Waiting for the 'big one'. The uncertain survival of the Belgian parties and party systems

Res Publica 38 (2):295-306 (1996)
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Abstract

The Belgian party system is aften considered to be or to have been very stable. This article investigates the possibility of the Belgian parties and party systems to 'go Italian ', i.e. to be confronted with a radicial change resulting from a fundamental lack of legitimacy. This problem of legitimation can be expected from the fact that Belgium is a very consociational democracy, in which the parties play a very important role, but tend to become very entangled with the state. The split of the national parties and the federal reform of the state have made the decision-making structures even more complex than before, and have therefore not at all reduced the 'partitocratic' nature of the system. For these reasons a future Italian-style collapse of the parties and the party systems is certainly not to be excluded.

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