Minority candidates on party lists: evidence from Belgium

Creative Commons License

ECEVİT Y. A. , Kinsey B. S.

ACTA POLITICA, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1057/s41269-020-00193-1
  • Title of Journal : ACTA POLITICA
  • Keywords: Immigrant-origin minority, Candidate nominations, Left parties, Right parties, Citizenship, Belgium, ETHNIC-MINORITIES, POLITICAL REPRESENTATION, STRATEGIES, IMMIGRANT


Nomination of candidates of non-Western origin on party lists is a major step toward immigrant-origin minorities' political representation, however its determinants are understudied. This paper focuses on such nominations by parties on the Left, Social Democratic and Green. We extend theory on the electoral risks of nominating immigrant-origin minority candidates to study systematically how cultural citizenship conditions the effects of political and economic factors on number of nominations. Belgium provides excellent testing grounds due to regional variation in cultural citizenship between Flanders and Wallonia, while electoral and citizenship acquisition laws remain constant. We collected an original dataset on 589 municipalities in the 2006 local elections, and conduct our analysis using Poisson regression models for count data that incorporate alternative explanations. Findings suggest that Social Democratic parties face greater political and economic constraints than Green parties and these constraints are conditioned by cultural citizenship; in Flanders where cultural citizenship is characterized by a strong ethnic component constraints are greater for Social Democratic than Green parties, but in civic Wallonia both parties do not appear constrained by these factors. Finally, we control for the conditioning effect of cultural citizenship for parties of the right, Christian Democratic and Liberal; we find no such effect.