Search result: 15 articles

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Article

Coalitiesteun in Antwerpen, Hasselt en Oostkamp

De invloed van politieke ontevredenheid, politiek wantrouwen en etnocentrisme vergeleken

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 2007
Authors Marc Swyngedouw, Koen Abts and Jarl Kampen
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper we investigate the effects of political dissatisfaction, political distrust and ethnocentrism on support to the incumbent coalition in three different municipalities in Flanders. Theoretically, we define the concept of political trust, at which it is differentiated from political satisfaction and political alienation. At the same time, four dimensions of political distrust are disentangled: competence, integrity, responsiveness and justice. Empirically, four research questions may be distinguished. First, we investigate whether political satisfaction, political trust and ethnocentrism have an independent effect on support to the ruling majority. Second, we check whether there are differential effects of the dimensions of political trust on the dependent variable in the different municipalities.Third, we try to connect the micro-level data with macro-level, by linking the results with the characteristics of the local government and the party system. Fourth, we examine the influence of the presence of extreme right.


Marc Swyngedouw
Hoogleraar aan het Centrum voor Sociologisch Onderzoek (CeSO-K.U.Leuven).

Koen Abts
Wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het CeSO (K.U.Leuven).

Jarl Kampen
Postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen (V.U.Brussel).
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.
Article

De gemeenteraadsverkiezingen van 8 oktober 2006

Evolutie sinds 1976

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2-3 2007
Authors Johan Ackaert, Herwig Reynaert, Koenraad De Ceuninck e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 2006 local elections in Belgium were the first one organised after the transfer of the local authorities competences from the federal to the regional level. This means by consequence that the different regions have as well the competence in designing the institutional framework of local government as the competence of changing electoral rules. The same elections were also the first ones after drastic reforms in the national political landscape (eg., the democratic Flemish nationalist party split in different groups, nearly all the parties changed their name and particularly in the Flemish part of the country, different kinds of alliances between parties emerged).
    All over the country, the Christian democrats made progress and the ecologists suffered a declining trend. For the other parties, results depend from one region to another.
    In the Flemish part of the country, the socialists and the extreme right wing joined the Christian democrats as winners of the elections. The other parties lost votes. This was particularly the case for the liberals and ecologists (the winners of the 2000 local elections). Liberals are however the winners in the Walloon part of the country, together with again the Christian democrats. In this region, socialists and ecologists were set back. In the Brussels region, we noticed progress for socialists and Christian democrats and declining figures for liberals and ecologists.
    Analyses of political competition, number of groups in local councils and single party majorities point out that the fragmentation of local politics is not growing. The local political landscape seems to be more stable in the Walloons compared with the Flemish region.


Johan Ackaert
Docent aan de Universiteit Hasselt.

Herwig Reynaert
Docent van de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Koenraad De Ceuninck
Assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Kristof Steyvers
Doctor-assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Tony Valcke
Assistent van de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.
Article

De provincieraadsverkiezingen van 8 oktober 2006

Electorale tendensen in Vlaanderen en Wallonië

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2-3 2007
Authors Tony Valcke, Herwig Reynaert, Kristof Steyvers e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    The 2006 provincial elections in Belgium were the first organised after the transfer of the bulk of competences on local and provincial government from the federal to the regional level. This means that the different regions have both the competence to redesign the institutional framework on provincial government and to change the electoral rules. The government has exercised its competence: some institutional and electoral rules are now different in the two regions. These elections were also the first after drastic reforms in the national political landscape (e.g., the democratic Flemish nationalist party split in different groups, nearly all the parties changed their name and different kinds of cartels and alliances between parties emerged, especially in the Flemish part of the country).
    All over the country, the Christian democrats and the extreme right parties were the winners of the elections, while the ecologists suffered from a declining trend. For the other parties, results differ according to region. In the Flemish part of the country, the socialists joined the Christian democrats as winners, where in the Walloon provinces they lost votes. The Liberals however noticed declining vote shares in the Flemish provinces, while winning in the Walloon part of the country.
    Because of the electoral design the evolution of the provincial political landscape offers an interesting electoral barometer of the upcoming federal elections. Provincial elections do not only ‘predict’ the political future of other levels however, they are path dependent in their own right as well. Historical, institutional, political and electoral forces all codetermine the actual outlook of current provincial events. The analysis for 2006 has once again confirmed this.


