Advertisement

Constituting the List Amid Time of Personalisation of Politics: The Balance of Congruent and Popular Candidates in Belgian Political Parties

  • Jérémy DodeigneEmail author
  • Conrad Meulewaeter
  • Christophe Lesschaeve
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter analyses how Belgian party selectorates negotiate two—potentially conflicting—strategies during candidate selection procedures, namely vote-seeking strategy (recruiting ‘popular candidates’) and policy-seeking strategy (enlisting ‘party soldiers’). We hypothesise that personalised politics is not necessarily a zero-sum game—i.e. the erosion of collective ideology at the expense of individuals—because political parties can balance their lists of candidates using both strategies. To test that hypothesis, we use an innovative and consistent measurement of candidate-party congruence developed in the Belgian Candidate Survey and the Voting Aid Application. We demonstrate that Belgian parties use both strategies as a trade-off to balance their lists, even though parties are ultimately ready to sacrifice their own unity to recruit the most popular candidates.

References

  1. Adam, Silke, and Michaela Maier. 2010. “Personalization of Politics. A Critical Review and Agenda for Research.” Communication Yearbook 34: 213–57.Google Scholar
  2. Aldrich, John H. 1995. Why Parties? The Origin and Transformation of Political Parties in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Andeweg, Rudy B., and Jacques Thomassen. 2010. “Pathways to Party Unity: Sanctions, Loyalty, Homogeneity and Division of Labour in the Dutch Parliament.” Party Politics 17 (5): 655–72.Google Scholar
  4. André, Audrey, and Sam Depauw. 2013. “District Magnitude and Home Styles of Representation in European Democracies.” West European Politics 36 (5): 986–1006.Google Scholar
  5. André, Audrey, Sam Depauw, Matthew S. Shugart, and Roman Chytilek. 2017. “Party Nomination Strategies in Flexible-List Systems: Do Preference Votes Matter?” Party Politics 23 (5): 589–600.Google Scholar
  6. André, Audrey, Bram Wauters, and Jean-Benoit Pilet. 2012. “It’s Not Only About Lists: Explaining Preference Voting in Belgium.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 22 (3): 293–313.Google Scholar
  7. Bäck, Hanna. 2012. “The Ideological Cohesion of Parliamentary Parties and Its Implications for Decision-Making in Modern Democracies.” Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift 114 (1): 68–76.Google Scholar
  8. Beblavý, Miroslav, and Marcela Veselkova. 2014. “Preferential Voting and the Party-electorate Relationship in Slovakia.” Party Politics 20 (4): 521–32.Google Scholar
  9. Bélanger, Éric, and Bonnie M. Meguid. 2008. “Issue Salience, Issue Ownership, and Issue-Based Vote Choice.” Electoral Studies 27 (3): 477–91.Google Scholar
  10. Belchior, Ana Maria, and André Freire. 2013. “Is Party Type Relevant to an Explanation of Policy Congruence? Catchall Versus Ideological Parties in the Portuguese Case.” International Political Science Review 34 (3): 273–88.Google Scholar
  11. Best, Heinrich, and Maurizio Cotta. 2000. “Parliamentary Representatives in Europe, 1848–2000: Legislative Recruitment and Careers in Eleven European Countries.” Comparative European Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Borchert, Jens. 2011. “Individual Ambition and Institutional Opportunity: A Conceptual Approach to Political Careers in Multi-level Systems.” Regional and Federal Studies 21 (2): 117–40.Google Scholar
  13. Borchert, Jens, and Jürgen Zeiss, eds. 2003. The Political Class in Advanced Democracies: A Comparative Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Bowler, Shaun, and David M. Farrell. 2011. “Electoral Institutions and Campaigning in Comparative Perspective: Electioneering in European Parliament Elections.” European Journal of Political Research 50 (5): 668–88.Google Scholar
  15. Bräuninger, Thomas, Martin Brunner, and Thomas Däubler. 2012. “Personal Vote-Seeking in Flexible List Systems: How Electoral Incentives Shape Belgian MPs’ Bill Initiation Behaviour.” European Journal of Political Research 51 (5): 607–45.Google Scholar
