The Resilience of Democracy in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Democratic Compensators in Belgium, the Netherlands and France

Tom Massart*, Thijs Vos, Clara Egger, Claire Dupuy, Constance Morel-Jean, Raul Magni Berton, Sébastian Roché

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Since January 2020, European countries have implemented a wide range of restrictions to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet governments have also implemented democratic compensators in order to offset the negative impacts of restrictions. This article aims to account for the variation of their use between Belgium, the Netherlands and France. We analyse three drivers: the strength of counterpowers, the ruling parties’ ideological leanings and political support. Building on an original data set, our results distinguish between embedded and ad hoc compensators. We find that ad hoc compensators are championed mainly by counterpowers, but also by ideology of the ruling coalitions in Belgium and the Netherlands and used strategically to maintain political support in France. Evidence on the link between embedded compensators and counterpowers is more ambiguous.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)113-137
    Number of pages25
    JournalPolitics of the Low Countries
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

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