Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Arco Timmermans in Infobae about the Belgian government formation

In every parliamentary system, people vote on political parties during an election instead of a president. It is very unlikely that one party gets the majority of the parliament. Therefore, a government is formed by negotiations between parties. In Belgium, this process is far more complicated than in other countries governed by a parliament.

In Belgium a government formation is very difficult. In most countries, political parties differ on ideology and party opinions. In Belgium however, parties differ also on regional, economic, cultural and on the linguistic area.

The language barrier

The barrier between the French speaking part of Wallonia and the Dutch speaking part of Flanders produces deep and strong tensions between the two regions says Arco Timmermans, Professor by special appointment of Public Affairs at the Institute of Public Administration at Leiden University. Since the 60’s, the government of Belgium has tried to solve this problem, when language and regionalism became more and more important.


Traditionally, the government pact is also negotiated on the local level of Wallonia and Flanders. Regional problems are therefore solved first. The federal problems will be solved next. This process of federalisation gives local governments more power says Arco Timmermans. There is controversy between federal and local budgets and authorisations, which creates an extra border between the local and federal level. Also, the duration of a government is related to local events. The cause of this, is that the identity and heart of a party is based in local areas. Therefore, federal problems become subordinate to local problems.    

Read more about the complicated Belgian government formation in the Spanish article of Infobae.

This website uses cookies.  More information.