Tony Valcke
Assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Herwig Reynaert
Docent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Kristof Steyvers
Doctor-assistent Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen, Universiteit Gent.

Johan Ackaert
Docent Universiteit Hasselt.

    In national elections the results tend to become more ‘nationalized’: a homogeneous party offer all over the territory, less variation in the results per constituency and more homogeneous electoral swings. This article investigates whether this nationalization can also be witnessed at local elections. It focuses on two indicators: the party offer and the voting behaviour. The party offer is the presence of the national parties on the local ballot paper, while the voting behaviour looks at patterns of homogeneity across the municipalities.
    The answer to the question of nationalization is mixed. The Flemish and Walloon local elections display the same long-term trend as the national elections, but they keep their own local character. The heterogeneity of the local party offer clearly demonstrates the local specificity of the local elections, and consequently the voting behaviour also differs from the voting behaviour at national elections. We also find that the local elections in Wallonia are less nationalized than in Flanders.
    Although the local character of the local elections remains important, the newer parties – Ecolo and Groen! – show until 2000 a clear trend towards nationalization. Especially the extreme right Vlaams Belang shows positive scores on all indicators of nationalization since its first local appearance in 1982.


Fanny Wille
Fanny Wille is verbonden als assistent/vorser aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen en de Vakgroep Micro-economics of the Profit and Non-Profit Sectors aan de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Zij doet onderzoek naar lokale coalitievorming.

Kris Deschouwer
Kris Deschouwer is gewoon hoogleraar aan de Vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Hij doet onderzoek naar politieke vertegenwoordiging in systemen met een complexe institutionele context.

    The article analyses the gender balance in local Belgian politics in the aftermath of the 2006 local elections. It offers a comparative perspective on the position of candidates, representatives elected and those holding office including data from the last three decades. The article also discusses the attitude of local party sections towards measures to foster a gender balance. The data show that local party sections more easily agree on parity at the level of candidates than that they support a real sharing of power at the level of the executive power. Local party sections do not support more than a guaranteed minimum presence of wo/men in the councils of eldermen. Furthermore, both at the level of candidates and at that of the executive the data reveal a final glass ceiling. Women have difficulties reaching the top positions on electoral lists as well as the top positions in the local executive power.


Petra Meier
Petra Meier is docente politieke wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Haar onderzoek draait rond de relatie tussen democratie, vertegenwoordiging en gelijkheid, met een speciale klemtoon op de relatie tussen gender en politiek. Recent publiceerde zij ‘De macht van het geslacht. Gender, politiek en beleid’ (samen met Karen Celis, Acco, 2006).

    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.
Article

Doen (wijzigende) instituties ertoe?

De invloed van het gemeente(kies)decreet op de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen van 2006

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2007
Authors Johan Ackaert, Koenraad De Ceuninck, Herwig Reynaert e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    With the local elections in 2006, new organisational schemes have been applied by the Flemish government to the 308 municipalities. These schemes included institutional reform aimed to change the outset of local government. In this article we studied the influence of these reforms in practice. Are they actually carriers of change? We thereby focused on the direct aspects linked to these reforms. While many instruments of reform had indirect intended effects, acceptance and action among key decision-makers (both voters and local governors to the extent of their discretion) to use them directly becomes crucial. Our analysis has shown that, with some exceptions, direct autonomous space for action was only limitedly used, hence reducing the chances for indirect change. While it is still too early to fully assess the foreseen indirect effects, in our opinion it is crucial to understand the nature of these local reforms within the central (Flemish) bargaining arena. The latter seems to have transformed the new schemes of local governmental organisation to the path-dependent art of the political feasible.


