Acta Politica

, Volume 52, Issue 2, pp 241–260 | Cite as

The within-district distribution of party candidates: A geographical analysis of party lists for Belgian lower house elections

  • Gert-Jan Put
  • Bart Maddens
  • Frederik Verleden
Original Article

Abstract

Both political science and electoral geography scholars have demonstrated that locally rooted candidates matter in parliamentary elections. This article examines whether parties change the within-district distribution of party candidates to respond to local electoral volatility. If parties significantly lose votes in an area, they might consider compensating for this loss by increasing the number of local candidates in that area. Using data on the composition of candidate lists and election results for the Belgian Lower House (1987–2010) of eight political parties, we analyze the relationship between local vote shares and local candidate shares. In addition, we examine whether parties’ nomination strategies are determined by the nature of their candidate selection processes. The OLS regression model shows that Belgian parties generally increase local candidate shares in response to local electoral setbacks. We found weak support for the argument that strategies on the within-district distribution of party candidates are related to intraparty candidate selection processes.

Keywords

electoral geography candidate selection local candidates local electoral volatility Belgium 

References

  1. André, A., Wauters, B. and Pilet, J.B. (2012) It’s not only about lists: Explaining preference voting in Belgium. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 22(3): 293–313.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. André, A., Depauw, S., Shugart, M. and Chytilek, R. (2015) Party nomination strategies in flexible-list systems: Do preference votes matter? Party Politics, published online, http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/early/2015/10/16/1354068815610974.full.
  3. Arzheimer, K. and Evans, J. (2012) Geolocation and voting: Candidate – voter distance effects on party choice in the 2010 UK general election in England. Political Geography 31(5): 301–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bille, L. (2001) Democratizing a democratic procedure: Myth or reality? Candidate selection in Western European parties, 1960–1990. Party Politics 7(3): 363–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blais, A., Gidengil, E., Dobrzinska, A., Nevitte, N. and Nadeau, R. (2003) Does the local candidate matter? Candidate effects in the Canadian election of 2000. Canadian Journal of Political Science 36(3): 657–664.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bochel, J. and Denver, D. (1983) Candidate selection in the Labour party: What the selectors seek. British Journal of Political Science 13(1): 45–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Caramani, D. (2004) The Nationalization of Politics: The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Carty, R., Eagles, D. and Sayers, A. (2003) Candidates and local campaigns: Are there just four Canadian types? Party Politics 9(5): 619–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Childs, S. and Cowley, P. (2011) The politics of local presence: Is there a case for descriptive representation? Political Studies 59(1): 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cox, K.R. (1969) The voting decision in a spatial context. Progress in Geography 1(1): 81–117.Google Scholar
  11. Deschouwer, K. (1994) Organiseren of Bewegen? De Evolutie van de Belgische Partijstructuren sinds 1960. Brussels, Belgium: VUB Press.Google Scholar
  12. De Winter, L. (1988) Belgium: Democracy or oligarchy? In: M. Gallagher and M. Marsh (eds.) The Secret Garden of Politics: Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspective. London: Sage, pp. 20–46.Google Scholar
  13. De Winter, L. (2005) Belgium: Empowering voters or party elites? In: M. Gallagher and P. Mitchell (eds.) The Politics of Electoral Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 417–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fiers, S. and Pilet, J.B. (2006) Candidate selection in Belgium: From intra-party democracy over oligarchy to ‘guided’ democracy. Paper presented at the IPSA World Conference; 9–13 July, Fukuoka, Japan.Google Scholar
  15. Gallagher, M. and Marsh, M. (1988) Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspective: The Secret Garden of Politics. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Górecki, M.A. and Marsh, M. (2012) Not just ‘friends and neighbours’: Canvassing, geographic proximity and voter choice. European Journal of Political Research 51(5): 563–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hazan, R. (1997) The 1996 intra-party elections in Israel: Adopting party primaries. Electoral Studies 16(1): 95–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hazan, R. (1999) Constituency interests without constituencies: The geographical impact of candidate selection on party organization and legislative behavior in the 14th Israeli Knesset, 1996–99. Political Geography 18(7): 791–811.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hazan, R. and Rahat, G. (2006) Candidate selection: Methods and consequences. In: R. Katz and W. Crotty (eds.) Handbook of Party Politics. London: Sage, pp. 109–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hazan, R. and Rahat, G. (2010) Democracy Within Parties: Candidate Selection Methods and Their Political Consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Key, V.O. (1949) Southern Politics in State and Nation. New York: Alfred Knopf.Google Scholar
