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Article

Democratische politiek: ‘minder, minder, minder’ of anders?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2017
Authors Frank Hendriks, Koen van der Krieken and Sabine van Zuydam
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article looks at indications and counterindications in Dutch democracy for the popular claim that citizens, while still valuing representative democracy, are fed up with representative politics. Using available large-scale surveys, citizen attitudes are analysed at the levels of specific political actors (politicians, officials), central political institutions (political parties, parliament, government) and the general system of representative democratic politics (the way it works in the Netherlands, with multiparty coalitions, etc). While specific legitimacy problems exist, the evidence for a general legitimacy crisis in Dutch democracy is comparatively weak and highly mixed. More specifically, the evidence suggests that Dutch citizens do not so much want less representative politics, but rather representative politics of a somewhat different kind: less exclusively organized via party-political channels; more geared at recognizable and accountable political authority. Dutch citizens want to seriously influence but not supplant selectionistic representative politics, the evidence suggests.


Frank Hendriks
Frank Hendriks is als hoogleraar comparative governance verbonden aan Tilburg University. Hij is gespecialiseerd in de vergelijkende analyse van democratische modellen en hervormingen. Hierover publiceerde hij onder meer Vital Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2010) en, meer toegespitst op Nederland, Democratie onder druk (Van Gennep, 2012).

Koen van der Krieken
Koen van der Krieken is als promovendus en onderzoeker verbonden aan Tilburg School of Governance (TSG). Hij werkt aan een dissertatie over het lokale referendum in Nederland. In 2015 schreef hij, in opdracht van het Ministerie van BZK, een rapport over heden, verleden en toekomst van de lokale referendumpraktijk in Nederland.

Sabine van Zuydam
Sabine van Zuydam is onderzoeker bij Tilburg School of Governance (TSG). In haar proefschrift onderzoekt zij wat lijsttrekkers in verkiezingen, ministers en fractieleiders geloofwaardig maakt in de ogen van burgers. Ze deed mede-onderzoek naar het Nederlandse burgemeestersambt, de vermaatschappelijking van overheidstaken en de rol van de raad bij controversiële besluitvorming.
Article

Aan de knoppen maar uit de pas?

Euroscepsis en euro-enthousiasme onder Nederlandse ambtenaren

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2016
Keywords Euroscepticism, representative bureaucracy, civil service, public opinion, the Netherlands, public administration
Authors Caspar van den Berg, Sebastiaan Princen and Ellen Mastenbroek
AbstractAuthor's information

    National officials play an important role in all phases of the EU policy process and are often assumed to be more euro-enthusiastic than other citizens. Yet, thus far systematic knowledge on their views on EU integration is lacking. This study fills this gap through recently collected survey data among Dutch officials (N = 3509). We find first that at least for officials, hard and soft euroscepticism are no gradations on the same scale, but separate dimensions. Second, both sociological and rational choice institutionalism help explain bureaucratic euroscepticism, where the latter seems to have a somewhat stronger explanatory power. Third, officials are on average indeed more euro-enthusiastic than other citizens. However, (a) relatively fewer officials are strongly euro-enthusiastic compared to the general population; (b) the total share of eurosceptics among officials is practically the same as the general population, and (c) significantly more officials report to be ‘strongly eurosceptic’ than among the wider population.


Caspar van den Berg
Caspar van den Berg is universitair hoofddocent aan het Instituut Bestuurskunde van de Universiteit Leiden.

Sebastiaan Princen
Sebastiaan Princen is hoogleraar bestuur en beleid in de Europese Unie aan het Departement Bestuurs- en Organisatiewetenschap van de Universiteit Utrecht.

