chapter  4
24 Pages

Party System(s) and Electoral Behaviour Lieven De Winter, in Belgium: From Stability Marc Swyngedouw to Balkanisation and Patrick Dumont

This article addresses the evolution of the Belgian polity from its unitary and stable period up until the mid-1960s to the present situation of high fragmentation of the party system and centrifugal tendencies of parties and electoral behaviour. The absence of integration between Flemish-and French-speaking parties, the importance of the community cleavage at the level of party elites, and observed divergences in the weight of other cleavages at the level of the electorate all point to the fact that, despite state and electoral reforms, the polities of the two main regions have increasingly diverged and now display deeply entrenched differences.