De formele aanstelling van de partijvoorzitters in België, 1944-1990

  • Marc Maes


Most party by-laws are too inexhaustive and vague to be adequate guidelines for describing party chairmanship or predicting the actual proceedings of chairman elections. Although nearly all party by-laws prescribe competitive elections, one candidate elections occur in 68 % of the cases and in nearly 25% of all cases the unique candidate is elected by acclamation only. Also, when more candidates are presented, the preferences of the party oligarchy are mostly made very clear.
The small number of elections that involve real choice even diminishes when reelections or the appointment of interim chairman are taken into account: the percentage of "more than one candidate"-presentation drops from 32 % to respectively 19% and 16% . In Flemish parties there is less opportunity for choice then in Francophone parties: 22 % versus 38% "more than one candidate"-presentation (elections and re-elections). Moreover, the chairman elections of the Francophone parties involve larger electoral bodies : e.g. in some parties and already in 41 % of the cases (elections and re-elections) all partymembers have a right to cast their vote. A possibility that exists in none of the Flemish parties. As far as the evolution over time is concerned: there is a general and salient tendency towards more opportunities for real choice and larger electoral bodies.
But taken together opportunities for real choice remain scarce : in general party chairmen are not actually chosen by the formally empowered party organs; before formal elections are held choices are mostly made already !

How to Cite:

Maes, M., (1990) “De formele aanstelling van de partijvoorzitters in België, 1944-1990”, Res Publica 32(1), p.3-62. doi:

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Published on
30 Mar 1990
Peer Reviewed