Pandora's Box. Political Culture in Belgium
(Jos Bouveroux) The Low Countries - 1997, № 5, pp. 38-45
The Kingdom of Belgium will never be the same again after the extraordinary summer and autumn of 1996. The arrest of Marc Dutroux and the subsequent shocking discovery of the bodies of children who had been abducted, sexually assaulted and murdered, so devastated Belgian society that a panic-stricken government felt duty-bound to promise radical reform. Faced with the mass outrage of the people of Belgium, the only remedy was to put an end to governmental inefficiency, over-politicised judicial authorities and the widespread cuiture of nepotism and (minor) corruption. The politicians' only alternative was an Italian-style debacle. The Belgian politicians were faced with the monumental challenge of forsaking the classic paths for new ones that would restore the confidence of the people. But old political habits reasserted themselves, and the radical conclusions of a Parliamentary Commission were watered down until little of substance remained. The Belgian disease had too strong a hold.
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