Advertisement

Acta Politica

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 273–297 | Cite as

Ethnic voting in Brussels: Voting patterns among ethnic minorities in Brussels (Belgium) during the 2006 local elections

  • Celine TeneyEmail author
  • Dirk Jacobs
  • Andrea Rea
  • Pascal Delwit
Original Article

Abstract

In recent years immigrant origin ethnic minorities have become a non-negligible electoral group in Belgian cities. Numerous studies have been undertaken in Belgium on the link between immigrant associational life and political participation and on the profiles of politicians of immigrant origin, but not yet on party choice and voting patterns among ethnic minority groups. In this article, we present the first analysis of voting patterns of ethnic minority groups in Belgium, making use of exit poll data on the local elections for three municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region. We investigate whether non-EU immigrant origin voters have a particular party preference which cannot be explained by other background variables such as educational level or socio-economic position. We also look into the issue of preferential voting for candidates of immigrant origin. According to the theory on political opportunity structures, one would expect a lesser importance of ethnic voting in the Belgian context (in which ethnic mobilisation is discursively discouraged). Ethnic voting, however, turns out to be quite important in the Brussels’ context.

Keywords

electoral participation ethnic minorities Brussels Belgium 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Faculté des Sciences sociales, politiques et économiques/Solvay Business School of the Université Libre de Bruxelles for financial assistance in organizing the exit polls. We also thank the two anonymous reviewers of Acta Politica for their comments and suggestions which have helped improve this contribution.

References

  1. Bousetta, H., Gsir, S. and Jacobs, D. (2005) Active Civic Participation of Immigrants in Belgium. Oldenburg. Country Report prepared for the European Research Project POLITIS, www.uni-oldenburg.de/politis-europe.
  2. Heelsum, A.van and Tillie, J. (2006) Opkomst en partijvoorkeur van migranten bij de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen van 7 maart 2006. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: IMES.Google Scholar
  3. Jacobs, D. and Rea, A. (2009) Allochthones in the Netherlands and Belgium. International Migration, accepted, to be published.Google Scholar
  4. Jacobs, D., Martiniello, M. and Rea, A. (2002) Changing patterns of political participation of citizens of immigrant origin in the Brussels Capital Region: The October 2000 election. Journal of International Migration and Integration/Revue de l'intégration et de la migration internationale 3 (2): 201–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Jacobs, D., Phalet, K. and Swyngedouw, M. (2004) Associational membership and political involvement among ethnic minority groups in Brussels. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 30 (3): 543–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jacobs, D., Bousetta, H., Rea, A., Martiniello, M. and Swyngedouw, M. (2006) Qui sont les candidats aux élections bruxelloises? Le profil des candidats à l'élection au parlement de la Région de Bruxelles Capitale du 13 Juin 2004. Cahiers Migrations, Vol. 37. Bruxelles, Belgium: Academia Bruylant.Google Scholar
  7. Kaufman, L. and Schervish, P. (1986) Using adjusted cross tabulations to interpret log-linear relationships. American Review of Sociology 51: 717–733.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Koopmans, R., Statham, P., Giugni, M. and Passy, F. (2005) Contested Citizenship. Immigration and Cultural Diversity in Europe. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  9. Leighley, J. (2001) Strength in Numbers? The Political Mobilization of Racial and Ethnic Minorities. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Swyngedouw, M. (1989) De keuze van de kiezer. Naar een verbetering van de schattingen van verschuivingen in de partijvoorkeur bij opeenvolgende verkiezingen en peilingen. Leuven/Rotterdam: KULeuven/Erasmus Universiteit.Google Scholar
  11. Swyngedouw, M. and Jacobs, D. (2006) Qui a voté en 2003 pour les candidats d'origine étrangère en Flandre (Belgique)? In: B. Khader, M. Martiniello, A. Rea and C. Timmerman (eds.) Penser l'immigration et l'intégration autrement. Une initiative belge inter-universitaire. Bruxelles, Belgium: Bruylant, pp. 159–176.Google Scholar
  12. Swyngedouw, M., Billiet, J. and Goeminne, B. (2007) De kiezer onderzocht. De verkiezingen van 2003 en 2004 in Vlaanderen. Leuven, Belgium: Universitaire Pers Leuven.Google Scholar
  13. Tillie, J. (2000) De etnische stem. Opkomst en stemgedrag van migranten tijdens gemeenteraadsverkiezingen, 1986–1998. Utrecht, the Netherlands: Forum.Google Scholar
  14. Vasta, E. (2007) From ethnic minorities to ethnic majority policy: Multiculturalism and the shift to assimilationism in the Netherlands. Ethnic and Racial Studies 30 (5): 713–740.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Verba, S., Nie, N. and Kim, J. (1978) Participation and Political Equality: A Seven Nation Comparison. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Verba, S., Schlozman, K. and Brady, H. (1995) Voice and Equality. Civic Voluntarism in American Politics. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Vermunt, J.K. (1997) LEM: A General Program for the Analysis of Categorical Data. Tilburg: Department of Methodology and Statistics, Tilburg University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Celine Teney
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dirk Jacobs
    • 1
  • Andrea Rea
    • 1
  • Pascal Delwit
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut de Sociologie – METICES – ULBBruxellesBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Political SciencesCEVIPOL, ULB

Personalised recommendations