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ECPR Joint Sessions 2020 Sciences Po Toulouse

Social Media Networks of Political Candidates in Belgium’s Multilevel Elections

Elections
 
Campaign
 
Candidate
 
Presenter
Authors
Hilde Coffe

Iulia Cioroianu
University of Bath

Abstract
Intra- and interparty connections with peers are crucial for understanding politicians’ behaviour and electoral successes. Therefore, the aim of the current study is to investigate political candidates’ networks through a network analysis based on social media data. In particular, we will use community detection algorithms to study the Twitter activities of and between political candidates during the upcoming elections in Belgium. On 26 May 2019, regional, federal and European elections will be simultaneously held in Belgium, which offers a great opportunity to investigate networks of political candidates on different levels of government and examine to what extent candidates mainly form networks with candidates campaigning for the same level of government. Linking the network analysis results to district-level characteristics as well as individual characteristics such as political experience, incumbency past, party affiliation and gender, will allow us to explain differences in networks, as well as the relationship between social networks and intra and inter-party political competition and electoral success.
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