Search result: 33 articles

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Article

L'Armée dans l'Etat

Quelques considérations théoriques

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors J. Vander Vorst

J. Vander Vorst

J.D. Rycx d'Huisnacht
Article

NATO and German Reunification

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors Elliot R. Goodman

Elliot R. Goodman
Article

Informations

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica

Louise Weiss
Article

La signification nouvelle du futur

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors Jacques Wautrequin

Jacques Wautrequin

Edmond Orban
Article

Comptes rendus

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica
Article

La propagande en Albanie

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1970
Authors John Horekens

John Horekens

Robert Cornevin
Article

Comptes rendus

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica

    It is a striking point that, in the general context of the municipal administration's reform, this administration itself is never brought into discredit. When criticisms are formulated, they concern the fact that not all municipalities are able to offer their inhabitants the services which they normally may expect, as well for their immediate human development as for the adapted extension of the material infrastructure and of their vital environment. This normally raises the question of the municipalities' administrative power.The factors which determine that power can be considered in direct or indirect connection with the number of inhabitants.In the first place, the population has to be sufficiently differentiated to enable the conception of a development-policy that comes up to the requirements of the present society. One may assume that in municipalities with 2.000 inhabitants, which perform a centre-function or are located near a town-centre, the possibility exists to elect a properly composed common council. For rural municipalities the numberof inhabitants must undoubtedly be higher. Moreover, the municipality should have the disposal of specialised personnel to help the municipal authorities with the conception and practice of their policy. InBelgium a municipal secretary cannot do bis work properly if the municipality does not count 2.500 to 3.000 inhabitants.In the second place, administrative power is determined by available finances. Calculations have been made per category of municipalities, based on disposable data concerning 196.5 and 1966.As far as the extraordinary accounts are concerned, which essentially refer to investment expenses, it is relevant to note that the average figures per inhabitant are equally high in municipalities with less than1.000 and with 10.000 inhabitants. But, taking into account the cost of planned infrastructure-works, it is a fact that only from 10.000 inhabitants on a municipality has the disposal of sufficient finances to performa development-policy.The figures concerning ordinary accounts, which refer to operation- and administrative costs, show that a municipality with less than 1.000 inhabitants - although offering less services - has to spend more perinhabitant than a municipality with 5.000 to 10.000 inhabitants. Its fiscal charge is also higher than that of a municipality belonging to the latter category.The figures clearly show the disadvantage of smaller municipalities.In that context one should not forget that practically 63 to 70 % of ordinary expenses concern the actual operations and municipal debts. Seen in proportional relations, small municipalities have but little means to take care of policy-tasks.To be complete «municipality with administrative power» also means «municipality with a democratic function». As a matter of fact, administrative power is not exclusively determined by sufficient financialresources or by a minimum of differentiation of the inhabitants. Generally speaking one can assume in this context that the geographical size of the territory does not normally hamper the functioning of alocal democracy. More attention however should be given to the question if that functioning is not rather hindered by the number of inhabitants, when a certain population-maximum is exceeded. It appearsindeed that local authorities have less appeal in urbanised municipalities or as soon as a population-number of 20.000 to 30.000 inhabitants is reached. For that reason, attempts should be made in bigger municipalities to stimulate the population's participation in policy-matters.Activities with a definitively technical character, need a wider approach. So it seems more advisable to work on the basis of regions, rather than on the basis of large municipalities.Taking into account the big number of small municipalities, one can state as a conclusion that the municipal elections miss a great part of their signification in the majority of Belgian municipalities. Practically two thirds of them have no possibility to perform an adapted policy.Changing the constitution of those who are responsible for that policy cannot give much of a result as there are no material means to realize a modern policy with administrative power.