Ellen Mastenbroek
Ellen Mastenbroek is hoogleraar European Public Policy aan de Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit.
Article

De invloed van verkiezingen op politiek vertrouwen

Een analyse van een verkiezingspanel in België, 2009-2014

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2016
Keywords procedural fairness theory, political trust, internal political efficacy, elections, Belgium
Authors Dieter Stiers and Marc Hooghe
AbstractAuthor's information

    Elections are routinely investigated with a focus on the way in which winners or losers of the elections are different in their attitudes towards the political system. There is no previous research on the general impact of participation in the electoral process on support for the political system. In this study, we hypothesize – based on the procedural fairness theory – that participating in elections raises the voter’s political trust, irrespective of the result of the party s/he voted for. Furthermore, we expect this impact to be largest for voters with the lowest level of internal political efficacy. These expectations are investigated using the Belgian election panel (2009-2014) study, observing political trust before and after the elections in two consecutive electoral cycles. The results provide support for all proposed hypotheses, highlighting the importance of general participation in elections for democratic legitimacy.


Dieter Stiers
Dieter Stiers is FWO-aspirant verbonden aan het Centre for Citizenship and Democracy van de KU Leuven. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op verkiezingsgedrag en in het bijzonder op de oorzaken en gevolgen van electorale volatiliteit.

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is gewoon hoogleraar politieke wetenschappen aan het Centrum voor Politicologisch Onderzoek van de KU Leuven. Hij is houder van een ERC Advanced Grant.
Article

Angels gedoopt in honing: politieke tekeningen en hun betekenis

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2015
Keywords political cartoons, visual (mis)communication, psychological defense mechanism, Dutch politics
Authors Joop van Holsteyn
AbstractAuthor's information

    Over the years, political cartoons have triggered debate and fierce and violent reactions. Apparently, cartoonists are able to get their critical, ‘negative’ message across both to the political elite and the general public at large. This line of reasoning, however, assumes that the communication between cartoonists and their mass public is successful, i.e., that the message that the cartoonist intends to send is correctly interpreted and received as intended. This is not obvious, since the decoding of the encrypted message of a cartoon is a complicated process that can easily go wrong, as the scarce research on the topic suggests. This study explores the idea that cartoons are correctly understood on the basis of a unique large scale survey in which over 24,000 respondents were asked via multiple-choice questions to identify the original, intended message of 11 cartoons of two Dutch cartoonists. The results show that overall it is extremely hard to correctly understand the meaning of cartoons. Moreover, among the few factors that help explain the difference in the capability to correctly understand cartoons, political preference is prominent and intriguing. People tend to ascribe a meaning to cartoons/cartoonists that fits their own political stand, and this suggests that psychological mechanisms are at work that may explain that more often than not the communication between the cartoonist and his public should likely be labelled miscommunication.


Joop van Holsteyn
Joop van Holsteyn is neerlandicus en politicoloog en is verbonden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden. In zijn onderzoek houdt hij zich onder meer bezig met verkiezingen en kiesgedrag, publieke opinie en opiniepeilingen, politieke partijen en partijlidmaatschap, en politieke tekeningen en hun betekenis.
Article

De impact van digitale campagnemiddelen op de personalisering van politieke partijen in Nederland (2010-2014)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2015
Keywords personalization, social media, election campaigns, party politics
Authors Kristof Jacobs and Niels Spierings
AbstractAuthor's information

    Politicians have started to use social media more often. As such media induce personal campaigning, one might expect more personalization to follow. We explore what type of personalization social media stimulate, whether this is different for Twitter and Facebook and analyze the role of parties. We make use of quantitative and qualitative data about the Netherlands (2010-2014). We find that while theoretically the impact of social media may be big, in practice it is fairly limited: more presidentialization but not more individualization (though Twitter might increase the focus on other candidates slightly). The difference between theory and practice seems largely due to the parties. They adopt a very ambiguous stance: though they often stimulate candidates to use social media, they want to keep control nonetheless.


Kristof Jacobs
Kristof Jacobs is als universitair docent verbonden aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn onderzoek richt zich op politieke partijen, sociale media, kiesstelsels en uitdagingen van de democratie.