Johan Ackaert
Johan Ackaert is docent aan de Universiteit Hasselt. Hij promoveerde tot doctor in de sociale wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven op een proefschrift over de rol van de burgemeester. Zijn onderzoek richt zich enerzijds op politieke en maatschappelijke participatie en anderzijds op het lokale bestuur, beleid en politiek.

Koenraad De Ceuninck
Koenraad De Ceuninck is Licentiaat in de Politieke Wetenschappen, wetenschappelijk medewerker aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent, lid van het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent en van de Urban Policy Research Group van de Ghent University Association. Hij bereidt een doctoraat voor over de gemeentelijke fusies in België. Zijn onderzoek en publicaties behandelen onder meer de besluitvorming en de hervormingen op lokaal vlak.

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, ...

Kristof Steyvers
Kristof Steyvers 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 de politieke rekrutering van de Belgische burgemeesters. Zijn onderzoek situeert zich onder meer op het vlak van lokale politieke elites, de vergelijkende lokale politiek en de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen.

Tony Valcke
Tony Valcke is historicus, assistent aan de vakgroep Politieke Wetenschappen van de Universiteit Gent, lid van het Centrum voor Lokale Politiek van de Universiteit Gent en van de Urban Policy Research Group van de Ghent University Association. Hij bereidt een doctoraat voor over de gouverneurs in Vlaanderen en de commissarissen van de Koningin in Nederland. Zijn onderzoek en publicaties situeren zich op het vlak van politieke elites, (provincieraads-) verkiezingen en de geschiedenis van de (provinciale) politieke instellingen.
Conclusion

Hoe duurzaam is de heraangelegde Dorpsstraat?

Lessen uit 8 oktober 2006

Journal Res Publica, Issue 1 2007
Authors Johan Ackaert, Herwig Reynaert and Peter Van Aelst
AbstractAuthor's information

    Although the 2006 local elections can hardly be described as ‘historical’, there is sufficient evidence to distinguish remarkable characteristics associated with this elections. For the first time in decades, turnout has been growing. This evolution can be explained by several factors. This article emphasizes besides the impact of changes in the electoral rules, transformations in demographic structure of the population and the stake of the elections the importance of the media campaign surrounding the elections. However, in spite of this (national) campaigns, there are more than enough indications that local politics keeps its local ‘nature’. Secondly, the 2006 elections were the first ones organised after the transfer of the responsibility for municipality legislation from the federal state to the regions. This means that each region designed its own local government architecture and electoral rules. Yet, in practice, the consequences of this transformations seem to be very limited. Thirdly, and particular in the Flemish region, ‘strong mayors’ arose from the ballot stations (with the Antwerp mayor as the most spectacular case). The consequences of this trend will in the future be the issue of a new debate concerning the relations between council, board of alderman and mayor.


Johan Ackaert
Johan Ackaert is docent aan de Universiteit Hasselt. Hij promoveerde tot doctor in de sociale wetenschappen aan de KU Leuven op een proefschrift over de rol van de burgemeester. Zijn onderzoek richt zich enerzijds op politieke en maatschappelijke participatie en anderzijds op het lokale bestuur, beleid en politiek.

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, ...

Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is postdoctoraal assistent politieke wetenschappen en lid van de onderzoeksgroep ‘Media, Middenveld en Politiek’ (M2P) aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij doctoreerde over de rol van de media tijdens de verkiezingscampagne van 2003 en publiceerde eerder in diverse tijdschriften over protestgedrag, nieuwe media, en agenda-setting.

    The number of preference votes for the candidates running in the October 2006 local elections in the thirteen main cities of Flanders is largely determined by the position on the list and the previous political mandate. A multivariate analysis shows that an executive function on the local level yields a comparable electoral bonus as a national mandate. The campaign expenditures also have a significant effect. There is a spending limit, but the candidates on average spend only 22% of what they are allowed to. Christian-democratic candidates generally spend the most, with the liberals ranked second. The gender, age and professional status of the candidates have at most a very marginal effect on their electoral score, controlling for the other relevant variables. Candidates with a foreign name obtain a somewhat better result on average, but this is particularly the case with candidates running for the socialist party.


