DOI: 10.5553/RP/048647001976018003315

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La formation du grand Tournai

Analyse de la décision

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Théo Verheyden, "La formation du grand Tournai", Res Publica, 3-4, (1976):315-335

    Tournai is a town of intermediate dimensions (32,890 inhabitants) with a regional vocation; since a few years it has had to face serious budgetary problems. These are primarily due to a relative absence of resources as opposed to a constant growth of the financial burdens, actually stemming from this regional vocation. Therefore, the intention to start from the existing entity and to create a larger entity which ought to be financially viable, is quite right. In this respect, the governmental merger plan aims at reassembling Tournai - as the core of the mergers - with the neighbouring communes that actually are the town's suburbs, and with the recently created industrial areas. Moreover, merging Tournai with the rural communes serving as abuffer between Tournai and the French border, the new (enlarged) entity will directly touch the "urban community" Lille - a major pole of attraction from the economic and commercial as well as from the cultural point of view. A particular care to keep an equilibrium among rural and urban population accounts for the absorption of several communes that are rather distant and have no direct links with Tournai. Finally, there has been an underlying concern to ensure that in the new entity the christian-democratic and the socialist party would have an almost equal weight and the (federalist party) Walloon Gathering would have a chance to break through; this seems to explain the fact that (1) Antoing and its peripheral communes, having a socialist majority, have been kept out of the merging operation, (2) one has on the contrary merged several rural communes with a clear christian-democratic tendency, and (3) the government eventually decided to realize a maximum merger (30 communes; 21,373 ha) which is supposed to electorally favour the Wallon Gathering.

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