What Do Selectorates Seek? A Comparative Analysis of Belgian Federal and Regional Candidate Selection Processes in 2014

The 2014 “mother of all elections” in Belgium offers a unique opportunity to test whether candidate selection for regional and federal elections work alike or differently. The fact that Belgian “statewide” parties do not exist anymore and that Belgium is a quasi-closed list system, giving parties almost unlimited control over candidate selection enhances the uniqueness of the Belgian case. This article verifies whether these “regional” parties select candidates according to different methods for both elections and whether candidates for both elections display different attributes. Our exploratory analysis draws on in-depth interviews with party actors, on the 2014 Belgian Candidate Survey and on an extensive database of regional and federal parliamentary/executive careers since 1991. Our results show that selection procedures strongly differ across parties but hardly within parties regarding regional and federal elections. Besides, regarding candidates’ attributes, only few differences were found between levels. Hence, both levels seem to work alike.
Publication year: 
Journal Title: 
American Behavioral Scientist
Publication Type: 
Peer-reviewed Article