  22. Latner, M. and McGann, A. (2005) Geographical representation under proportional representation: The cases of Israel and the Netherlands. Electoral Studies 24(4): 709–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lundell, K. (2004) Determinants of candidate selection: The degree of centralization in comparative perspective. Party Politics 10(1): 25–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Maddens, B. and Put, G.J. (2011) Maken sterke lijsten een verschil? Een analyse van de lijsten bij de federale en regionale verkiezingen in het Vlaams gewest (2003–2010). Res Publica: Tijdschrift voor Politologie 53(2): 165–188.Google Scholar
  25. Marsh, M. (1987) Electoral evaluations of candidates in Irish general elections 1948–82. Irish Political Studies 2(1): 65–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller, W.L. (1978) Social class and party choice in England: A new analysis. British Journal of Political Science 8(3): 257–284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Miller, J.M. and Krosnick, J.A. (1998) The impact of candidate name order on election outcomes. Public Opinion Quarterly 62(3): 291–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Parker, A.J. (1983) Localism and bailiwicks: The Galway West constituency in the 1977 general election. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 83c: 17–36.Google Scholar
  29. Pattie, C. and Johnston, R. (1999) Context, conversation and conviction: Social networks and voting at the 1992 British general election. Political Studies 47(5): 877–889.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Put, G.J. and Maddens, B. (2013) The selection of candidates for eligible positions on PR lists: The Belgian/Flemish federal elections 1999-2010. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 23(1): 49–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Put, G.J. and Maddens, B. (2015) The effect of municipality size and local office on the electoral success of Belgian/Flemish election candidates: A multilevel analysis. Government and Opposition 50(4): 607–628.Google Scholar
  32. Putnam, R.D. (1966) Political attitudes and the local community. American Political Science Review 60(3): 640–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rahat, G., Hazan, R. and Katz, R. (2008) Democracy and political parties: On the uneasy relationships between participation, competition and representation. Party Politics 14(6): 663–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sartori, G. (1976) Parties and Party Systems: A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Shomer, Y. (2009) Candidate selection procedures, seniority, and vote-seeking behavior. Comparative Political Studies 42(7): 945–970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Shugart, M.S. (2005) Comparative electoral systems research: the maturation of a field and new challenges ahead. In: M. Gallagher and P. Mitchell (eds.) The Politics of Electoral Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 25–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Shugart, M., Valdini, M. and Suominen, K. (2005) Looking for locals: Voter information demands and personal vote-earning attributes of legislators under proportional representation. American Journal of Political Science 49(2): 437–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tavits, M. (2009) The making of mavericks local loyalties and party defection. Comparative Political Studies 42(6): 793–815.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tavits, M. (2010) Effect of local ties on electoral success and parliamentary behaviour. Party Politics 16(2): 215–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Tremblay, M. (2012) Women and Legislative Representation: Electoral Systems, Political Parties, and Sex Quotas. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Valdini, M.E. (2012) A deterrent to diversity: The conditional effect of electoral rules on the nomination of women candidates. Electoral Studies 31(4): 740–749.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Verleden, F. (2013) De toegang tot de parlementaire elite. Politieke rekrutering en lijstvorming in België in historisch perspectief. Paper presented at the Dutch-Belgian Politicologenetmaal; 30–31 May, Ghent, Belgium.Google Scholar
  43. Wauters, B., Noppe, J. and Fiers, S. (2003) Nationale kopstukken, lokale sterkhouders en onbekende kandidaten: een analyse van de lokale verankering van kandidaten en gekozenen bij de parlementsverkiezingen van 18 mei 2003. Belgeo: Belgian Journal of Geography 2(2003): 165–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wauters, B., Weekers, K. and Pilet, J.B. (2004) Het gebruik van de voorkeurstem bij de regionale en Europese parlementsverkiezingen van 13 juni 2004. Res Publica 46(2–3): 377–411.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert-Jan Put
    • 1
  • Bart Maddens
    • 1
  • Frederik Verleden
    • 2
  1. 1.Public Governance Institute, KU Leuven3000 LeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Political Research, KU Leuven3000 LeuvenBelgium

Personalised recommendations