Loont besturen ? : Electorale voor- en nadelen van bestuursdeelname bij gemeenteraadsverkiezingen

  • Jan Vermeir
  • Bruno Heyndels orcid logo


We analyse the presence of a cost of ruling and/or incumbency advantage in the municipal elections in Flanders of 1988, 1994 and 2000. The empirical work concentrates on vote share evolutions of the three main parties: CD&V, Sp.a and VLD. We find evidence that being in power leads to an incumbency advantage, especially for those parties who provide the mayor. The results indicate that this electoral advantage is not uniform among parties (the socialist party appears to benefit more) and, importantly, the incumbency advantage seems to dampen over successive elections. From the perspective of the local politicians, it is important to keep in mind that this incumbency advantage at the local level was insufficient to compensate for the general trend of the major parties to lose votes at all levels of government. lndeed, even in the 1988 elections - where a clear local incumbency (mayor) advantage could be identified for each of the three parties - it was the case that government parties on average lost votes.

How to Cite:

Vermeir, J. & Heyndels, B., (2007) “Loont besturen ? : Electorale voor- en nadelen van bestuursdeelname bij gemeenteraadsverkiezingen”, Res Publica 49(1), p.113-131.

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Published on
30 Mar 2007
Peer Reviewed