Search result: 16 articles

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Research Note

Campaigning Online and Offline: Different Ballgames?

Presidentialization, Issue Attention and Negativity in Parties’ Facebook and Newspaper Ads in the 2019 Belgian General Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords political advertising, Belgium, social media, newspapers, campaign
Authors Jonas Lefevere, Peter Van Aelst and Jeroen Peeters
AbstractAuthor's information

    This Research Note investigates party advertising in newspapers and on social media (Facebook) during the 2019 general elections in Flanders, the largest region of Belgium. The 2019 elections saw a marked increase in the use of social media advertising by parties, whereas newspaper advertising saw a decline. Prior research that compares multiple types of advertising, particularly advertising on social and legacy media remains limited. As such, based on a quantitative content analysis we investigate not just the prevalence of party advertising on both types of media, but also compare the level of negativity, presidentialisation, and issue emphasis. Our analysis reveals substantial differences: we find that not only the type of advertisements varies across the platforms, but also that social media ads tend to be more negative. Finally, parties’ issue emphasis varies substantially as well, with different issues being emphasized in newspaper and Facebook advertisements.


Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is research professor of political communication at the institute for European Studies (VUB) and assistant professor at Vesalius College, Brussels.

Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is a research professor at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp.

Jeroen Peeters
Jeroen Peeters is a PhD student at the department of political science at the University of Antwerp.
Article

Emotions and Vote Choice

An Analysis of the 2019 Belgian Elections

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Belgium, elections, emotions, voting behaviour
Authors Caroline Close and Emilie van Haute
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article digs into the relationship between voters’ political resentment and their electoral choice in 2019 by focusing on the respondents’ emotions towards politics. Using the RepResent 2019 voter survey, eight emotions are analysed in their relation to voting behaviour: four negative (anger, bitterness, worry and fear) and four positive (hope, relief, joy and satisfaction). We confirm that voters’ emotional register is at least two-dimensional, with one positive and one negative dimension, opening the possibility for different combinations of emotions towards politics. We also find different emotional patterns across party choices, and more crucially, we uncover a significant effect of emotions (especially negative ones) on vote choice, even when controlling for other determinants. Finally, we look at the effect of election results on emotions and we observe a potential winner vs. loser effect with distinctive dynamics in Flanders and in Wallonia.


Caroline Close
Caroline Close is Assistant Professor at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Charleroi campus). Her research and teaching interests include party politics, representation and political participation from a comparative perspective. She has published her work in Party Politics, Political Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, The Journal of Legislative Studies, Representation, Acta Politica and the Journal of European Integration. She regularly contributes to research and publications on Belgian politics.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is Chair of the Department of Political Science at the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and researcher at the Centre d’étude de la vie politique (Cevipol). Her research interests focus on party membership, intra-party dynamics, elections, and voting behaviour. Her research has appeared in West European Politics, Party Politics, Electoral Studies, Political Studies, European Political Science and Acta Politica. She is co-editor of Acta Politica.
Research Note

Caretaker Cabinets in Belgium: A New Measurement and Typology

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue Online First 2020
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
Université Libre de Bruxelles

Lorenzo Terrière
Universiteit Gent
Article

Between Party Democracy and Citizen Democracy

Explaining Attitudes of Flemish Local Chairs Towards Democratic Innovations

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords democratic innovations, citizen participation, local politics, Flanders, Belgium
Authors Didier Caluwaerts, Anna Kern, Min Reuchamps e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As a response to the perceived legitimacy crisis that threatens modern democracies, local government has increasingly become a laboratory for democratic renewal and citizen participation. This article studies whether and why local party chairs support democratic innovations fostering more citizen participation. More specifically, we analyse the relative weight of ideas, interests and institutions in explaining their support for citizen-centred democracy. Based on the Belgian Local Chairs Survey in 2018 (albeit restricting our analysis to Flanders), the central finding is that ideas matter more than interests and institutions. Ideology is alive and kicking with regard to democratic innovation, with socialist and ecologist parties and populist parties being most supportive of participatory arrangements. By contrast, interests and institutions play, at this stage, a minor role in explaining support for participatory innovations.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research and teaching deal with Belgian and comparative politics and democratic governance in deeply divided societies. His work has been published in various journals, including European Political Science Review, West European Politics, the Journal of Legislative Studies and Acta Politica.

Anna Kern
Anna Kern is Assistant Professor at research group GASPAR at the Department of Political Science of Ghent University. Her main research interests include political participation, political equality and political legitimacy. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as West European Politics, Local Government Studies, Social Science Research and Political Behavior.

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is Professor of Political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multilevel governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and, in particular, the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences of Ghent University. He is a member of the Centre for Local Politics (CLP) and coordinator of the Teacher Training Department. His research, publications and educational activities focus on elections and democratic participation/innovation, citizenship (education), (the history of) political institutions and (local) government reform, political elites and leadership.
Article

Like Mother, Like Daughter?