Niels Spierings
Niels Spierings is universitair docent bij de Afdeling Sociologie aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Zijn specialismen zijn politieke en gendersociologie en onderzoeksmethoden. Thematisch focust hij op sociale media, politieke participatie en democratisering, genderongelijkheid, de politieke en economische positie van vrouwen, migratie, islam, en intersectionaliteit. Samen met Kristof Jacobs coördineert hij het project VIRAL (www.ru.nl/VIRAL).
Article

Juridische kwetsbaarheid en onderhandelingen in de Wereldhandelsorganisatie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2014
Keywords WTO, trade, legal vulnerability, Doha Round, judicialization
Authors Arlo Poletti and Dirk De Bièvre
AbstractAuthor's information

    In the current multilateral trade regime, members often negotiate under the shadow of WTO law. In this article, we develop an explanation of how the legal vulnerability of members’ domestic policies affects ongoing multilateral negotiations in the trade regime. First, we show that, contrary to conventional wisdom, increased enforcement does not necessarily make actors shy away from further cooperation. Legal vulnerability can ignite a positive dynamic of cooperation because it can increase the set of feasible agreements of WTO members. In a second stage, we set out how the nature of the issue at stake, i.e. whether it can be easily disaggregated into negotiable units, affects whether this positive dynamics of cooperation takes place. We illustrate the plausibility of the argument by way of four in-depth case studies of how potential (or actual) defendants and potential (or actual) complainants in WTO disputes responded to the incentives brought about by legal vulnerability and negotiated in the Doha round.


Arlo Poletti
Arlo Poletti geeft les aan de LUISS School of Government in Rome en is verbonden aan de onderzoeksgroep ACIM van het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij is de auteur van The European Union and Multilateral Trade Governance: The Politics of the Doha Round, London: Routledge.

Dirk De Bièvre
Dirk De Bièvre is professor internationale politiek en internationale politieke economie aan het departement politieke wetenschappen van de Universiteit Antwerpen en lid van de onderzoeksgroep ACIM. Zijn onderzoek concentreert zich op de Wereldhandelsorganisatie, de Europese handelspolitiek, en de invloed van belangengroepen.
Article

China en de bescherming van burgers in conflictsituaties

Opkomende macht zoekt rol

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2014
Keywords China, internal conflicts, non-interference, R2P, sovereignty, Africa
Authors Sara Van Hoeymissen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Contemporary violent conflicts are mostly internal in nature. The serious humanitarian consequences that they often cause belong in principle to the internal affairs of the sovereign state in which they occur. Since the 90s, however, the international community is playing an increasingly important role in addressing the humanitarian consequences of internal conflicts. What kind of a partner is the West, meeting in this field with China? From the perspective of identities and role conceptions, this article highlights the Chinese debate on the principle of non-interference in internal affairs. This decades old cornerstone of China’s foreign policy is under discussion as a result of China’s rise, which is raising expectations of a more active role of China, including conflict management. This article examines the changing self-images that lead to the search for a new Chinese role but also points to the enduring influence of older role conceptions. The empirical focus is on Africa, with examples from Chinese policy toward some recent african complex crises.


Sara Van Hoeymissen
Sara Van Hoeymissen is research fellow aan het “Peace, Leadership and Conflict Transformation” Programma van National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Haar onderzoek concentreert zich momenteel voornamelijk op de rol van opkomende machten inzake vrede en veiligheidskwesties in Afrika.
Article

Politieke preferenties, breuklijnen en houdingen ten opzichte van politieke partijen

Een studie bij kiezers in Vlaanderen en Wallonië

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2013
Keywords cleavages, political preferences, left-right, voting motives, propensity to vote
Authors Joris Boonen and Marc Hooghe
AbstractAuthor's information

    Within political science there is an ongoing discussion about the persistent or diminishing influence of social cleavages on voting behavior and the extent to which new voting motives have taken over the explanatory power of these predictors. We investigate the influence of religion, nationalism, ethical conservatism/progressivism and left-right orientations on the voters’ appreciation of political parties in Belgium. This method allows us to make a more qualified analysis on voting motives, in particular for smaller parties. We use data from the 2009 PartiRep election study, which show that traditional cleavages still have an important influence on political preferences. While the left-right-dimension has a limited influence on voting preferences in Flanders, it does play a major role in Wallonia. Contrary to expectations, the explanatory power of left-libertarian and right-authoritarian positions is rather weak, with one major exception: the preference for Vlaams Belang is almost entirely determined by ethnocentrism while this attitude is not relevant for other parties. In general, we find that both traditional and postmaterialist cleavages play a more important role in predicting party appreciations in Flanders than they do for French-speaking respondents.


