Honors Theses

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Susan Allen

Relational Format

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

With the success of the Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA), a Flemish regionalist party, in recent federal and regional elections, the continued role of regionalism in Belgian politics has been made clear. This has occurred despite significant efforts by Belgian politicians to counteract this tendency. By analyzing the impact of the six state reforms that have drastically affected the political system within the country, this paper outlines how the reforms themselves have unintentionally incentivized the political parties to pursue regionalism as a winning political strategy, which laid the groundwork for the current success of the N-VA. Furthermore, this paper demonstrates how the institutional system known as consociationalism has been unable to implement the moderating tendency that it seeks to provide in the Belgian case and has instead contributed to stagnation in the federal parliament and to a centrifugal pull of the parties into separate linguistic communities. In examining this, the paper makes use of the devolutionary framework proposed by Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Nicholas Gill (2002) to show how the reforms have impacted the legitimacy of the subnational governments.

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