Rudolf Maes
Article

Informations

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica
Article

De sociale struktuur en het politieke proces

Een vergelijkende studie in 147 Belgische Gemeenten

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Michael Aiken and Hugo Van Gassel
Abstract

    This paper is concerned with the question of how the social and economic structure of cities affects the degree of political competition and how in turn these factors affect the degree of a political stability. It isbased on a comparative empirical study of the outcomes of the communal elections of 1952, 1958 and 1964 in 147 Belgian cities that had a population size of 10.000 or more in 1947.In the first place the following generalizations are made with regard to the election outcomes in these cities during the 1952-1964 period. 1. A general proliferation of lists or parties participating in the elections from 1952 to 1964. 2. A trend from one-party-control over the college (executive committee) of the city council toward coalition-control. 3. A net increase in the number of catholic lists and a net decrease in the number of socialist and liberal lists participating in the colleges of these townships. 4. An increase in the number of cities in which newer, smaller and nontraditional parties or lists participated in the college of the city council.Three measures of political competitions are employed: 1. The average number of parties or lists, that entered the communal election of 1952, 1958 and 1964. 2. The average number of lists that received at least ten per cent of the vote in these three elections, and 3. The presence or absence of a coalition on the college of the city council in 1952.The two measures of political stability, which are also based on the results of the same elections, are: 1. The degree of stability in the lists and parties participating in the college of the city council, and 2. The degree of stability in the list or party controlling the college of the city council. In general, measures of structural differentiation, linguistic diversity, industrial diversity, and social heterogeneity (i.e. , the presence of a large middle class) are found to be positively related to the degree of competition in local politics. In turn, measures of each of these structural factors and the measures of political competition are found to be negatively related to measures of political stability. Regression analysis supports the interpretation that diversity and heterogeneity in the social structure of cities - specifically, population size, density, and the presence of many persons with high occupational status - contribute to greater political competition in local polities, but that it is the degree of political competition that most strongly affects the degree of political stability.The conclusion is drawn that cities with a high degree of social and economic heterogeneity have a greater amount of conflict and cleavage. This results in greater competition in the political arena whichin turn predisposes such cities to have a high degree of instability in the control of their city governments.


Michael Aiken

Hugo Van Gassel

    This study aims to state the relation between the nature of municipal elections and the degree of urbanisation of the municipalities.In Belgium the municipal elections show a very great diversity in their electoral figures . Five categories of electoral figures are frequent: elections without competition (in the map as: verkiezingen zonder strijd),totally local electoral figure (in the map as : uitsluitend plaatselijke verkiezingsgestalte), predominantly local electoral figure (in the map as: overwegend plaatselijke verkiezingsgestalte), mixed electoral figure (in the map as: gemengde verkiezingsgestalte), predominantly national electoral figure (in the map as: overwegend nationale verkiezingsgestalte).The two existing operationalizations of urbanisation in Belgium are used for the urbanisation degree of the municipalities: that of W. Van Waelvelde and H. Van der Haegen as well as that of I. De Lanoo,U. Claeys and M. Sansen. The frequency of the different types of electoral figures at the municipal elections, seen in the categories of urbanisation according to both above mentioned operationalizations, indicates a positive relation between growing urbanisation and the shifting from local to predominantly national electoral figures. This does not mean that the predominantly national electoral figure can be found exclusively in the highest category of urbanisation, nor that the exclusively local electoral figure and the elections without competition can only happen in rural regions. But it is a fact that the gravity-centre of the rather national electoral figures lies in urbanised municipalities and towns, whereas the gravity- centre of local electoral figures lies in rural municipalities. See graphic I (operationalization W. Van Waelvelde and H. Van der Haegen) and graphic II ( operationalization I. De Lanoo, U. Claeys and M. Sansen).As the used, urbanisation-operationalizations are not totally unidimensional, this research can furnish only an argument for H. Bahrdt's thesis of the «Verfall der kommunalen öffentlichkeit» and for the parallel hypothesis of the tenuous zone, formulated by Sj. Groenman.


