Veranderingen in het Belgische partijenstelsel van 1945 tot 1980

  • Mieke Van Haegendoren


The major changes in the Belgian partysystem occurred within the context of the rise of the welfare state. Most welfare provisions were subcontracted to the different «zuil» organisations, with their political parties functioning as masterorganisation.
The contrasts between «catholic» Flanders and «red» Wallonia dominated the political  agenda, and led up to the fractionalisation of the party-system. The political positions of the parties remained unchanged : ascendancy of the catholics, challenged by the socialists, with the liberals holding the balance, and communists and «federalist» parties being
back in opposition after a short period of governmental participation.
Although party identification has shifted from ideological towards clientelist motives, the party preference of the electorate did not alter. The functions of parties did change : the power of mandatories decreased and parties increasingly control and even formulate public policy.
Television has personalized political propaganda, which is, in between elections, professionally made by highly subsidized cultural masterorganisations.  The costs of electoral propaganda, nowadays runned by commercial - advertising bureaus, have increased substantially. All this led to the decline of the propaganda by volunteers.

How to Cite:

Van Haegendoren, M., (1981) “Veranderingen in het Belgische partijenstelsel van 1945 tot 1980”, Res Publica 23(1), p.29-45. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1981
Peer Reviewed