  16. Carey, John M. 2007. “Competing Principals, Political Institutions, and Party Unity in Legislative Voting.” American Journal of Political Science 51 (1): 92–107.Google Scholar
  17. Carey, John M. 2009. Legislative Voting and Accountability. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Carey, John M., and Matthew Soberg Shugart. 1995. “Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas.” Electoral Studies 14 (4): 417–39.Google Scholar
  19. Ceron, Andrea. 2015. “Brave Rebels Stay Home: Assessing the Effect of Intra-party Ideological Heterogeneity and Party Whip on Roll-Call Votes.” Party Politics 21 (2): 246–58.Google Scholar
  20. Costa Lobo, Marina, and John Curtice. 2015. Personality Politics? The Role of Leader Evaluations in Democratic Elections. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Cordero, Guillermo, and Xavier Coller. 2015. “Cohesion and Candidate Selection in Parliamentary Groups.” Parliamentary Affairs 68 (3): 592–615.Google Scholar
  22. Cotta, Maurizo, and Heinrich Best, eds. 2007. Democratic Representation in Europe Diversity, Change, and Convergence. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Cox, Gary W. 1997. Making Votes Count: Strategic Coordination in the World’s Electoral Systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Crisp, Brian F., Santiago Olivella, Michael Malecki, and Mindy Sher. 2013. “Vote-Earning Strategies in Flexible List Systems: Seats at the Price of Unity.” Electoral Studies 32 (4): 658–69.Google Scholar
  25. Crisp, Brian F., Maria C. Escobar-Lemmon, Bradford S. Jones, Mark P. Jones, and Michelle M. Taylor-Robinson. 2004. “Vote-Seeking Incentives and Legislative Representation in Six Presidential Democracies.” Political Science 66 (3): 823–46.Google Scholar
  26. Dalton, Russell J., and Martin P. Wattenberg, eds. 2000. Parties Without Partisans. Political Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Dandoy, Régis, Jérémy Dodeigne, Min Reuchamps, and Audrey Vandeleene. 2015. “The New Belgian Senate. A (Dis)continued Evolution of Federalism in Belgium?” Representation 51 (3): 327–39.Google Scholar
  28. Dassonneville, Ruth, and Pierre Baudewyns. 2014. “Élections de mai 2014, signe de volatilité extrême? Une analyse des transferts de voix lors des élections du 25 mai 2014.” Courrier hebdomadaire du CRISP 2225: 10–19.Google Scholar
  29. Deschouwer, Kris. 2009. “And the Peace Goes On? Consociational Democracy and Belgian Politics in the Twenty-First Century.” In The Politics of Belgium. Institutions and Policy Under Bipolar and Centrifugal Federalism, edited by Marleen Brans, Wilfried Swenden Lieven De Winter, 33–49. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Desposato, Scott. 2004. “The Impact of Federalism on National Party Cohesion in Brazil.” Legislative Studies Quarterly 29 (2): 259–85.Google Scholar
  31. De Winter, Lieven. 1988. “Belgium: Democracy or Oligarchy?” In Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspective. The Secret Garden of Politics, edited by Michael Gallagher and Michael Marsh, 20–46. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  32. De Winter, Lieven, Marc Swyngedouw, and Patrick Dumont. 2006. “Party System(s) and Electoral Behaviour in Belgium: From Stability to Balkanisation.” West European Politics 29 (5): 933–56.Google Scholar
  33. Diermeier, Daniel, and Timothy J. Feddersen. 1998a. “Cohesion in Legislatures and the Vote of Confidence Procedure.” The American Political Science Review 92 (3): 611–21.Google Scholar
  34. Diermeier, Daniel, and Timothy J. Feddersen. 1998b. “Comparing Constitutions: Cohesion and Distribution in Legislatures.” European Economic Review 42 (3–5): 665–72.Google Scholar
  35. Dodeigne, Jérémy. 2015. “Representing a Minority Group in Multinational Federal Systems: Career Patterns in Catalonia, Scotland and Wallonia.” Doctoral thesis, Université de Liège and Université catholique de Louvain, Liège.Google Scholar
  36. Dodeigne, Jérémy. 2018. “Who Governs? The Disputed Effects of Regionalism on Legislative Career Orientation in Multilevel Systems.” West European Politics.  https://doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2017.1415549.