Bart Maddens
Bart Maddens is hoofddocent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven. Hij doceert onder meer vergelijkende politiek en kiesstelsels. Zijn onderzoek betreft hoofdzakelijk verkiezingen en partijfinanciering.

Karolien Weekers
Karolien Weekers is wetenschappelijk medewerker aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven. Ze werkt aan een doctoraatsonderzoek over partij- en campagnefinanciering en maakt sinds 2006 deel uit van het team dat de KANDI-gegevens inzamelt en analyseert.

Stefaan Fiers
Stefaan Fiers is docent aan het Centrum voor Politicologie van de K.U.Leuven en doceert politieke wetenschappen aan de Campus Kortrijk van de K.U.Leuven. Hij nam mee het initiatief tot de zogenaamde KANDI-onderzoeken, die voor elke verkiezing sinds 2003 de belangrijkste sociografische en electorale kenmerken van alle verkiezingskandidaten op Vlaamse lijsten verzamelt.

Ine Vanlangenakker
Ine Vanlangenakker is assistente aan de Faculteit Sociale wetenschappen van de K.U.Leuven en bereidt een doctoraat voor over het carrièreverloop van leden van regionale parlementen in comparatief perspectief. In 2006 maakte ze deel uit van het team dat de KANDI2006-gegevens inzamelde en analyseerde.

    Official results of local elections are especially interesting when collected at the lowest level possible, to enable analyses of voting behaviour on the smallest social unit. In Antwerp, together with the city-level results, the voting results for the city districts are public too. Yet, still no possibility exists to review the official results at the neighbourhood level. This lack of data makes it difficult to relate specific neighbourhood characteristics to voting behaviour in those neighbourhoods and to compare them. Thus, to collect the data on neighbourhood voting behaviour, we organised an exit-poll in 18 neighbourhoods of seven districts in Antwerp, during the recent county, local and district elections. This article briefly sketches the exit-poll and its organisation and presents the main results. These results will be compared with the formal results on district level, and the neighbourhoods will be compared to one another. The results are – as expected – slightly biased, although in some districts more than in others. Voting behaviour in neighbourhoods turns out to vary strongly. We try to explain the voting behaviour with the help of several neighbourhood characteristics, like the proportion of immigrants and unemployed. The analysis confirms some important correlations, but refutes others.


Lien Warmenbol
Lien Warmenbol werkt na een onderzoeksproject over probleemjongeren in problematische buurten momenteel aan haar doctoraat in de politieke wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Dit onderzoek richt zich op de buurtgerelateerde processen die spelen bij het stemgedrag in Antwerpen.

Marjolein Meijer
Marjolein Meijer werkt aan haar doctoraat in de politieke wetenschappen aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Haar onderzoek richt zich op de Europese Unie, democratie en uitbreidingen. In het afgelopen jaar verzorgde zij met Lien Warmenbol een leeronderzoek over de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen in Antwerpen.

    The last local elections in Wallonia were marked by the introduction of a new legislation concerning the way mayors are appointed. Before 2006, mayors were appointed by the regional government. Since the last elections, a new decree institutes that is automatically appointed mayor the candidate having most preferential votes from the list having most seats. In this article, we explore how the new legislation has affected the way voters behave in 2006 and also how it has affected parties when it comes to coalition agreements. What appears is that the new legislation has a fairly limited impact. Voters did not cast more preferential votes in 2006 than in 2000. The logics of coalitions have not been changed significantly. Finally, the only notable – even if not spectacular – impact of the new Walloon decree is that the elections have been much more focused on the candidates that were leading their list, the ones that were presented by their party as their candidate to become mayor. These candidates have more often been appointed mayors in 2006 than in 2000 and the proportion of preferential votes that they have received is higher in 2006. In that sense, even if the degree of change must not be exaggerated, Walloon local elections are slightly turning into a horse race between candidates leading their list.


Jean-Benoit Pilet
Jean-Benoit Pilet is doctor in de politieke wetenschappen en FNRS-postdoctoraal onderzoeker aan de Université libre de Bruxelles. Zijn werken en publicaties gaan hoofdzakelijk over de kieswet, de kieshervormingen en de lokale politiek.

