Belgium: Political Professionals and the Crisis of the Party State

Lieven De Winter and Marleen Brans

in The Political Class in Advanced Democracies

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780199260362
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780191601873 | DOI:
 Belgium: Political Professionals and the Crisis of the Party State

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The complex character of the Belgian political class is strongly shaped by institutional federalization, party fragmentation, and executive dominance in policy making. Since a national parliamentary mandate offers only limited influence in an institution with relatively scarce resources, most MPs combine their national with a local political office. Together with a local or regional party office, such a cumul local has several benefits: visibility at the local level and thus an advantage in the locally organised candidate selection, accumulation of experience for higher offices, larger personal and financial resources, and more material and executive influence at least on the local level. However, high degrees of public disaffection with the Belgian parties since the end of the 1980s have led to gradual changes in this system and a weakening of the party's grip on the political and public sector.

Keywords: Belgium; delegitimization; federalization; local office; partitocracy; party office; political class; reform

Chapter.  10982 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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