Wilfried Dewachter

    According to the standards of public law, municipal polls have only a local scope: the election of a common council. Do politicians make deductions concerning the formal political power-constellation on national level either from the approach of municipal elections or from their results? Can these elections lead to changes in or of the government and eventually to anticipated legislative elections? After the first world-war, the electorate was called eight times to vote for new common councillors. Half of these elections (1921, 1926, 1938 and 1958) had no influence on the national power-constellation: they hardly stirred the national political life. In 1958 any possible influence of the municipal elections was even a priori ruled out. A remarkable point is that all municipal elections which took place undergovernments of national union (1921, 1926 and 1938) , were only of local importance.Since the first world-war not a single municipal election has led to changes within the government: there was never a redistribution of ministerial portfolios amongst the coalitionpartners, nor did any electioncause the dismissal of an individual minister.It is traditional in Belgian politics that the national opposition, when the results of municipal elections are in its favour and prejudicial to the party (parties) in office (1946, 1952 and 1964), tries to call in question the legitimacy of the government in the opinion of the public by the way of motions or interpellations in parliament, claiming dismissal of the government or anticipated legislative elections. At these occasions it appeared unimportant whether the parliamental majority were confortable or not. But never did the governments give in to these attempts.The elections of 1857, 1884 and 1932 constitute an element of power - although of subsidiary importance - in the discharge of the then governments. The governmental crisis of 1884 however can only be explained if the constitutional position of Leopold II is taken into account. With all other factors alike, such a crisis wouldn't arise any more in the context of to-day. The municipal elections of 1932 have moreover led to anticipated legislative elections whose date was an element of power in the election-process. At that time, these elections played the part of an indicator of the electorial condition, comparable to that of the by elections in Great-Britain. And an unreliable indicator too, in view of the difference between national and local electionstatures.


Bert De Bakker

Mieke Claeys-Van Haegendoren
Article

De politieke participatie aan de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Wilfried Dewachter and Edith Lismont
Abstract

    Municipal elections are not the only channel of participation in the municipal policy nor are they the only participation-problem. But it is nevertheless useful to make research into them because they are the unique institutionalized possibility of participation.This participation-research deals with the different aspects of the municipal elections.The first thing to note is that a number of council-members are pointed out by elections without competition. This phenomenon is not very extended: 373 out of some 2,600 municipalities, 12 % of the council members, 200,000 voters. There is no notable change of size since 1920 in this phenomenon.Compared to the legislative elections, candidatures are very stable and limited: an average of 2,3 candidates per seat. These limited candidatures also mean that in practically half of the cases municipal elections have a two-parties system, by which the electoral corps chose directly the Court of Mayor and Aldermen. But even in municipalities with more than two parties, this «direct choice of the government» is made in 75 % of the cases. In respect of these facts, participation is qualitatively much better than in the case of the parliamentary elections.Forsaking of choice is notably lower at municipal than at parliamentary elections. As to the use of preference-votes, the choice of the municipal electorate is richer than that of the national electorate not only because municipal electors more aften express their preference for individuals, but also and not in the least because, by this more frequent use of preference-votes, they have real participation in the choice of the councilmembers themselves.The possibilities of choice at municipal elections offer an original alternative: to vote beyond party-frontiers with the «mixed vote». This multi-party vote is but seldom used: by 2,5 % of the electorate.And even then those who tlus mixed way lose half of their votingcapacity. Generally seen however, the municipal elections show a more favorable participation-pattern than the legislative ones. This leads to the question if it can be imputed to the voters when something is wrong with municipal politics. Is this problem not-situated on a higher level of the participation-pyramid?


