Search result: 41 articles

Year 1977 x

    The method for calculating the distribution of seats in Belgium in local elections (called the Imperiali-method) is known as a method that favours stronger lists of candidates and is prejudicial to weaker lists. An exhaustive comparison was made between the results - in terms of distribution of seats - of the local elections of 10 October, 1976 and those that would have resulted from a distribution based upon the D'Hondt-method (which is used for all other elections in Belgium). This comparison shows that the distribution of seats would differ in more than two thirds of the communes. In more than one fourth of the communes parties do not obtain any representative under the present system, whereas they would under the D'Hondt system. Local and leftist parties are primarily prejudiced by the present system, whereas the big christian-democratic party is hardly hampered by it. The court of mayor and aldermen - the commune' s executive - is elected by the local councillors, and as a consequence, the majority in the council obtains all seats in the court. At present, these courts consist of representatives of one single list in 61 % of the communes and of representatives of two or more lists (executive coalition) in 39 % of the communes. On the basis of the D'Hondt-method, existing homogeneous (i.e., one party-)courts would have to be replaced by coalitions between parties in more than 10 % of the communes.

Patrick Senaeve

    As a contribution to the commemorations of Spinoza's death (1677), this article describes in a few pages the significance of Spinoza in the evolution of Western political thought. Especially in his (unachieved) Political Treatise, Spinoza attempted to elaborate a «scientific» theory of political life, i.e. a closing deductive theory based upon a «true knowledge of the causes and natural bases» of human actions and passions. In his view it can be proved with a rational necessity that democracy - defined as Spinoza defines it - is the best political regime. He strongly emphasizes that democracy and, consequently, a well organized and efficiently functioning life in common, is impossible without real freedom of opinion and speech and a political «neutralization» of religion.

B.J. De Clercq

H. Van Hassel

Guido Provoost

Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica

Les groupements européens de partis politiques

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1977
Authors Paul Claeys and Nicole Loeb-Mayer

    The prospect of European elections has begun to alter the conditions under which national poli tical parties exercise their functions. It has brought parties to negociate common platforms and to strengthen transnational organizations. How these organizations wilt be structured, what functions they wilt assume, will be determined largely by the issue of a conflict-solving process between existing national structures, by the ability of national parties to accomplish new functions in a European system, and by the demands of that system. This study presents a tentative framework of analysis for the examination of European groupings of political parties. It may help to interpret current negotiations and future actions of these organizations with reference to the criteria, structures and functions that are classically those of political parties. It suggests how new situations in the European field may be met by existing organizations or give rise to original political answers.

Paul Claeys

Nicole Loeb-Mayer

L'expérience des sections

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1977
Authors Claude Courtoy

    In 1974 specialized chambers were introduced in Belgium as an attempt to improve the functioning of the Parliament.Only the Senate endeavoured to put info full practice the experiment of these chambers during the 1974/75 session. The attempt, though proved ephemeral: during the following session a deep cleavage was felt even among those who were initially its fervent advocates. Today, this experiment has been completely nipped in the bud. These chambers have proved inefficient; the goal proving neither attainable nor conclusive. It would appear, therefore, that the specialized chamber is merely a void concept which does not provide for a concrete application. This, at least, is the lesson to be drawn from the «sections» of the Belgian Senate.However, in the context of a reallocation of tasks between the Senate and the House of Representatives, such specialized chambers might prove useful.

Claude Courtoy

Citizenship, direct elections and the European Parliament

Journal Res Publica, Issue 4 1977
Authors Juliet Lodge and Valentine Herman

Juliet Lodge

Valentine Herman

    Since 1971 Belgium has been organized into two cultural communities - Flanders and W allonia - and into three regions - Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia.Bach community and each region has its own financial means and its own legislative capacity. In 1975 a strong political controversy arose concerning the limits of the powers of the region vs. those of the community: which was financially responsible for some matters - the region or the community? This conflict made the problem of the coexistence of two communities and three regions more sensitive.

Philippe Quertainmont

    Based upon the electoral results from the 17/4/1977 general election this study examines how the introduction of a system of single majoritarian representation (as in Great-Britain) might «reshuffle the cards» among the various political parties.Furthermore, one has examined which might be the consequences of the introduction of majoritarian representation for the over-all functioning of the Belgian political system. One bas also explored the possibilities to counterbalance the possible negative consequences of such a representation system.

Luc Holvoet

La campagne en français

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1977
Authors Gabriel Thoveron, Claude Geerts, Michèle Legros e.a.

    The article represents a first approach of the campaign in the frenchspeakingradio and television. A thorough study will be done later. The topics examined here are: the impact of the campaign on the people; the organization of the campaign in the radio and television and the presentation of the different broadcastings in the national and the regional campaign; the topics of the campaign through the political platforms, the debates between several parties and the questions asked by the audience; the personalities and «stars» during the campaign; the audience and the campaign on RTL and in the press.

Gabriel Thoveron

Claude Geerts

Michèle Legros

Jacqueline Thoveron

Roseline Dartevelle

José Manuel Nobre-Correia

    Until 1971 the Belgian Socialist Party (BSP) was the only Belgian party that consulted its members on the composition of candidate-lists for the parliamentary elections. Internal pre-elections were organized for this purpose.Since 1971 however there is a clear trend to abandon this procedure and to make a party-congres the deciding factor. In 1971 and 1974 this trend became predominant in Flanders; it is now also clearly noticeable in Wallonia. Only one out of seventeen Dutch-speaking federations (Antwerp), and seven of the thirteen Frenchspeaking federations organized pre-elections. As they were held in the large federations which send large numbers of members to parliament, there are still more French-speaking candidates in parliament through pre-elections than through a congres appointed list.

