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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.

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largest single party in the Bundestag. So had the Christian Democrats succeeded in displacing Brandt, the outcome would have been contrary to the desires of the electorate. The point of this survey of changes in governments is that Bundestag elections do not usually directly affect the composition of governments. The 1998 election was an exception, since relatively large transfers of support from the Christian Democrats and FDP to the SPD took place (the Greens lost vote-share in that election). In 1969 the new coalition partners (SPD and FDP) together had a slightly

in German electoral politics
Limiting Liberal Democrat influence

responsibility (Cabinet Office, 2010a ). Published at the same time as Our Programme for Government was a separate document entitled the Constitutional Agreement for Stability and Reform , which mapped out further details on how the coalition would work, explaining, for example, issues around the composition of government, how the principles of collective responsibility would operate, and voting in

in Cameron