Arthur B. Gunlicks
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Parties and politics in the Länder

The American party system stands in sharp contrast to the German political parties, which, in spite of regional party organisations of varying strength, are hierarchically organised and member-based, programmatic, disciplined and led by leaders, usually the Chancellor, certain prime ministers of the Länder or other well-known office holders, who are elected by party organs for that purpose. The parties are financed by a mixture of private and public funds, the latter of which are very generous by international standards. Much of the private funding comes from the large dues-paying membership or supporters who, also in contrast to the United States, receive significant tax benefits for their contributions. This chapter discusses political parties and politics in the Länder. It first examines the relationship between federal and Land politics, including voting behaviour in national and regional elections, and then looks at voter turnout and voting behaviour, along with direct democracy.

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