Jan Ceuleers

Les élections législatives du 17 avril 1977

Analyse des résultats

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1977
Authors William Fraeys

    The Parliamentary Elections of 17 April 1977 revealed a great stability of the body of electors and largely confirmed the result of the communal elections of 1976. On the 393 seats in Parliament (House of Representatives and Senate), only 38 went to another political family.Nevertheless, this stability does not exclude movements; in this context should be noted the severe set-back of the «Rassemblement Wallon» which looses nearly half of its voters. Its defeat principally benefits the Liberals and the Christian Democrats and, to a lesser extent, the Socialists. In the Flemish region, the Socialists strengthen their position, whereas the Christian Democrats gain ground. Unexpected is the Liberals's setback. The «Volksunie» slightly recedes. In Brussels, PDF is undeniably successful and even exceeds its 1971 result. Communists are losing ground all over the country. In these elections which have been characterized by rather limited vote variations, the «communal tickets» (i.e. those based upon a single cultural group) recede, on the whole, to the benefit of the traditional parties which received a serious blow in 1971, but showed signs of a recovery as soon as 1974.

William Fraeys

Le Rassemblement Wallon au gouvernement

défi au gouvernement ou défi au parti?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 1977
Authors Pierre Lefev

    The participation of the Rassemblement Wallon (Walloon Gathering) in the Belgian government, from June 1974 to March 1977, pointed to great incoherence. Bebind the many incidents characterizing this experience, a ma;or change seems to have taken place within this party as well as in Belgian politics. Isolated in the government coalition, the RW was sub;ect to growing internal tensions, which resulted in the outline of contradictory strategies. The failure of its openings towards the right caused a rift in the party, thus necessitating alternate alliances with «the left», through a rapprochement towards the PSB (Belgian Socialist Party) and the FDF (Front of the French-speaking). This evolution highly contributed to the signing of an agreement between the three regions and to the onset of Belgium towards federalism.

Pierre Lefev

    At the general elections, the Belgian voter has the possibility to bring out either a vote for a party (a liste-vote) or a vote for a candidate of the party (a preferential vote). At the general elections of April 17, 1977 for the House of Representatives the voters have voted for 50,26 % by preference, whereas for the Senate 40,65 % of them have done so. The use of preferential votes is varying from one electoral district to another: from 69,96 % in the district of Oudenaarde to 32,85 % in Bergen. There is also a difference from one political party to another. The highest percentage is obtained by the PW-PLP (liberal party): 59,51 %; the lowest by the KPB-PCB (communist party): 30,14 %. The preferential votes individual candidates obtain differ widely, pointing out not only their popularity but also to a certain extend their political power.

Mark Deweerdt

    Although in Radio and TV-programmes the dutchspeaking radio and television (BRT) gives much attention to the election campaign, reporters and journalists manage to stick to the status of non agens, conforming the BRT-constitution. There is no difficulty to interview political leaders or ask them for collaboration in one or another programme, during the election campaign. The nearer election-day comes, the more difficult it is to stay neutral. In the radio-programmes one simply avoided to interview political leaders the last weeks before election-day. As for the TV-programmes, one managed to give the campaign with all pro's and con's, the typical detail and the striking events in puredocumentary style.

Herman Santy

    The problem of political apathy and poor representation of women in the Belgian parliament bas been focused and seriously challenged with the 1974 parliamentary elections. Two different strategies hereby have been developed: on the one hand a separate, exclusive feminist party; on the other hand a strategy of female candidates on the more conventional ballots. The effects of both strategies are quite remarkable: whereas the newcoming feminist party was struggling with breakthrough problems, the female candidate strategy strongly effected the amount of female candidates, elected women, as well as the votes given to women, compared to previous elections. The accurate relationship between the women's campaign and its election effect can hardly be determined for the election determinant is too complex. The propaganda however, was an attempt to change the traditional image of women and to increase the political participation and emancipation of women via the instrument of parliamentary elections. The 1977 results, however, hardly equated the optimistic prospects of 1974: the feminist party didn't survive its second participation and the candidate strategyurgently needs permanent action and political sensibilisation.

Mia Nysmans

Pax medica op de helling?

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1977
Authors Yvo Nuyens

    After the sharp confiicts between the government and the medical unions in 1964 on the occasion of the health insurance reform, which introduced the «agreement system» for medical fees and repayments, a form of bargaining economy has developed in Belgian health care, with sick funds and medical unions as the major parties. This «Pax Medica» seems to be threatened by a series of financially motivated government measures aimed at reducing the medical group's professional autonomy and dominance. This article discusses the historical context, the parties involved and the development of these confiicts, pointing out the striking analogy with those of 1964, particularly as far as the unions strategy is concerned. The present state of affairs suggests not a threatening of the «Pax Medica», but rather a stabilization of the established power relationship between government, sick funds and medical unions, which will respect and continue the rules of democratic compromise.

Yvo Nuyens

Biblographie de l'année politique 1976

Journal Res Publica, Issue 2 1977
Authors Editor Res Publica

Editor Res Publica
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