Pascal Delwit
Pascal Delwit is professor politieke wetenschappen aan de Université libre de Bruxelles. Zijn werken en publicaties focussen hoofdzakelijk op de Belgische en Europese politiek, de verkiezingen en de politieke partijen.

Emilie van Haute
Emilie van Haute is promovenda in de politieke wetenschappen en assistente aan de Université libre de Bruxelles. Haar werken en publicaties handelen in hoofdzaak over de politieke participatie, de partijleden en de Belgische politiek.

    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, ...

    In discussing the results of the Belgian local elections of 8 October 2006 the media devoted most attention to Antwerp. Not only because it is Flanders biggest city, but especially because of the remarkable result of mayor Patrick Janssens and his socialist party (Sp.a-Spirit). They won over 35% of the votes and became the biggest party of the city, a position that was taken by the extreme right party for more than ten years. In this article we tried to map and explain the so called ‘Janssens-effect’. By analysing the election results and the data of an (inter-university) Internet panel we managed to prove that Patrick Janssens had a large share in the victory of his party. A lot of citizens of Antwerp that normally would not vote for the socialist party supported Janssens. To explain this personal success we suggested four plausible motives: the perceived qualities of Janssens as a mayor; his presidential campaign; the attention of and performance in the media; and finally the statement against extreme right. Our panel data suggest that a combination of these motives can explain the Janssens-effect. The appreciation for Janssens as a very capable mayor was present among the electorate long before the campaign started. This appreciation became the basis for his electoral success. The fact that many voters decided to switch to Janssens in the months and weeks before the election is related to his campaign and the media-attention it generated. The media strengthened the image of Antwerp as a polarised city. Especially the voters that changed their vote intention during the campaign were convinced that supporting Janssens was the most explicit signal against the extreme right image of their city.


Peter Van Aelst
Peter Van Aelst is postdoctoraal assistent politieke wetenschappen en lid van de onderzoeksgroep ‘Media, Middenveld en Politiek’ (M2P) aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij doctoreerde over de rol van de media tijdens de verkiezingscampagne van 2003 en publiceerde eerder in diverse tijdschriften over protestgedrag, nieuwe media, en agenda-setting.

Michiel Nuytemans
Michiel Nuytemans is onderzoeker aan het departement Politieke Wetenschappen en lid van de onderzoeksgroep ‘Media, Middenveld en Politiek’ (M2P) aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij doet onderzoek naar agendasetting, verkiezingen en de relatie tussen media en politiek.

    Together with the city council elections, the citizens of Antwerp elected on 8 October 2006 for the second time their district councils. This new decentralised political level is primarily initiated to restore the confidence of the citizens in the city (and district) government(s). By analysing the results of the city and the district elections we try to find indications whether citizens feel closer to their new district governments or not. Firstly district elections resulted definitely not in less blank votes. Secondly, the number of list votes is higher on the district elections than on the city elections, while we would have expected a higher number of preferential votes. Thirdly, we see that the differences between the electoral results of the city elections and the district elections are becoming more pronounced. Although this last result seems to support the legitimacy of the decentralised district they merely reflect changes in the logic of the city elections. Mainly as a result of media coverage the city elections were direct elections of the mayor. Therefore voters used the district elections to vote for their preferred political party. This was not always possible at city level, because some parties did not have an eligible candidate for mayor. Generally spoken, we can conclude that the district elections do not give much proof of a closer connection between the citizens and the city government.


Peter Thijssen
Peter Thijssen doceert methodologie en politieke sociologie aan de Faculteit Politieke en Sociale Wetenschappen, de Faculteit Rechten en de Managementschool van de Universiteit Antwerpen. Zijn onderzoek spitst zich toe op politieke attitudes en politieke participatie, in het bijzonder van verschillende leeftijdsgroepen. Recente boeken zijn ‘Van beschrijving naar inzicht’ (Acco, 2006) en ‘Babybom? Draagvlak van de intergenerationele solidariteit’ (Acco, 2006, met De Pauw).
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