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Christa Pelikan
Christa Pelikan is a senior researcher and senior consultant with the Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology in Vienna, Austria, she has been a founding member of the European Forum for Restorative Justice. Contact author: christa.pelikan@irks.at.

Tim Chapman
Tim Chapman is an independent researcher and trainer and chair of the European Forum for Restorative Justice since 2016. Contact author: info@timchapman.eu.

Gerd Delattre
Gerd Delattre was head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. in Cologne/Germany for over 20 years. He is considered a pioneer of victim-offender mediation in Germany.

Christoph Willms
Christoph Willms is assistant to the head of the TOA-Servicebureau by DBH e. V. Contact authors: gerd@delattre.de, christophwillms@web.de.

Susan Sharpe
Susan Sharpe recently retired from her position as Advisor on Restorative Justice at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, USA. Contact author: ssharpe1@nd.edu.
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
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 Online First 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 assistant professor of communications at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

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.

Aleksandar Marsavelski
Aleksandar Marsavelski is an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia.

Ali Gohar
Ali Gohar is the founder of Just Peace Initiatives, UK and Pakistan (http://www.justpeaceintl.org).

Tom Daems
Tom Daems is Associate Professor at the Leuven Institute of Criminology (LINC), KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.

Susan L. Brooks
Susan Brooks is an Associate Dean and Professor of Law, Drexel University Kline School of Law, Philadelphia, USA.

Jo-Anne Wemmers
Jo-Anne Wemmers is a Full Professor at the School of Criminology, Université de Montréal (Canada) and Researcher at the International Centre for Comparative Criminology, Montréal, Canada.
Research Notes

Paid Digital Campaigning During the 2018 Local Elections in Flanders

Which Candidates Jumped on the Bandwagon?

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords local elections, candidates, campaign spending, digital campaigning
Authors Gunther Vanden Eynde, Gert-Jan Put, Bart Maddens e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    This research note investigates the role of paid digital campaigning in the 2018 local elections in Flanders. We make use of the official declarations which candidates are legally required to submit. In these declarations, candidates indicate whether and how much they invested in online campaigning tools during the four months preceding the elections. We collected data on a sample of 3,588 individual candidates running in the 30 municipalities of the Leuven Arrondissement. A multilevel logistic regression model shows that the odds of spending on digital campaigning increases among incumbent aldermen and local councillors. The latter finding supports the normalization thesis of digital campaigning. The results also show that scale is important – the more potential voters a candidate has, the higher the odds that the candidate invests in digital tools.


Gunther Vanden Eynde
Gunther Vanden Eynde is a doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research interests include political finance, campaign spending and the social media campaigns of Belgian political parties and their candidates.

Gert-Jan Put
Gert-Jan Put is a Senior Researcher at the Research Center for Regional Economics, KU Leuven. His research focuses on candidate selection and intra-party competition, and has been published in Political Behavior, Party Politics and Electoral Studies.

Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is a professor of political science at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute His research interests include political finance, elections and multi-level systems. His work has been published in West European Politics, Party Politics and Electoral Studies.

Gertjan Muyters
Gertjan Muyters is a doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven Public Governance Institute. His research focuses on candidate turnover and political careers.
Research Notes

Sub-Constituency Campaigning in PR Systems

Evidence from the 2014 General Elections in Belgium

Journal Politics of the Low Countries, Issue 3 2019
Keywords Sub-constituency campaigning, PR system, political advertisements, election campaign, content analysis
Authors Jonas Lefevere, Knut De Swert and Artemis Tsoulou-Malakoudi
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sub-constituency campaigning occurs when parties focus their campaign resources on specific geographical areas within an electoral district. This behaviour was traditionally thought to occur only in single-member plurality elections, but recent research demonstrates that proportional systems with multi-member districts can also elicit sub-constituency campaigning. However, most studies of sub-constituency campaigning rely on self-reported measures of campaigning, not direct measures of campaign intensity in different regions and communities. We present novel data on geographical variations in the intensity of Flemish parties’ campaign advertising during the 2014 general elections in Belgium, which provides a direct measure of sub-constituency campaigning. Our findings show clear evidence of sub-constituency campaigning: parties campaign more intensely in municipalities where they have stronger electoral support and in municipalities with greater population density.


Jonas Lefevere
Jonas Lefevere is assistant professor at Vesalius College and the Institute for European Studies (VUB). His research interests include the strategic communication of political elites, the effects of campaign communication on political attitudes and electoral choice and the role of issue perceptions in electoral behavior.

Knut De Swert
Knut De Swert is Assistant Professor, Political Communication and Journalism, at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands). His research is situated in the field of media and politics, and mainly focuses on the quality of (political) journalism and foreign news in a comparative perspective.

Artemis Tsoulou-Malakoudi
Artemis Tsoulou-Malakoudi is a student research assistant for the EOS research project RepResent which focuses on representation and democratic resentment. She is currently following a Research Master’s at the University of Amsterdam with an interest in political communication research.

Marian Liebmann
Marian Liebmann, PhD, is an independent restorative justice practitioner, trainer and consultant. She is the former director of Mediation UK.

Chris Straker
Chris Straker is a director, trainer and consultant at Restorative Thinking Ltd. (www.restorativethinking.co.uk) and a freelance restorative trainer registered with the Restorative Justice Council, UK.

Gian Luigi Lepri
Gian Luigi Lepri is a psychologist and psychotherapist coordinator of the Restorative Justice Practices Team, University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy.

Ernesto Lodi
Ernesto Lodi is researcher in Social Psychology at the University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy.

Patrizia Patrizi
Patrizia Patrizi is full professor of Social Psychology and Psychology and Law at the University of Sassari, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences – Dumas, Italy, member of the board of the European Forum for Restorative Justice.

Grazia Mannozzi
Grazia Mannozzi is professor of Criminal Law and of Restorative Justice at the University of Insubria, Como, Italy.

Bruna Dighera
Bruna Dighera is a psychologist and psychotherapist, trainer and supervisor of projects of social innovation, citizenship participation and community development in Lecco, Italy.

Lies Van Cleynenbreugel
Lies Van Cleynenbreugel is an action researcher at the Leuven Institute of Criminology, KU Leuven, Belgium and in charge of the project ‘Leuven Restorative Cities’; she is also a restorative justice practitioner in the NGO Alba.

Tim Read
Tim Read works for Brighton & Hove City Council’s safer communities team with experience as an anti-social behaviour and hate crime caseworker, coordinator of the restorative city project and a restorative justice practitioner/trainer, Brighton & Hove, UK. He is also the current vice-chair of trustees at the Restorative Justice Council.

Chris Straker
Chris Straker is a director, trainer and consultant at Restorative Thinking Ltd. and a freelance restorative trainer registered with the Restorative Justice Council (UK).
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