Belgium & Democracy

David Van Reybrouck predicts the underlying causes of Belgium's political crisis will repeat themselves elsewhere as the new media call into question established democratic practices.

What is the second reason for this crisis in Belgian politics? "It is the enormous change that new media have brought to professional politics: the involvement of citizens has become significantly more important. Every step a politician takes, every negotiation he is involved in, finds its way into the press immediately. Previously, discretion could sometimes be effective for months: politicians would get together and thrash out a compromise that they could all live with. Then they went and defended the compromise before their party and their electors. Now, every move they make is immediately a political fact. Politicians do not talk to each other any more."

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