Author: Frans Verriest
Corporatist opposition against the introduction of a system of proportional representation in Belgium can essentially be reduced to the opposition by Joris Helleputte. The main reason for this anti-proportionalism way
that proportional representation would seriously endanger the growth of a catholic corporatist party ("standenpartij") and - in the long run - of a catholic corporatist state. In 1894 though, political corporatism is
already on its way back, and so is socio-economie corporatism from 1899 on.
In the "Belgische Volksbond" a large majority has come to accept proportional representation. This is one of the main reasons which lead Joris Helleputte on the 21th of July 1895 to definitely resign as a president of this association. Hid 1894 Helleputte had already founded the antiproportionalist newspaper "L'Union" but this disappeared within that same year. Another newspaper venture of his, "Le XXm Siècle" (from the 5th of June 1895 on) wilt prove more successful, and wilt become an eminent propaganda-tool against proportional representation.
On the 4th of July 1899 Helleputte - together with Woeste - presents a proposal in parliament to introduce the uninominal system.
A judicious gerrymandering would then ensure a huge catholic majority.
Helleputte took it for granted that within the catholic party each "stand" (estate) would get a fair share of the seats. But the Helleputte-Woeste proposal dit not receive sufficient support. And eventually proportional representation for the legislative elections was introduced by law on the 29th of December 1899.
How to Cite: Verriest, F. (1976) “Corporatief verzet tegen het invoeren van de evenredige vertegenwoordiging in België”, Res Publica. 18(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.21825/rp.v18i1.19520