Linkage Between Local Branches and Their National Party Headquarters in Belgium

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2020
Keywords local branches, national party headquarters, linkage, integration, multilevel parties
Authors Kristof Steyvers
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article scrutinises local-national linkage in Belgium to better understand territorial power relations in multilevel parties. Drawing on a survey of local chairs of national parties, it adopts an innovative, informal and bottom-up approach. The descriptive analysis reveals two central axes in the morphology of linkage: scope (downward support and upward influence) and surplus (benefits versus costs). However, (the valuation of) this interdependence appears as a matter of degree. The explanatory analysis therefore probes into the effect of macro- (between environments), meso- (between parties) and micro- (within parties) level factors. It demonstrates that variance is explained by different parameters. For scope, differences between parties trump those within them. For surplus, specific differences between parties as well as within them matter. The answer to our guiding question is therefore variegated: it depends on for what and for whom.


Kristof Steyvers
Kristof Steyvers is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science of Ghent University (Belgium). His research is conducted in the Centre for Local Politics, where he focuses on topics such as local political leadership, parties and elections at the local level, local government in multilevel governance and local government reforms (often from a comparative perspective).
Article

Still Consociational? Belgian Democracy, 50 Years After ‘The Politics of Accommodation’

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 1 2020
Keywords Belgium, consociational democracy, Lijphart, federalism, ethnolinguistic conflict
Authors Didier Caluwaerts and Min Reuchamps
AbstractAuthor's information

    Despite the enduring importance of Lijphart’s work for understanding democracy in Belgium, the consociational model has come under increasing threat. Owing to deep political crises, decreasing levels of trust in elites, increasing levels of ethnic outbidding and rising demands for democratic reform, it seems as if Lijphart’s model is under siege. Even though the consociational solution proved to be very capable of transforming conflict into cooperation in Belgian politics in the past, the question we raise in this article is whether and to what extent the ‘politics of accommodation’ is still applicable to Belgian democracy. Based on an in-depth analysis of the four institutional (grand coalition, proportionality, mutual veto rights and segmental autonomy) and one cultural (public passivity) criteria, we argue that consociational democracy’s very nature and institutional set-up has largely hollowed out its potential for future conflict management.


Didier Caluwaerts
Didier Caluwaerts is professor of political science at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. His research deals with democratic governance and innovation in deeply divided societies. With Min Reuchamps, he has recently published “The Legitimacy of Citizen-led Deliberative Democracy: The G1000 in Belgium” (Routledge, 2018).

Min Reuchamps
Min Reuchamps is professor of political science at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCLouvain). His teaching and research interests are federalism and multi-level governance, democracy and its different dimensions, relations between language(s) and politics and in particular the role of metaphors, as well as participatory and deliberative methods.
Article

Fiscal Consolidation in Federal Belgium

Collective Action Problem and Solutions

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 2 2019
Keywords fiscal consolidation, fiscal policy, federalism, intergovernmental relations, High Council of Finance
Authors Johanna Schnabel
AbstractAuthor's information

    Fiscal consolidation confronts federal states with a collective action problem, especially in federations with a tightly coupled fiscal regime such as Belgium. However, the Belgian federation has successfully solved this collective action problem even though it lacks the political institutions that the literature on dynamic federalism has identified as the main mechanisms through which federal states achieve cooperation across levels of government. This article argues that the regionalization of the party system, on the one hand, and the rationalization of the deficit problem by the High Council of Finance, on the other, are crucial to understand how Belgium was able to solve the collective action problem despite its tightly coupled fiscal regime and particularly high levels of deficits and debts. The article thus emphasizes the importance of compromise and consensus in reducing deficits and debts in federal states.


Johanna Schnabel
School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent, Rutherford College, Canterbury CT2 7NX, United Kingdom.

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.

Eline Severs
Eline Severs doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Haar onderzoek concentreert zich voornamelijk op vraagstukken van democratische vertegenwoordiging, de betekenis van legitimiteit, en democratische inclusie. Recent redigeerde ze, samen met Suzanne Dovi (University of Arizona), een symposium over de ethiek van vertegenwoordigers in PS: Political Science and Politics (2018, forthcoming).
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.
Article

Domineren Brussel en Den Haag ook de Dorpsstraat?

Nationale en lokale determinanten van het succes van nationale partijen bij de Nederlandse en Vlaamse gemeenteraadsverkiezingen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2017
Keywords second-order elections, municipal elections, local politics
Authors Sofie Hennau, Ramon van der Does and Johan Ackaert
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article investigates to what extent national and/or local factors influence the performance of national parties in the most recent Flemish and Dutch municipal elections of, respectively, 2012 and 2014.
    Our analyses underscore the impact of local factors on the municipal election results, both in Flanders and in the Netherlands. The number of parties and previous election results have a negative effect on the vote share of national political parties. Contrary to the expectations, participation in local government does not have any influence on the national lists’ elections results.
    Although local factors have to be taken into account to get a better estimation of the performance of national lists in municipal elections, national factors have significant effects as well. Parties doing well at the national elections, are less successful at the local level.


