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Article

Een rechtstreeks verkozen parlement voor de Vlamingen

Kroniek van de politiek in Vlaanderen in 1995

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Guido Tastenhoye

Guido Tastenhoye
Article

Cognitieve en affectieve motieven van partijkeuze

De nationale verkiezingen van 21 mei 1995

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Marc Swyngedouw and Roeland Beerten
Abstract

    The exit-poll survey of May 21, 1995, the day of the national election, contained after the question of the actual voting behaviour for the Chamber, an open-ended question asking the motives of this voting behaviour. 3547 voters were questioned in the Flemish part of Belgium. Because the exit-poll questioning was done on election day, the voters could not be influenced by the election results and the explanations given by experts in the media. Categorisation of the answers was done by content analysis. The categorisation scheme was developed on the basis of the existing theories of voting behaviour. On this basis an overview is given of the cognitive and affective spontaneous motives the voters are given for their voting behaviour. The inter rater reliability is very high (Kappa: 0.82). With a HlCLASS analysis a motive profile for every party is developed. The results indicate that party identification in a broad sense is still one of the most important explanations ofvoting behaviour. But they also make clear that the stability in voting behaviour is very unsure for an important group ofvoters. The two sources of instability are short term ad hoc motives and a-politic or anti-politie motives among a still growing group of voters.


Marc Swyngedouw

Roeland Beerten

    In 1995 the newly enlarged European Union has proved to be capable to handle its problems and to take decisions in a large array of issues. The EU tried to cope with unemployment, continued the preparation of the third stage of the Economic and Monetary Union, adopted its 1996 budget decisions relatively smoothly, and intensified its relations with different parts of the world. On the other hand however, enlargement itself is increasingly affecting the Union as it preparing itself for the upcoming accession of some of its Central European and Mediterranean neighbors. The northern member states look with some suspicion at the budgetary consequences and already show a lot of restraint in paying more to the EU-budget, for the sake of their southern counterparts. Some member states are looking for a balanced enlargement in which the eastern enlargement would be counterbalanced by a Mediterranean one, and for a balance in the financial support that is provided by the EU to third countries. The biggest issue is however, the institutional adaptation of the European Union to a new enlargement. The preparations of the 1996 Intergovernmental Conferencethat took place in 1995, have shown however, that this process will be a difficult one. With the 1995 enlargement, the European Union has increased the number ofmember states that perceive the process of European integration primarily as an economic one. This will make institutional adaptations more difficult and risks to paralyze the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the Union even more than it already did in the past few years. Stated differently, 1995 has left a number of question marks on the EU's future. Whether these will disappear soon, 1996 will show.


Bart Kerremans
Article

Belgian politics in 1995

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Kris Deschouwer and Marc Platel

Kris Deschouwer

Marc Platel

Peter Janssens
Article

Culturele deprivatie en politieke aliënatie

Een tussentijds rapport

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Guido Dierickx, Caroline Gijselinckx and Peter Thijssen
Abstract

    Following the distinctions proposed by Gamson and Easton the complex phenomenon of political alienation among the young was empirically subdivided in several dimensions. Within the 'input'dimension of political alienation we distinguished between the ability to process information and the ability to participate. Within the 'output'dimension we distinguished between two referents of distrust, political actors and authorities on the one hand, and the political (democratic) system on the other. We succeeded in constructing reliable scales for each of these dimensions which were then used as dependent variables in regression models. When turning to the explanation of the phenomenon our attention was focused first and foremost on the cultural factors. This was amply rewarded. Some of the normative aspects of culture, namely 'presenteism' and 'dionysianism', have a significant influence on various dimensions of political alienation. The impact of cognitive aspects appears to be even more significant. This means that an effective policy to counter the rise of political alienation wilt have to cope with a phenomenon solidly embedded in contemporary culture.


Guido Dierickx

Caroline Gijselinckx

Peter Thijssen
Article

Au Sud, rien de nouveau....

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Pierre Verjans

Pierre Verjans

Marc Platel
Article

La Citoyenneté dans la pensée politique Européenne

Eléments pour une histoire doctrinale du concept

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3-4 1996
Authors Paul Magnette
Abstract

    This article tries to describe the conceptual evolution of the concept of citizenship. Following the history of the word, it defines the succeeding meanings of this idea from Aristotle to Marx. It argues that this history shows that the concept is inherent in the republican tradition, which affirms that man's freedom is an illusion without the institution of the State. The modern concept, in particular, brings together the ideas of the Rule ofLaw and Popular Sovereignty and demonstrates that they are conceptually undividable. This, it is concluded, means that opposing "liberal" and "republican" concepts of citizenship is a contradiction in terms.


