Party encroachment on the executive and legislative branch in the Belgian polity

  • Lieven De Winter orcid logo


The grip of political parties of central government actors (cabinet, parliament, the bureaucracy, judidiary) in Belgium was most striking in the 1970s and 1980s. In this period Belgium, like Italy, constitutes a very strong case of partitocracy. Yet, white the Italian partitocrazia collapsed brusquely in the early 1990s, the Belgian particratie underwent a number of gradual modifications (some imposed by external factors, others were the product of genuine voluntarist autocorrections), which prevented the complete collapse of the partitocratic system and to some degree restored the governability of the country.
This article presents for each sector of central government first the main features as they were under full partitocratic rule during the 1970s and 1980s. Second, it indicates which corrections were introduced, that reduced the (negative consequences of) the grip of political parties on central government actors, structures and processes. Finally, it discusses the  problem of the public debt and policy inertia.

How to Cite:

De Winter, L., (1996) “Party encroachment on the executive and legislative branch in the Belgian polity”, Res Publica 38(2), 325-352. doi:

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Published on
29 Jun 1996
Peer Reviewed