  37. Dodeigne, Jérémy, and Jean-Benoit Pilet. 2018. “The Concentration of Votes for Candidates in List PR Systems. Measuring Centralized and Decentralized Personalization with the Gini Coefficient and the Effective Number of Candidates.” Paper presented at the ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Nicosia, Nicosia.Google Scholar
  38. Dolezal, Martin, Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik, Wolfgang C. Müller, and Anna Katharina Winkler. 2014. “How Parties Compete for Votes: A Test of Saliency Theory.” European Journal of Political Research 53 (1): 57–76.Google Scholar
  39. Downs, Anthony. 1957. “An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy.” The Journal of Political Economy 65 (2): 135–50.Google Scholar
  40. Gallagher, Michael, and Michael Marsh, eds. 1988. Candidate Selection in Comparative Perspective: The Secret Garden of Politics. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  41. Garzia, Diego. 2012. “Party and Leader Effects in Parliamentary Elections: Towards a Reassessment.” Politics 32 (3): 175–85.Google Scholar
  42. Giannetti, Daniela, and Kenneth Benoit, eds. 2009. Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Governments. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Halldén, Ola. 1998. “Personalization in Historical Descriptions and Explanations.” Learning and Instruction 8 (2): 131–39.Google Scholar
  44. Hazan, Reuven Y. 2003. “Introduction.” The Journal of Legislative Studies 9 (4): 1–11.Google Scholar
  45. Hazan, Reuven Y., and Gideon Rahat. 2010. Democracy Within Parties: Candidate Selection Methods and Their Political Consequences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Heitshusen, Valerie, Garry Young, and David M. Wood. 2005. “Electoral Context and MP Constituency Focus in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (1): 32–45.Google Scholar
  47. Hix, Simon. 2004. “Electoral Institutions and Legislative Behavior: Explaining Voting Defection in the European Parliament.” World Politics 56 (2): 194–223.Google Scholar
  48. Holtz-Bacha, Christina, Eva-Maria Lessinger, and Merle Hettesheimer. 1998. “Personalisierung Als Strategie Der Wahlwerbung.” In Die Veröffentlichung Des Privaten-die Privatisierung Des Öffentlichen, edited by K. Imhof and P. Schulz, 240–50. Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.Google Scholar
  49. Kam, Christopher J. 2009. Party Discipline and Parliamentary Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Karvonen, Lauri. 2007. “The Personalization of Politics: What Does Research Tell Us So Far, and What Further Research Is in Order?” Paper presented at the ECPR General Conference, Pisa, Italy.Google Scholar
  51. Karvonen, Lauri. 2010. The Personalisation of Politics: A Study of Parliamentary Democracies. Colchester: ECPR Press.Google Scholar
  52. Katz, Richard S. 2014. “No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Party Politicians, Party Members, Citizens and Principal-Agent Models of Democracy.” Party Politics 20 (2): 183–93.Google Scholar
  53. Kitschelt, Herbert. 2000. “Citizens, Politicians, and Party Cartellization: Political Representation and State Failure in Post-industrial Democracies.” European Journal of Political Research 37 (2): 149–79.Google Scholar
  54. Laver, Michael, and Norman Schofield. 1998. Multiparty Government: The Politics of Coalition in Europe. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  55. Laver, Michael, and Kenneth A. Shepsle. 1996. Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  56. Mainwaring, Scott P. 1999. Rethinking Party Systems in the Third Wave of Democratization: The Case of Brazil. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. McAllister, Ian. 2007. “The Personalization of Politics.” In The Oxford Handbooks of Political Science: The Oxford Handbook of Political Behaviour, edited by Russell J. Dalton and Hans-Dieter Klingemann, 571–88. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Google Scholar
  58. Mazzoleni, Gianpietro. 2000. “A Return to Civic and Political Engagement Prompted by Personalized Political Leadership?” Political Communication 17 (4): 325–28.Google Scholar
  59. Owens, John E. 2003. “Part 1: Cohesion.” The Journal of Legislative Studies 9 (4): 12–40.Google Scholar