Paul Magnette

    Since the beginning ofthe 1980s, successive Belgian governments have pursued a social security policy that is a combination of cutting social expenditure on the one hand and improving the plight of lower income categories among benefit recipients on the other. This has been realised by means of a strategy of 'targeting within universalism ', i.e. improving the benefits for the poor and restricting them for the better off, but without abolishing the entitlements oft he latter category completely. The Belgian experience puts inperspective the 'middle class matters' argument, which predicts that, if cuts are made in social expenditure,the middle classes will use their political resources to defend the provisions they benefit from and to diminish the benefits reserved for the poor.


Mark Andries

    The article deals with the evolution and transformation of Italian party government in the period 1948-1996. Considering the two crucial dimensions of "government formation" and "cabinet organization and decision-making", the article compares the period before and after 1992 (till the elections of April 1996). The comparison shows the extraordinary experience of the Jour years 1992-1996: universally defined as the years of the "Italian transition". If the parties controlled both the processes of government formation and cabinet decisionmaking in the period 1948-1992, in the following period of 1992-1996 both processes were controlled more by the president of the Republic (and by the "technical" president of Council of ministers selected by him) than by the parties (with the partial exception of the Berlusconi government of May-December 1994). Theparties were so unimportant in the four years of the Italian transition, that we can define this one as a period of an unprecedented semipresidentialism with residual party government.


Sergio Fabbrini
Article

The Political role of the judiciary

The Belgian case

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Lode Van Outrive
Abstract

    We set out by tracking the political vicissitudes of the administration of justice and their connections with a range of phenomena: the neglect by politicians; a series of events and scandals and the very curious reactions of the judicial apparatus; several parliamentary investigation commissions without much effect. Then we take a critical look at partisan politicisation of the magistrature: negative evalution of their output thrives to it; but there are also partisan appointments and promotions, even absence and refusal of training. Many contextual factors hinder a normal, acceptable process of politicisation: over- and underregulation, bad legislation, misconception on control over the administration of justice and over judges, non-democratic decisionmaking within the organisation of the magistrature, the development of wrong relationship inside the trias politica; but also other more external conditions were not met neither. We wind up with an examination of the assesment of recent governmental proposals: an improvement of criminal and judicial inquiries; foundation of a national advisory body for the magistrature; simplification of the legislation; modernisation of the courts activities; a more objective recruitment and selection system; more easy access to justice etc. The question raises as to wether it suffices to tinker with the sy stem of the administration of justice alone... Between the Belgian and the Italian situations are similarities and relevant differences.


Lode Van Outrive

    Since the November 1991 elections, it has become a common statement to argue that Belgium has entered a -possibly unprecedented- period ofchange and instability. This article focuses on the evolution of the electoral system and electoral behaviour, in order to test this widely agreed-upon judgement. All things considered, one observes that the electoral system has not been radically modified since World War II. In spite of the transformation of the country into a federal state and several severe conflicts, political decision-makers have opted for the 'fine-tuning" of the electoral system instead of radical reforms. As far as electoral behaviour is concerned, the picture is less clear. On one hand, relying on various indicators, one does observe that the early 1990s were characterised by change and transformation. On the other hand, one cannot conclude that the amplitude of change or instability in the early 1990s has been "exceptional" or "unprecedented" as compared with earlier periods. Building upon this ambiguous diagnosis, the author speculates on the probability of a major breakdown of the Belgian political system at the turn of the century.


Benoît Rihoux
Article

On the 'Two Faces' of right-wing extremism in Belgium

Confronting the ideology of extreme right-wing parties in Belgium with the attitudes and motives of their voters

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Hans De Witte
Abstract

    In this article, we analyse the ideological differences between extreme rightwing parties and their voters in the Flemish and Walloon part of Belgium. Extreme right-wing ideology consists of five core elements: (biological) racism, extreme ethnic nationalism, the leadership principle, anti-parliamentarianism and an anti-leftist attitude. All these attitudes refer to the basic value of rightwing extremism: the belief in the inequality of individuals and (ethnic) groups. An analysis of the ideology of the Vlaams Blok in Flanders shows that it adheres to these core elements of extreme right-wing ideology. An analysis of the attitudes and motives of the voters of this party, however, shows that they cannot be considered as right-wing extremists. The ideological gap between the Vlaams Blok and its electorate is due to the strategy of this party, since it cultivates 'two faces': a populist, moderate face in order to attract votes, and a radical extreme rightwingface in order to recruit and motivate militants. In Wallonia, less is known about the ideology of right-wing parties and that of their voters. Current research however, suggests that the conclusions from Flemish research may very well be generalized to Wallonia as well.