Sofie Hennau
Sofie Hennau is postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de faculteit Rechten van de UHasselt. Zij doet onderzoek naar lokale institutionele hervormingen en lokale politiek.

Ramon van der Does
Ramon van der Does is werkzaam als onderwijs- en onderzoeksassistent aan de Universiteit Leiden. Ook doet hij zelfstandig onderzoek naar deliberatie, politieke participatie en lokale verkiezingen.

Johan Ackaert
Johan Ackaert is hoogleraar en decaan van de faculteit Rechten van de UHasselt. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op lokaal beleid en lokale politiek.
Article

Van Volksunie (VU) naar Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA)

Een analyse van de ideologische opvattingen van hun partijleden

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2016
Keywords regionalist parties, party ideology, elections, party members, Belgium
Authors Bram Wauters and Nicolas Bouteca
AbstractAuthor's information

    The electoral rise of the Belgian regionalist party New-Flemish Alliance (N-VA) from scratch to the country’s largest party is remarkable. We explore here to what extent the party has shifted in ideological terms compared to its less successful predecessor VU. We make use of party member survey data (a dynamic indicator of a party’s position). We distinguish three factors that impact on parties’ positions: institutional reforms, the influx of new members and changes in the internal power distribution. The results show a clear change: on each of the five policy dimensions (centre-periphery, socio-economic, moral-ethical, post-materialist and migration issues), significant differences could be found.


Bram Wauters
Bram Wauters is professor aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent. Hij is hoofd van de Ghent Association for the Study of Parties and Representation (GASPAR).

Nicolas Bouteca
Nicolas Bouteca is professor aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de UGent en lid van de Ghent Association for the Study of Parties and Representation (GASPAR). Hij publiceerde eerder over ideologie, politieke partijen, electorale competitie en het Belgisch federalisme.
Article

Het primacy-effect in proportionele systemen gewikt en gewogen

De casus van de Antwerpse districtsverkiezingen 2012

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2015
Keywords preferential voting, political candidates, primacy effect, media, campaigns
Authors Patrick van Erkel and Peter Thijssen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Previous research shows that the position on the ballot list strongly influences the electoral success of candidates. However, the underlying mechanisms of this effect remain unclear. The list position can have a direct influence through a so-called primacy effect, parties may anticipate on the success of candidates, or the effect can be mediated by factors such as media attention and campaign intensity. Using data from the Antwerp district elections in 2012, this paper disentangles these mechanisms. Our study confirms the direct ballot list position effect, providing evidence for the existence of a primacy effect. However, we find that part of the ballot list position effect is mediated by media attention, especially for the first candidate on the list. Campaign intensity also influences the electoral success of candidates, but does not mediate the list position effect. Finally, we find no evidence that parties successfully anticipate on the electoral success of candidates.


Patrick van Erkel
Patrick van Erkel is medewerker en doctoraatsstudent aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen. Tevens is hij lid van de onderzoeksgroep Media, Middenveld en Politiek (M2P). Zijn doctoraat richt zich op het verklaren van electoraal succes van individuele kandidaten.

Peter Thijssen
Peter Thijssen is hoofddocent aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Uni versiteit Antwerpen. Hij is lid van de onderzoeksgroep Media, Middenveld en Politiek (M2P). Zijn onderzoek spitst zich toe op de wisselwerking tussen publieke opinie en politieke participatie.

    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.
    ---
    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

Current Developments in the National Laws of Maintenance

A Comparative Analysis

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2012
Keywords child maintenance, maintenance after divorce, calculation of maintenance, enforcement of maintenance claims, social security benefits
Authors Dieter Martiny
AbstractAuthor's information

    Maintenance law in European jurisdictions is in a state of constant transformation. Recent reforms, however, show some areas of major concern. In child maintenance law, particularly joint custody of the parents and an alternating residence of the child make the need for a better calculation of maintenance more apparent. The use of guidelines with tables and formulas is on the rise. In maintenance after divorce, the growing influence of the principle of self-sufficiency is leading to reductions of the maintenance payments made to former spouses. Enforcement of maintenance claims, the role of the State and the relationship with social security benefits remain difficult.


Dieter Martiny
Professor emeritus, European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder)/Hamburg. A shorter version was presented at the Annual Conference on European Family Law of the Academy of European Law in Trier, 30 September 2011.
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.

Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst (1974) is verbonden aan het Instituut Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Leiden. Zijn onderwijs en onderzoek situeert zich in het domein van de politieke communicatie en de politieke psychologie.
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