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Asymmetric Federalism and Coalition-Making in Belgium

Wilfried Swenden
Publius
Vol. 32, No. 3 (Summer, 2002), pp. 67-87
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3330967
Page Count: 21
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Asymmetric Federalism and Coalition-Making in Belgium
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Abstract

This article examines the asymmetric aspects of Belgian federalism. The term "asymmetry" covers many meanings. The cultural, socioeconomic, political party, and formal-institutional differences between the regions of the Belgian federation clearly make Belgium a strong case of asymmetry. However, these asymmetric features have largely been neutralized by preferences of the major-party leaders for building symmetric or congruent government coalitions in the federal and regional arenas. The article not only explains why Belgian party elites have acted accordingly but also demonstrates that the genuine meaning of asymmetry cannot be understood properly without putting the concept of asymmetry into the framework of party politics.

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