Belgium: No Government 150 Days after Elections

As screwed up as American politics can often be, our elections almost always provide relatively decisive outcomes. As Ingrid Robeyns reminds us, that’s not true everywhere, not even in Europe.

Today is 150 days after the Belgian elections, and there is still no government. The crisis is as deep as it was when I last wrote about it. There have been partial agreements between the negotiating parties over the last weeks, but for none of the crucial issues there is an agreement yet — the situation of the Francophone population in the Flemish border communes around Brussels, a solution to the crisis in the election district Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, some aspects of the welfare state reform, and the government budget.

There are similar messes in Ukraine and Poland, albeit not this long in duration. There’s a price to be paid for electoral systems with large numbers of ideological, regional, and ethnic parties.

Elsewhere, Adrian Basora has an interesting essay on the problems in New Europe entitled, “Retreat of Democracy in Europe and Eurasia?” I commend it to you.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Not having a president and Congress for 150 days – now that is a beautiful thought – 150 days, isn’t that about how many days Congress has off a year here in the US – maybe we could bump it up to 364 days a year or so.

  2. Triumph says:

    This would be a great time to invade them. They would never know what hit them and we could have all the free Leffe we could drink! Damn the Walloon-Flemish evildoers!

  3. davod says:

    “There’s a price to be paid for electoral systems with large numbers of ideological, regional, and ethnic parties.”

    You mean the same as most any parliamentary democracy.

  4. James Joyner says:

    You mean the same as most any parliamentary democracy.

    Most of the major ones – UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia — use some sort of double ballot system, first past the post single member districts, minimum ceilings, or other institutional means to force the emergence of large parties who can win majorities or at least easily dominate coalitions.

  5. davod says:

    The Australian use proportional voting in their elections, and yes this has caused dingbats to get elected. The green party had the swing vote in the Senate at one time.