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Research Note

Caretaker Cabinets in Belgium

A New Measurement and Typology

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2021
Keywords caretaker government, Belgium, cabinets, political crisis
Authors Régis Dandoy and Lorenzo Terrière
AbstractAuthor's information

    Belgium is probably the world’s best known case of where caretaker governments reside. Yet a clear scholarly definition and measurement of this concept is missing. Based on a detailed analysis of the Belgian federal cabinets, this research note explores the main characteristics and measures the length of the various caretaker periods. We find that Belgium was governed for no less than 1,485 days by a caretaker government between 2007 and 2020, which equals more than four full calendar years. This research note also presents a novel typology of caretaker periods based on the institutional and political practice within the Belgian legislative and executive branches. This typology can be used to assess caretaker periods at other levels of government as well as in other countries in order to improve our understanding of the many ‘faces’ that a caretaker government can take on.


Régis Dandoy
Régis Dandoy is professor in political science at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador and visiting research fellow and guest lecturer at the University of Brussels, Belgium. His main research interests include comparative politics, federalism, voting behaviour, election results, electronic and internet voting and election observation.

Lorenzo Terrière
Lorenzo Terrière is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at Ghent University. His doctoral research is focused on how (regionalist) parties deal with the strategic issue of government participation.
Article

Het electorale succes van etnische minderheden in Brussel: de rol van kiezers en partijen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2017
Keywords Brussels, electoral system, ethnic minorities, political representation
Authors Chloé Janssen, Régis Dandoy and Silvia Erzeel
AbstractAuthor's information

    European democracies have grown ethnically diverse in the recent years. Yet, ethnic minorities remain underrepresented in politics. Despite the theoretical argument asserting that ethnic minorities should perform better in systems allowing voters to cast intra party preferences, empirical studies bring mixed results. In particular, scholars highlight the role of both parties and voters in explaining the electoral success or failure of ethnic minority candidates. Using data on regional elections between 1995 and 2014 in Brussels, our study shows that even though parties have made gradual efforts to include ethnic minorities on their lists, voters appear to be an important force behind the election of ethnic minorities. We find variations according to party ideology, with socialist and – to a lesser extent – Christian democratic candidates benefiting the most from preferential voting. However, the positive impact of preference votes seems to decrease over time, as parties themselves become more inclusive and tend to allocate more realistic positions to their ethnic minority candidates in recent elections.


Chloé Janssen
Chloé Janssen is als doctoraal onderzoekster verbonden aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Daarvoor werkte ze als FNRS research fellow aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Haar onderzoek handelt over de politieke vertegenwoordiging van etnische minderheden en vrouwen, en focust in het bijzonder op het effect van het kiessysteem en de rol van politieke partijen.

Régis Dandoy
Régis Dandoy is docent aan de Waseda University (Tokio, Japan) en gastdocent aan de Université catholique de Louvain. Zijn belangrijkste onderzoeksinteresses zijn Belgische politiek, vergelijkend federalisme, regionale politiek en party manifestos. Hij publiceerde hierover in internationale tijdschriften en is tevens coredacteur van verschillende boeken over Belgische politiek.

Silvia Erzeel
Silvia Erzeel doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek en recente publicaties spitsen zich toe op gender en politieke vertegenwoordiging, rechts populisme, intersectionaliteit in politieke partijen, en economische ongelijkheid. Haar onderzoek is vaak vergelijkend, met een geografische focus op West-Europa.

    D'après le Code civil, et ce dè s son origine, la séparation du couple marié peut donner lieu à une obligation légale de payer au conjoint, ou à l'ancien conjoint, une pension censée couvrir ses besoins. En dehors du mariage, point de lien alimentaire prévu par la loi. Depuis 1804, deux évolutions sociales majeures ont cependant changé le visage de la vie de couple. D'un côté, elle ne passe plus nécessairement par le mariage. D'un autre côté, seule sa dimension affective est censée lui donner sens, ce qui la rend éminemment fragile. La question se pose dè s lors de savoir si le lien alimentaire qui existe actuellement en droit belge entre conjoints désunis répond encore de maniè re adéquate et pertinente aux modes de fonctionnement de l'économie conjugale.
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    According to the Civil code, and in view of its development, the separation of a married couple can give rise to a legal obligation to pay maintenance to the other spouse, or ex-spouse, in order to cover his or her needs. In contrast, outside marriage, no statutory maintenance is available. However, since 1804, two major social evolutions have changed the way of life of couples. On the one hand, maintenance no longer flows inevitably from marriage. On the other hand, only the ‘love’ dimension of a relationship supports the provision of maintenance, which makes this claim eminently fragile.
    The question then arises as to whether the maintenance between separated spouses which is presently provided for under Belgian law still adequately and appropriately serves the functioning of the conjugal economy.
    In addition, the absence of maintenance rights for unmarried couples also raises questions. The contribution proposes a reconsideration of the right to maintenance between all couples, married or not, on the basis of other justifications, in particular the solidarity which couples establish during their shared lives.


Dr. Nathalie Dandoy
Nathalie Dandoy is lecturer at the catholic University of Louvain. She is member of the research centre of Family Law (Cefap-UCL). Her main research area concerns the maintenance rights between family members. She is member of editorial committee of Revue trimestrielle de droit familial and Journal des Juges de paix et de police.
Article

Kandidaatkeuze in advertenties

Wat bepaalt wie aandacht krijgt?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2010
Keywords election campaigns, advertisements, agenda setting, content analysis
Authors Jonas Lefevere and Régis Dandoy
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the run up to the elections, parties have several ways of communicating with voters. In the current paper, we focus on one piece of the puzzle: advertisements of political parties in the mass media. More specifically, we are interested in the choice of candidates within these ads. In countries where parties are the dominant actor, they are faced with a choice: not all candidates can be promoted in the campaign, as this would be too costly and inefficient. Thus, the first question we want to answer is what factors determine candidate choice in political ads? Secondly, does candidate choice in political ads have an effect on the subsequent coverage in media as well? Agenda setting research has shown that as far as issues are concerned, ads do set the media agenda. We investigate whether this also holds for candidate choice. The results indicate that both internal party hierarchy, as well as external visibility of candidates determines candidate choice in political ads. Furthermore, the agenda setting effect of political ads is confirmed as well.


Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere (1981) is doctoraatsstudent en lid van de onderzoeksgroep Media, Middenveld en Politiek (M2P) aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Zijn voornaamste onderzoeksinteresses zijn verkiezingscampagnes en hun effecten, en onderzoek naar publieke opinie.

Régis Dandoy
Régis Dandoy (1977) is onderzoeker aan de Université Libre de Bruxelles. Zijn voornaamste onderzoeksinteresses zijn Belgische en Europese politiek, agenda setting en federalisme.
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