Voting Patterns among Ethnic Minorities in Brussels (Belgium) during the 2006 Local Elections

Teney Céline, Jacobs Dirk, Rea Andrea, Delwit Pascal

In recent years immigrant origin ethnic minorities have become a non-negligible electoral group in Belgian cities. Numerous studies have been undertaken in Belgium on the link between immigrant associational life and political participation and on the profiles of politicians of immigrant origin, but not yet on party choice and voting patterns among ethnic minority groups. In this article we present the first analysis of voting patterns of ethnic minority groups in Belgium, making use of exit-poll data on the local elections for three municipalities of the Brussels Capital Region. We investigate whether non-EU immigrant origin voters have a particular party preference which cannot be explained by other background variables such as educational level or socio-economic position. We also look into the issue of preferential voting for candidates of immigrant origin. According to the theory on political opportunity structures one would expect a lesser importance of ethnic voting in the Belgian context (in which ethnic mobilisation is discursively discouraged). Ethnic voting, however, turns out to be quite important in the Brussels' context.

Type Article
Identificateur urn:issn:0001-6810
Language en
Length 273 297
  • Europe as an Area of Economic and Social Regulation
  • Sociologie politique
Publication date 2010-09-03
  • ethnic minorities
  • Brussels
  • electoral participation
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