This article asks whether Turkish and North African origin candidates experience an electoral (dis)advantage in the Brussels preferential voting system. We examine the impact of candidates’ ethnicity on their intraparty share of preference votes, and whether and how the strength of this relationship is influenced by their partisan orientation and the district concentration of their own ethnic group. Our results indicate that Turkish and North African origin candidates receive higher shares of preference votes on average compared to their co-partisans. We find that North African origin candidates’ advantage does not vary according to their ethnic group concentration in the district, but their share of preference votes is higher than their co-partisans when they compete on left and center-left lists. However, Turkish origin candidates get more successful than their co-partisans as their ethnic group concentration increases, especially when they compete on left and center-left lists. Our research overall highlights the importance of candidates’ ethnicity as an information shortcut for voters in the context of intraparty competition. We conclude that strong preferential voting systems do generate more opportunities for the inclusion of ethnic minority groups, but that parties’ strategies and voters’ behavior are more determinant than the rules themselves.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Apr 2020

    Research areas

  • Ethnic Minorities, Preferential Voting, Political Representation, Brussels

ID: 49988426