rather intergovernmental cooperation: the right for the Parliament to control the use of the own resources since 1975 of the european community and the necessity of a direct election of their members; the nomination in each state of a full occupied minister for european affairs charged with the different problems and assuming a link between the national and european government; the revalorization of the aims of the economie and social committee; a larger application of article 235 of the treaty as it was the case recently for the educational cooperation.

Daniel Norrenberg

    This paper tries to provide a reading of vie american political culture and party-system in the light of Rokkan's center vs periphery perspective. Governor Carter's election as the democratic party nominee is the starting point of an analysis based on a theory of political cleavages and integration of conflicts.

Daniel L. Seiler

    The article attempts to define the change; explores the reasons behind the resistance to change; to analyse the typology, the advantages and disadvantages of comprehensive and partial changes, and the methodologies of its enforcement. Moreover, it shows that the state bureaucracy almost in all societies enjoys a leading role in planning, supervision, coordination and even in the execution of developmental change processes. It tresspasses all existing institutions, groups and individuals in power, organization, legal and financial weapons, freedom of choices and maneuverability. In searching for a convenient methodology of change in the developing societies; the article stresses that since these societies entirely differ in their material and human resources; politica! stability; standards ofhealth and education; and above all in their mentality and emotional reactions, the determination of whichever change - immediate or incremental - to be followed, would certainly be out of question.However, incremental partial change may seem to be more practicable in the majority of these states.

Fakhri J. Al-Salman

Access_open Henri de Man et le néo-socialisme belge

Authors Michel Brelaz

    It is questioned whether Belgian planism of the 1930's has been a movement that broke with socialist internationalism and displayed a tendency to preempt fascism by emulating some of its positions, asS.P. Kramer argued in the previous issue of Res Publica. Unlike French neo-socialism, planism was a call to action within the party against the crisis. Whether it was merely a personalities' matter is doubtful. Byindividualizing its failure one leaves unsolved essential problems like the attraction of fascism for the masses and the real spread of the planist idea. Socialisme nationaI was a bow to the circumstances, not to the fascist spirit. The breach in socialist internationalism did not result from a deliberate political wilt but was rather forced upon it by the breakdown of collective security. As for internal policy de Man suggested an unequivocal partnership favouring structural reforms. His failure cannot be dissociated from the failure of democracy and socialism. He eventually blunderel against his own ethics by admitting the destructive revolutionary potentiality of the 1940 defeat. Nevertheless Belgian planism can only be understood along with its historical connections.

Michel Brelaz

Editor Publica