Hans De Witte
Article

Controlling political corruption in Italy

What did not work, what can be done

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Donatella Della Porta and Alberto Vannucci
Abstract

    The paper dealt with the control on political corruption in Italy, in particular with the reasons why most of the control mechanisms did not work for a long time, allowingfor the development of"tangentopoli". First of all, we briefly discussed the reasons why the controls ''from below"--that is, from citizens or electors--did not function in Italy: the pervasive occupation of the administration and the civil society by the political parties, as well as "secret" agreements between political parties in order to avoid political scandals were discussed. The paper continued by analyzing two types of institutional control: the administrative controls and the judiciary controls. In the second part, we presented some main characteristics of the Italian public administration that hampered internal controls, the informal control of parties over the bureaucrats through clientelism and complicity in corruption being one among them. In the third part, we focused on the peculiar characteristics of a magistracy that enjoyed of a very high degree of format autonomy from the political power, but was "pushed" towards politics for reasons as different as complicity in corruption and the need to "substitute" for the weak policy making capacity of political parties. In the fourth part, we reviewed some (implemented of planned) reform bills to deal with the control of political corruption.


Donatella Della Porta

Alberto Vannucci

    The article attempts to trace the origins and to assess the extent ofparty-system change in Italy in the 1990s. It also examines some hypotheses on the possible causes of such changes. Building on research on anti-party sentiment and on changes in party organization the paper begins with an analysis of the evolution of the party system in the last 30 years which identifies organizational adaptation as a delaying factor in party system change. This is followed by a description of the party system after the 1994 elections based on generally accepted party system characteristics and indicators (volatility, number ofparties, ideological distance). The assessment is made difficult by the, perhaps temporary, coexistence of two party-systems, respectively relevant for electoral and inter-election competition. The evidence however, suggests, that party-system transformation is under way, while it might still be inappropriate to talk about structural change. Degeneration of parties and a deep institutional crisis appear to be the factors leading to the explosion of pent-up alienation and antiparty sentiments, and to demands for institutional and constitutional change that preceded and appeared to be the immediate causes of party system transformation.


Luciano Bardi
Article

Waiting for 'The big one'

The uncertain survival of the Belgian Parties and Party Systems(S)

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Kris Deschouwer
Abstract

    The Belgian party system is aften considered to be or to have been very stable. This article investigates the possibility of the Belgian parties and party systems to 'go Italian ', i.e. to be confronted with a radicial change resulting from a fundamental lack of legitimacy. This problem of legitimation can be expected from the fact that Belgium is a very consociational democracy, in which the parties play a very important role, but tend to become very entangled with the state. The split of the national parties and the federal reform of the state have made the decision-making structures even more complex than before, and have therefore not at all reduced the 'partitocratic' nature of the system. For these reasons a future Italian-style collapse of the parties and the party systems is certainly not to be excluded.


Kris Deschouwer
Article

Comparing similar countries: Italy and Belgium

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Lieven De Winter, Donatella Della Porta and Kris Deschouwer

Lieven De Winter

Donatella Della Porta

Kris Deschouwer

    Our analysis indicates that it is correct to interpret non-participation and a vote for the Extreme Right as at least partly due to a legitimation crisis which seems to be the expression of a new alignment of values. This alignment describes a deep cultural cleavage that divides the higher from the less educated. People who hold pronounced positions on this alignment are more likely than others to turn away from the established, "traditional" parties. People with the values and attitudes typical of the "progressive" or "new left'' side of the cleavage, vote disproportionately for the Greens. People with the values and attitudes typical of the "conservative" or "new right" side of the cleavage, opt disproportionately for non-participation and for the Extreme Right. In the recent political debate in Flanders, both non-participation and the Extreme Right have been regarded as symptoms of a legitimation crisis, and ofpolitical protest. The difference between the two expressions of cultural opposition or political protest can be understood as a choice for either an "exit" or a "voice" option. People select the "exit" option when they feel especially politically powerless. The "voice"-option is chosen by people for which the value conflict over the position of"migrants" is the most salient issue. The long term causes of the symptoms of a legitimation crisis seem to be the growing economic and cultural gap between the higher and less educated, and the ensuing growth of a conflict in which cultural and social-economic differences are strongly linked.


Mark Elchardus

Anton Derks
Article

The partitocracy of health

Towards a new welfare politics in Italy?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1996
Authors Maurizio Ferrera
Abstract

    This article illustrates the relationships between political parties and the healthcare sector in Italy since the 1950s. The several was though which parties have "exploited" health policics are explored, ranging from the selective extension of care entitlements to the various occupational categories to the clientelistic ties with doctors, from the placement of party personnell in the various administrative posts to illegal financing. The author argues that the partitocratie exploitation of the health care sector has greatly contributed to the failure of the 1978 reform establishing a National Health Service. This failure has in its turn backlashed against the partitocratic government, accellerating its demise in the early 1990s. The article concludes with some considerations on the future of Italy's health policy and, more generally, welfare state policy.


Maurizio Ferrera
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