Joris Boonen
Joris Boonen is doctoraatsstudent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de KU Leuven. Zijn onderzoek gaat over kiesgedrag en de transmissie van politieke voorkeuren.

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is gewoon hoogleraar politieke wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven en gastprofessor aan de Universiteit van Mannheim. Hij publiceert vooral over politieke participatie en politiek vertrouwen.
Article

Participeren jongeren anders?

Een contextspecifiek antwoord op basis van het Belgische Oosterweelreferendum

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2013
Keywords political participation, young, New Politics, referendum, context
Authors Peter Thijssen
AbstractAuthor's information

    According to the advocates of the New Politics thesis youngsters are generally less interested in general elections, but are rather attracted by citizen-initiated referendums that are inspired by ecological, elite-challenging and pro-social motives. However, other scholars contend that the age-related differences that characterize participation in general elections are more or less universal because what really matters is how much is at stake. Yet, maybe a middle ground can be found between both perspectives if one explicitly takes into account the conditional nature of the New Politics theoretical framework. Based on exit-poll data regarding participation and vote choice in a Belgian citizen-initiated referendum in three different local contexts we test these conditional hypotheses. Our findings reveal that consistent with the New Politics thesis youngsters participate more and prefer pro-ecology, elite-challenging, and pro-social issue-frames, but only in ‘low stakes-contexts’ where no NIMBY-interests are at play.


Peter Thijssen
Peter Thijssen is hoofddocent aan het Departement Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit 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.
Article

Leidt meer kennis over de Europese Unie tot een sterkere Europese identiteit?

Een vergelijkend onderzoek bij adolescenten in 21 lidstaten

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2012
Keywords European identity, European Union, ICCS 2009, political knowledge
Authors Soetkin Verhaegen, Marc Hooghe and Yves Dejaeghere
AbstractAuthor's information

    Strengthening European citizenship is often considered as a ‘cure’ for the democratic deficit and the lack of legitimacy of the European Union. The present article focuses on the identity component of European citizenship, which is a core component of European citizenship. We distinguish two possible ways to strengthen European identity: a cognitive one (more knowledge about the EU leads to a stronger identity) and a utilitarian one (living in a member state that benefits more from its EU-membership leads to a stronger European identity). We test both explanatory models using a multilevel analysis on the data of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study. 70,502 adolescents from 21 European member states were questioned in this study. Results indicate that knowledge about the EU only has a limited effect on European identity. The degree in which a member state contributes to the European budget does not seem to have an effect on the strength of European identity at all.


Soetkin Verhaegen
Soetkin Verhaegen is onderzoeker aan het Center for Citizenship and Democracy van de KULeuven. Zij is verbonden aan de Parent Child Socialization Study en bereidt een doctoraat voor over de ontwikkeling van Europese identiteit.

Marc Hooghe
Marc Hooghe is gewoon hoogleraar aan de KULeuven en visiting professor aan de Université Lille-II en de Universität Mannheim. Hij bekleedt dit jaar de Francqui-leerstoel aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

Yves Dejaeghere
Yves Dejaeghere is doctor in de politieke wetenschappen, verbonden aan het Center for Citizenship and Democracy van de KULeuven. Hij was medeverantwoordelijk voor de Belgian Political Panel Study (BPPS, 2006-2011).
Article

Because it is Normative, Stupid!