Wilfried Dewachter

Edith Lismont
Article

Bibliothèque de l'Institut Belge de Science Politique

Acquisitions récentes

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica
Article

Verschuivingen in de partijkeuze

Een vergelijking van de uitslagen van de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen 1964 en de parlementaire verkiezingen 1965

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1970
Authors Gerrit Van De Put
Abstract

    It often appears that leading politicians in Belgium consider the results of the municipal elections in the light of national polities. They stick to the thesis that the municipal poll-results, at least in the bigger towns, are more and more influenced by the constellation of the nation's politics.Is it really so that the municipal elections indicate the hearings of the national political situation? Can one draw conclusions from the results of these elections as if they were national ones? And can one,any how, compare municipal to parliamentary elections? By comparison of the results of municipal elections 1964 and of parliamentary elections 1965 it was checked which shifts in party-choice havehappened during this short period of eight months. If no oscillations, or only a few, were detected between both elections, one could conclude that the municipal elections 1964 indicated indeed the hearings of the parliamentary elections 1965.Successively, the national and provincial results of these elections were compared and the party-shifts on national and provincial level were calculated.To make a relevant comparison between the election-results on a lower level, a comparable basic unity had to be found. As there were no municipal data available at parliamentary elections on one side, andonly municipal results at the municipal elections on the other side, the least possible unity for which parliamentary election-results are known, the electoral canton namely, was chosen as a comparison-basis. For that purpose however the results per party had to be additioned in all municipalities belonging to one canton.Part of the electoral cantons was unfit for use as comparison-material for two reasons: the highly varied and often strongly local-coloured political party-structure on one hand, the big number of municipalitieswithout elections on the other hand. So we were bound to make a choice out of 212 electoral cantons. Finally the cantons with a maximum of 4 municipalities were chosen, which limited the number of cantons to 28. These cantons were classified by degree of urbanisation according to the typology of W. Van Waelvelde and H. Van der Haegen.In that classification the percentages of votes in favour of the political parties, at the occasion of these elections, were tabulated and compared.The participating parties and lists were grouped as much as possible around the traditional parties to which they were most related. So we distinguish in Flanders: CVP, BSP, PVV, VU, CPB and other parties ;in the Walloon region: PSC, PSB, PLP PCB, French-speaking lists and other parties.For this analysis we also thought it was relevant to control separately the shifts of the electoral corps in the Flemish, the Walloon and the Brussels cantons. These shifts were then specified according to thedegree of urbanisation.To measure the size of the party-shifts for these elections, the external election-shift standard was calculated for the chosen Flemish, Walloon and Brussels cantons, with a special attention for the degree of urbanisation. Finally we examined which attitude was assumed by the government, the governmental and the opposition parties, in relation to the results of the municipal 1964 elections.It appeared that some notable party-shifts had been realized during the short period between the municipal elections of 1964 and the legislative elections of 1965. In general, a certain polarization has taken place due to a centrifugal vote-shift to the left and still more to the right. The direction of vote-shifts, which had shown at the municipal elections of 1964, was affirmed at the legislative elections of 1965 and for some parties, CVP and PVV namely, it was even accentuated. The parallelism between both elections in relation to the direction of the vote-shifts did not mean however that the size of these shifts was the same everywhere. The image of the shifts was different according to linguistic region and degree of urbanisation.The analysis of the urbanisation-degree showed that the level of oscillations grew higher as the urbanisation-degree grew lower. Seen per linguistic region, the largest shifts had taken place in the Walloon cantons. According to the calculations of the electoral shift standards during the period 1964-1965, the lowest oscillations were noted in the Flemish and Brussels cantons, i.e. the voting-behaviour of the big agglomerations during the municipal elections of 1964 were the closest to the national electoral pattern. Seen that way they were, up to a certain degree, a value-measure for the general policy.Finally the remark should be made that the limitation to the two above-mentioned elections does not allow any generalization of the obtained conclusions. The short period between those elections was itself an exceptional situation which may have been of influence on the results of the comparisons.


Gerrit Van De Put
Article

La crise de la démocratie italienne

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1970
Authors Annamaria Sternberg Montaldi Boisson

Annamaria Sternberg Montaldi Boisson
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