A ‘Counter-playbook’ of Constitutional Resilience against Democratic Erosion: Any Lessons from Belgium?

This paper aims to identify elements of constitutional resilience against democratic erosion by analysing the relative resilience of the Belgian constitutional order against capture by populist parties. A series of potential primary and secondary constitutional safeguards, among which consociational democracy, federalism, proportional representation and compulsory voting, will be discussed. Although the analysis will focalize around the (potential) threat of the radical right Vlaams Belang party, the broader point of the paper is that a scenario (cf. Poland or Hungary) in which a single political party captures the Belgian constitutional order appears impossible. However, the lessons we can draw from this particular context for the development of a ‘counter-playbook’ of constitutional resilience remain limited, given that several of the identified elements of constitutional resilience cannot migrate easily to other constitutional settings.