The study of German electoral politics has been neglected of late, despite being one of the most pervasive elements of the German political process. This book argues that concentration on electoral politics facilitates deeper understanding and appreciation of the German political system. It provides explanations and analysis of the federal electoral system, its evolution and the challenges that have been made to its format; discusses the role of electoral politics in relation to political parties and to the public; and the influence of second-order elections in the German political system. The book goes on to evaluate the effectiveness of the German electoral system in relation to its functions, and challenges the premise that electoral politics makes a difference in Germany. Ultimately, it aims to reconcile the apparently limited role that elections have in determining the composition of governments with the notion that there is a ‘permanent election campaign’ in existence in German politics.
This chapter discusses German politics, determining that the best way to start analysing German politics is to study the electoral system. It then studies the concept of ‘electoral politics’ and takes a look at the political parties and the party system, also considering the relevance of electoral politics in the political system of Germany and the dynamic aspects of German electoral politics.
This chapter re-examines the development of the current electoral system. It takes note of some of the serious attempts that have been made to alter the basic features of the system, as well as the importance of electoral systems. From there, the discussion studies the three main features and two complicating factors of the German electoral system, as well as the importance of formerly neglected details in recent Bundestag elections, such as excess seats. Finally, the chapter discusses features of the electoral system that were reviewed by the Constitutional Court in 1997.
This chapter takes a look at three aspects of party participation in electoral politics, the first of which is the legislative and constitutional context where the parties exist, shape their organisation and conduct their activities. The second aspect is the candidate selection for both Land party lists and single-member constituencies, while the third is campaign organisation and planning. The chapter concludes with a detailed discussion of the various facets of campaign strategy that a political party must consider.
This chapter discusses the role of the public in German electoral politics, starting with a section on the levels of non-participation and participation in electoral politics, which involves the public in many ways. It then presents an analysis of voting behaviour, such as choosing certain candidates or parties. The chapter then introduces the concepts of extremist voting, which is voting support for the extreme right, and split-voting, which is a special feature of German electoral behaviour. It concludes by determining the problems associated with the analysis of voting behaviour.
This chapter explores each Bundestag election campaign since 1949, looking at interesting and relevant features of the campaign, the operation of the electoral system and the result of the election. It analyses the election campaign in relation to the context in which it occurs, such as the state of the economy and the outcome of Land elections since the previous Bundestag election.
This chapter analyses the ‘second-order’ elections – which include the elections to local councils, to the European Parliament and to Land legislatures – and defines ‘second-order’ elections as elections that do not directly affect the passing of national legislation or the organisation of the national government. The discussion focuses on the inter-relationships between these ‘second-order’ elections and Bundestag elections, which emphasise the relevant differences in the various electoral systems that are used, and also takes a look at the effects such elections can have on national politics.
This chapter addresses the question of whether electoral politics matter or not. It studies the effectiveness of the German mixed-member electoral system and the relevance of an electoral politics system where governments rarely change as an immediate result of the Bundestag elections. The chapter identifies some of the controversial aspects of the ‘permanent election campaign’ in Germany and the neglected function of elections, as well as studying the support levels for the German political system.
A perfect companion to European politics today, written by the same authors, this
book presents past events, prominent personalities, important dates,
organisations and electoral information in an accessible, easy-to-read format.
The book is split into five sections for ease of use: a dictionary of
significant political events, a chronology of major events in Europe since 1945,
a biographical dictionary, a dictionary of political organisations and electoral
data. In addition to being a comprehensive reference tool, this book is intended
to provide a sound historical background to the development of Western European