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The Conceptual Origins of Compulsory Voting: A Study of the 1893 Belgian Parliamentary Debate
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Government. (Political Theory)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7881-9329
2016 (English)In: History of Political Thought, ISSN 0143-781X, E-ISSN 2051-2988, Vol. 37, no 1, 152-175 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In 1893, Belgian conservatives sponsored compulsory voting to counter socialist and liberal backing for universal and plural voting, respectively. They allied with progressive Liberals to circumvent opposition from their own right wing who insisted on a self-motivated 'duty' to vote that loses its value when enforced. In contrast, moderate Catholics argued that compulsion would protect the freedom or non-dependence of voters from being forced to abstain by employers. Furthermore, voting was re-described at a special right or 'mandate' that entailed responsibilities towards the disenfranchised. Hence, compulsory voting was defended immediately as a liberal anti-corruption measure and a paternalistic norm of social protection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Imprint Academic, 2016. Vol. 37, no 1, 152-175 p.
Keyword [en]
compulsory voting, Belgium, parliamentary debate, constitutional reform, history, concepts, arguments
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Political Science
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-264572ISI: 000370767200007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-264572DiVA: diva2:861012
Available from: 2015-10-14 Created: 2015-10-14 Last updated: 2016-04-05Bibliographically approved

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Malkopoulou, Anthoula
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