Over de rol van politieke theorie binnen de politicologie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2011
Keywords normative political theory, political science, methodology, Rawls
Authors Roland Pierik
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article presents a state-of-the-art description of political theory and analyses the role of political theory within the discipline of political science. It starts by describing two dominant approaches within the sub-discipline: conceptual political theory and normative political theory. Secondly, it situates political theory as separated from political science in general and from actual political debates. Thirdly, it analyses the role of methodology in normative political theory.
    I argue that the most important contribution of political theory to political science in general is its emphasis on the fact that politics is first and foremost a normative endeavor and that any political-scientific analysis should always be aware of this normative character.


Roland Pierik
Roland Pierik (1966) is universitair hoofddocent rechtstheorie en politieke theorie aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam. Hij publiceert vooral over hedendaagse analytische politieke filosofie en rechtstheorie. In zijn onderzoek gebruikt hij de hedendaagse normatieve politieke theorie en rechtstheorie om concrete maatschappelijke problemen te analyseren, met name problemen van de multiculturele samenleving en van globale rechtvaardigheid.

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.
Article

Partijen in spagaat?

Eensgezindheid en meningsverschillen onder leden van Nederlandse politieke partijen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 2010
Keywords Political parties, party members, party members survey, unity within parties, representative democracy
Authors Josje den Ridder, Joop van Holsteyn and Ruud Koole
AbstractAuthor's information

    Political parties are the building blocks of representative democracy since they traditionally perform roles that are considered essential for the functioning and well-being of democracy. In the study and evaluation of the democratic system as a whole, as a general rule, parties are treated as unitary actors. Most political parties, however, are membership organizations and their external functioning is partly dependent on internal affairs, including the behavior and opinions of their members. In this paper we open the black box of parties and show on the basis of a 2008 survey among seven political parties how united or divided ordinary Dutch party members are with respect to various political issues and orientations. It is shown that most parties are rather united on most issues. They are least united on two of the most pertinent issues of today’s politics, i.e. the integration of ethnic minorities and European integration.


Josje den Ridder
Josje den Ridder (1982) is politicoloog en verbonden als onderzoekster aan het Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (project Continu Onderzoek Burgerperspectieven). Zij publiceert over verkiezingen en kiesgedrag, en over politieke partijen en partijleden. Zij werkt aan een dissertatieproject ‘Opvattingen en activisme van partijleden van Nederlandse politieke partijen rond de eeuwwisseling’.

Joop van Holsteyn
Joop van Holsteyn (1957) is neerlandicus en politicoloog. Hij is als universitair hoofddocent en bijzonder hoogleraar Kiezersonderzoek verbonden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap, Universiteit Leiden. Hij publiceert over politieke participatie en electoraal gedrag, publieke opinie, opiniepeilingen en opinieonderzoek, extreem-rechts in Nederland en politieke cartoons.

Ruud Koole
Ruud Koole (1953) is historicus en politicoloog. Hij is als hoogleraar Politicologie, in het bijzonder met betrekking tot de Nederlandse politiek en haar institutionele ontwikkeling, verbonden aan het Instituut voor Politieke Wetenschap, Universiteit Leiden. Van dat instituut is hij de wetenschappelijk directeur. Hij publiceert over politieke partijen, interne partijdemocratie, partijfinanciën, en populisme.
Article

Bestuurskracht binnenshuis. Doorwerking van het Gemeentedecreet op bestuurskracht van Vlaamse gemeenten

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2009
Keywords administrative power, municipalities, cooperation, Flemish municipal decree
Authors Filip De Rynck, Ellen Olislagers and Johan Ackaert
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article examines the impact of the Flemish municipal decree on the administrative power of Flemish municipalities. The general goal of the Flemish municipal decree was the strengthening of administrative power by changing political-political relations, political-administrative relations and the supporting policy and management cycle. This article shows the limited meaning of the political component for this strengthening. Changes in the administrative organization of Flemish municipalities on the other hand are looking more promising, although scale and different types of municipalities continues to stay an important factor.


