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.
asserted that electoral politics is one of the most pervasive
elements of the Germanpoliticalprocess, indeed the bedrock upon which
the political system is supported. It is also still an important approach –
if not always in the ways in which it is important in other European
democracies such as the United Kingdom or France. In this book, the case
is made for retaining some degree of concentration on electoral politics
in order to understand and appreciate the German political system and
The starting-point has to be the electoral system. The
electoral politics. The way in which parties have built on this constitutional
and legislative status to become so pervasive a force within the Germanpoliticalprocess also is discussed. The second aspect is the selection of candidates: for both single-member constituencies and Land party lists.
Third, campaign planning and organisation require attention, since they
are becoming increasingly important in relation to campaign strategy.
The constitutional and legislative basis of the German party-‘state’
There have been numerous diagnoses of the reasons for the
the 1970s, there were suggestions that an Associations Law to regulate interest groups, similar to the Party Law which regulates political parties, should perhaps be introduced, but, apart from anything else, there are difficult problems of defining interest groups in such a way as to make them subject to a common set of rules and procedures.
Other commentators are concerned about the trend towards corporatism in the Germanpoliticalprocess, such as led in anti-smoking regulations to a trend towards self-regulation by the industry (Grüning et al., 2008, p. 144