  60. Özbudun, Ergun. 1970. Party Cohesion in Western Democracies: A Causal Analysis. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  61. Proksch, Sven‐Oliver, and Jonathan B. Slapin. 2011. “Parliamentary Questions and Oversight in the European Union.” European Journal of Political Research 50 (1): 53–79.Google Scholar
  62. Put, Gert-Jan, and Bart Maddens. 2013. “The Selection of Candidates for Eligible Positions on PR Lists: The Belgian/Flemish Federal Elections 1999–2010.” Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 23 (1): 49–65.Google Scholar
  63. Rahat, Gideon. 2007. “Determinants of Party Cohesion: Evidence from the Case of the Israeli Parliament.” Parliamentary Affairs 60 (2): 279–96.Google Scholar
  64. Ranney, Austin. 1981. “Candidate Selection.” In Democracy at the Polls, edited by David Butler, Howard R. Penniman, and Austin Ranney, 75–106. Washington, DC: American Enterprise Institute.Google Scholar
  65. Renwick, Alan, and Jean-Benoit Pilet. 2016. Faces on the Ballot. The Personalization of Electoral Systems in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  66. Sartori, Giovanni. 1976. Parties and Party System. A Framework for Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  67. Shugart, Matthew Soberg. 1998. “The Inverse Relationship Between Party Strength and Executive Strength: A Theory of Politicians’ Constitutional Choices.” British Journal of Political Science 28 (1): 1–29.Google Scholar
  68. Shugart, Matthew Søberg, Melody Ellis Valdini, and Kati Suominen. 2005. “Looking for Locals: Voter Information Demands and Personal Vote-Earning Attributes of Legislators Under Proportional Representation.” American Journal of Political Science 49 (2): 437–49.Google Scholar
  69. Sieberer, Ulrich. 2006. “Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies: A Comparative Analysis.” The Journal of Legislative Studies. 12 (2): 150–17.Google Scholar
  70. Stone, Walter J., Nathan J. Hadley, Rolfe D. Peterson, Cherie D. Maestas, and L. Sandy Maisel. 2006. “Candidate Quality and Voter Response in U.S. House Elections.” Paper presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting.Google Scholar
  71. Tavits, Margit. 2010. “Effect of Local Ties on Electoral Success and Parliamentary Behaviour: The Case of Estonia.” Party Politics 16 (2): 215–35.Google Scholar
  72. Thomassen, JJA. 1994. “Empirical Research into Political Representation: Failing Democracy or Failing Models?” In Elections at Home and Abroad: Essays in Honor of Warren Miller, edited by M. Kent Jennings and T. E. Mann. 237–65. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
  73. Traber, Denise, Simon Hug, and Pascal Sciarini. 2014. “Party Unity in the Swiss Parliament: The Electoral Connection.” The Journal of Legislative Studies 20 (2): 193–215.Google Scholar
  74. Valdini, Melody Ellis. 2006. “Electoral Institutions and Information Shortcuts: The Effect of Decisive Intraparty Competition on the Behavior of Voters and Party Elites.” PhD dissertation, UC San Diego.Google Scholar
  75. Vandeleene, Audrey, Jérémy Dodeigne, and Lieven De Winter. 2016. “What Do Selectorates Seek? A Comparative Analysis of Belgian Federal and Regional Candidate Selection Processes in 2014.” American Behavioral Scientist 60 (7): 889–908.Google Scholar
  76. Wattenberg, Martin P., ed. 1991. The Rise of Candidate-Centered Politics: Presidential Elections in the 1980s. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  77. Weber, Max. 1946. “Politics as a Vocation.” In From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology, edited by H. H. Gerth and C. Mills Wright, 77–128. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  78. Zittel, Thomas. 2015. “Constituency Candidates in Comparative Perspective-How Personalized Are Constituency Campaigns, Why, and Does It Matter?” Electoral Studies 39: 286–94.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jérémy Dodeigne
    • 1
    Email author
  • Conrad Meulewaeter
    • 2
  • Christophe Lesschaeve
    • 3
  1. 1.University of NamurNamurBelgium
  2. 2.Université catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  3. 3.University of LuxemburgLuxemburg CityLuxemburg

Personalised recommendations