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    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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