Filip De Rynck
Filip De Rynck (1956) werkte voor een reeks publieke en non-profitorganisaties, werd doctor in de sociale wetenschappen (KULeuven, 1995) en is nu hoogleraar bestuurskunde aan de Hogeschool Gent. Hij is gespecialiseerd in en publiceert over lokaal bestuur, binnenlandse bestuursorganisatie en beleidsnetwerken. Hij was voorzitter van de Commissie Bestuurlijke Organisatie, de Hoge Raad voor Binnenlands Bestuur en de visitatiecommissie voor de Vlaamse Steden. Hij voerde vele opdrachten uit voor lokale besturen, de Vlaamse, federale en Europese overheid.

Ellen Olislagers
Ellen Olislagers (1985) is sinds 2008 verbonden aan het Centrum Overheid en Recht van de Universiteit Hasselt. Daar voert zij het onderzoeksproject ‘Evaluatie van de innovaties in het gemeentedecreet op de lokale politieke en administratieve werking (2008-2009)' uit. Dit is een onderzoeksproject van het Steunpunt Bestuurlijke Organisatie Vlaanderen.

Johan Ackaert
Johan Ackaert (1957) is licentiaat in de politieke en sociale wetenschappen en doctor in de sociale wetenschappen. Hij is docent aan de Universiteit Hasselt waar hij sociologie en onderzoeksmethoden doceert. Zijn onderzoek situeert zich vooral op het gebied van politieke participatie en lokale politiek (lokale verkiezingen, rolgedrag van lokale politici, vernieuwingen in het lokaal bestuur) enerzijds en integratie en participatie van etnische minderheden in Vlaamse steden anderzijds.
Article

Burke leeft en woont in Nederland

Over volksvertegenwoordigers en de invloed van de publieke opinie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2008
Keywords public opinion, representative democracy, parliament, Dutch politics
Authors Christel Koop and Joop van Holsteyn
AbstractAuthor's information

    According to many observers, contemporary politicians too often are being swayed by the issues of the day. Elected representatives are supposed to permanently monitor public opinion in general and opinion polls in particular and to act accordingly. An analysis of in-depth interviews with Dutch MPs and a content analysis of an important, long-lasting debate in Dutch Parliament indicates, however, that this popular claim is a misconception. Elected representatives disagree on the content and manifestations of ‘public opinion’ and seldom take it into consideration in their role as representatives. Moreover, public opinion is taken seriously only if it is well-considered and based on substantive knowledge and conclusive arguments.


Christel Koop
Drs. C.M.M. Koop is verbonden aan het Europees Universitair Instituut in Florence.

Joop van Holsteyn
Prof. dr. J.J.M. van Holsteyn is als universitair hoofddocent en bijzonder hoogleraar Kiezersonderzoek verbonden aan het departement Politieke Wetenschap van de Universiteit Leiden.
Article

Klasse is niet dood – Zij is levend begraven

Klassengebonden stemgedrag en cultureel stemgedrag in westerse samenlevingen (1956-1990)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2007
Authors Jeroen van der Waal, Peter Achterberg and Dick Houtman
AbstractAuthor's information

    By means of a re-analysis of the most relevant data source (Nieuwbeerta & Ganzeboom 1996), this paper criticizes the newly grown consensus in political sociology that class voting has declined since World War II. An increase of crosscutting cultural voting, rooted in educational differences, rather than a decline of class voting proves responsible for the decline of the traditional class-party alignments. Moreover, income differences have not become less, but more consequential for voting behavior during this period. It is concluded that the new consensus has been built on quicksand. Class is not dead – it has been buried alive under the increasing weight of cultural voting, systematically misinterpreted as a decline of class voting, due to the widespread application of the Alford index.


Jeroen van der Waal
Promovendus aan de vakgroep Sociologie, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Peter Achterberg
Post-doctoraal onderzoeker aan de vakgroep Sociologie, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Dick Houtman
Universitair hoofddocent aan de vakgroep Sociologie, Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Montserrat González Garibay
Instituut voor Internationaal en Europees Beleid K.U.Leuven.
Article

Belgian Politics in 2006

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2-3 2007
Authors Sam Depauw and Mark Deweerdt
Author's information

Sam Depauw
Postdoctoral Fellow of the Fund for Scientific Research – Flanders at the KU Leuven.

