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Issue 4, 2003 Expand all abstracts
Article

Politiek als One-Man-Show

Over de rol van kranten in de personalisering van de politiek

Authors Peter Van Aelst and Kristel Van Mierlo
Abstract

    There seems a growing consensus on the personalisation of politics, meaning that not parties but more and more individual politicians have become the central actors in politics. The media, and especially television, are given a prominent role in this tendency towards 'candidate centred politics'. In this article we discuss the role of newspapers in this regard. Is there a more personalised and less party political way of reporting in the written press? On the basis of a longitudinal study (1958-1999) of two Flemish newspapers we found only a modest and gradual tendency towards a personalisation of politics. Political parties have not been removed to the backstage of political reporting and remain a dominant player in the written press.


Peter Van Aelst

Kristel Van Mierlo
Article

Tevredenheid over het lokaal beleid in Gent

Authors Carl Devos, Herwig Reynaert and Dries Verlet
Abstract

    According to the new public management, the interaction between (local) governments and their citizens should be "client oriented". It is considered crucial for (local) policy-makers that they know how citizens perceive the policy process, that they know if citizens are satisfied with policy outcomes. Our empirical study deals with the satisfaction with global local policy. We examine the main determinants of satisfaction with global local policy. This study is based on a face-to-face survey among citizens entitled to vote in Ghent. More than 1500 respondents, spread over 2 surveys, took part in our research. Attention is also paid to the satisfaction with more specific aspects of local policy. We linked the voter's satisfaction with the global local policy to a wide range of traditional and less traditional independent variables. Finally, we discuss the satisfaction of the electorate of the different political parties.


Carl Devos

Herwig Reynaert

Dries Verlet

    A significant international literature has shown that political fragmentation the existence of multiple parties in a governing body - affects policy-making. Indeed, an increase in the number of parties increases the number of viewpoints considered, but on the other hand may also lead to a decrease in government flexibility. This paper first of all shows that Flemish municipalities often have fragmented governments as measured by the number of parties represented in the municipal council and the College of Mayor and Alderman. We also show that this fragmentation at the local level affects policy-making, though not necessarily in the same directions found in the international literature.


Benny Geys
Article

Het Europa van de opportunities

Analyse van de overlevingsstrategie van de christen-democraten in de Europese Unie

Authors Steven Van Hecke
Abstract

    While Christian Democratic parties in several Western European countries are often said to be in crisis, the European People's Party holds the largest parliamentary group in the European Parliament since 1999. This paradox relies on the specificity of the different 'national' electoral logics on the one hand and the realisation of a long-term 'European' majority strategy on the other hand. The alliance with Conservatives and Conservative parties has to overcome an absolute electoral decline in 'old' EU countries and a relative decline through the accession of 'new' member states without Christian Democratic parties. The EPP majority strategy is realised through various ways: the key position of the transnational party and party group, the role of political leadership, the way of decision making, the co-operation with side-organisations, the problem-solving of ideological conflicts, etc. Our analysis proves how the majority strategy of the European Christian Democrats realises its ultimate 'survival strategy' despite (or thanks to) several nationalparty crises.


Steven Van Hecke
Article

Lobbying in de Europese Unie

Is er nog toekomst voor nationale belangengroepen?

Authors Pieter Bouwen
Abstract

    This article studies the lobbying strategies of national business associations against the background of increasing Europeanization. It addresses the question whether national associations have withered away during the process of European integration. On the basis of neo-functionalist integration theory and the multi-level governance (MLG) perspective, a number of hypotheses are generated about the fate of national associations in the European integration process. An extensive empirica[ study of the EU financial services sector analyzes these hypotheses. The data show that European financial integration has not caused the withering away of national business associations as predicted by neofunctionalist theory. The data not only confirm the MLG hypothesis that national associations develop direct lobbying strategies at different levels of the EU multi-level system in order to gain access to the European decision-making process. In addition, the results also confirm the hypothesis that national associations undertake indirect lobbying strategies (through membership in European associations) with the aim of gaining institutional access. Finally, the degree to which national associations gain access to the European institutions is explained in terms of a theory of supply and demand for access goods.


Pieter Bouwen