An electoral threshold of 5% has been introduced without much debate in the electoral system to fight against the fragmentation of political forces. Smaller parties, which this measure is harmful, submitted to the Court of Arbitration repeatedly to obtain the cancellation of the threshold, they consider a violation of the principle entrenched, proportional representation.
Francis Onclin exposes the origin of the adoption of the electoral threshold. It examines the strategic interests and motivations that have led political actors to support or challenge it. It then analyzes the arguments of proponents and opponents of the electoral threshold, and the reasoning of the Court of Arbitration that validated the threshold.
Beyond the strategies and discourses, what were the precise effects of the electoral threshold of 5%? They appear at first relatively limited. Some seats have been allocated differently in the House and Senate in 2003 and the French linguistic group of the Brussels Parliament in 2009 because of the legal threshold of 5%. The behavior of voters do not find it is amended. But the advance by the parties of the potential effects of the 5% is an indirect consequence of the threshold, in particular the creation of cartels in Flanders, which decreased the readability of the political game and proved to be, in part, to the basis of the political crisis of 2007-2008.