Mark Deweerdt
MA in Political Science.

    We analyse the presence of a cost of ruling and/or incumbency advantage in the municipal elections in Flanders of 1988, 1994 and 2000. The empirical work concentrates on vote share evolutions of the three main parties: CD&V, Sp.a and VLD. We find evidence that being in power leads to an incumbency advantage, especially for those parties who provide the mayor. The results indicate that this electoral advantage is not uniform among parties (the socialist party appears to benefit more) and, importantly, the incumbency advantage seems to dampen over successive elections. From the perspective of the local politicians, it is important to keep in mind that this incumbency advantage at the local level was insufficient to compensate for the general trend of the major parties to lose votes at all levels of government. Indeed, even in the 1988 elections – where a clear local incumbency (mayor) advantage could be identified for each of the three parties – it was the case that government parties on average lost votes.


Jan Vermeir
Jan Vermeir promoveerde in 2006 tot dr. in de economische wetenschappen aan de VUB met een proefschrift ‘Essays on Elections and Coalition Formation’. Hij is auteur van artikels in European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies, Applied Economics, ...

Bruno Heyndels
Bruno Heyndels is hoogleraar in de economie aan de VUB. Hij verricht onderzoek omtrent de interactie economie & politiek, economie & cultuur en economie & sport. Hij is auteur van talrijke publicaties in (internationale) tijdschriften.

    It is often suggested that the nationalization of local elections has increased. As a result, a hypothesis could be that the mutual differences between policy programs of local divisions of the same national party decrease. In this contribution, we focus on the local election of October 8th 2006 in order to analyse these mutual differences. The aim of this contribution is to measure the homogeneity or heterogeneity of the policy positions of the local divisions of national political parties, on a range of substantive issues on which they have the freedom to differ. Therefore, we compare the opinions of local party agents within the different party families. We use the results of a survey among the representatives of the local departments of the different political parties in the run-up to the local elections. Our research shows that, regarding to the selected questions, in general the local divisions speak with one voice. Our analysis does not indicate that there is a large mixture of visions between divisions of the same national party. Besides, this analysis shows that in general, the size of the municipality can seldom be used in indicating the relative disagreement within political families. This level of agreement is the largest within the green party and the smallest within the liberal family. Those are also the two parties of which the local agents say that the influence of supra-local party levels is small, compared to representatives of other political families.


Carl Devos
Carl Devos is docent aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent, voorzitter van het vakgebied Belgische binnenlandse politiek, directeur van het Instituut voor Politieke Besluitvorming en Conflictmanagement en lid van het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent. Hij doceert o.a. over politieke besluitvorming, federalisme en conflictmanagement.

Dries Verlet
Dries Verlet is doctor in de politieke wetenschappen, doctor-assistent aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent, lid van het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek, van het Instituut voor Politieke Besluitvorming en Conflictmanagement van de Universiteit Gent en van de Urban Policy Research Group van de Ghent University Association. Hij schreef een doctoraal proefschrift over tevredenheid en subjectief welzijn op lokaal vlak. Zijn onderzoek situeert zich in de domeinen lokale politiek, methodologie, statistiek, verkiezingen, tevredenheid en de studie van de kwaliteit van het leven.

Herwig Reynaert
Herwig Reynaert is hoogleraar aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent, voorzitter van het vakgebied lokale en regionale politiek en van het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek, lid van het Instituut voor Politieke Besluitvorming en Conflictmanagement van de Universiteit Gent en hoofd van de Urban Policy Research Group van de Ghent University Association. Hij publiceerde als auteur en/of coauteur talrijke boeken en is auteur van tientallen wetenschappelijke artikels en hoofdstukken in boeken over politieke rekrutering, politieke elites, verkiezingen en tevredenheid over lokaal beleid. Hij doceert o.a. de vakken lokale politiek, vergelijkende politiek, Belgische binnenlandse politiek. Hij is eveneens promotor van onderzoeksprojecten rond de provincies, de fusies van gemeenten, schepenen en gemeenteraadsleden, ...
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