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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.

1 Elections, parties and the political system There are many ways of analysing German politics. Recent studies have, for example, focused on policymaking, on institutions (Helms 2000), and on the interface between German politics and the politics of the European Union (Bulmer, Jeffery and Paterson 2000; Sturm and Pehle 2001). All these approaches are valid, but none captures all the intricate interconnections and multiple dimensions of the political process in Germany. The once-popular focus on electoral politics has been neglected of late, yet it can be

in German electoral politics
Abstract only

elections, it has been claimed that – as is the case in other countries – German politics is one continuous election campaign. Certainly there is evidence of this. A recent example is the manoeuvring of Angela Merkel, the chair of the CDU, immediately following the failure of the Christian Democrats to win the 2002 election, to position herself as the next chancellor-candidate for the CDU–CSU by claiming the leadership of the parliamentary party group in the Bundestag. This has resulted in pressure two years ahead of the next election for the Christian Democrats to make

in German electoral politics
A popular project and an unpopular party

.8 14.6  4.0 31.0 45.2 50.2 45.3 47.3 46.1 44.9 48.6 44.5 48.8 44.3 43.8 41.4 35.1 38.5 35.2 33.8 40.0 78.5 86.0 87.8 87.7 86.8 86.7 91.1 90.7 88.6 89.1 84.3 77.8 79.0 82.2 79.1 77.7 70.8 Note: 1949–87: West Germany; 1990–2010: Germany including the former German Democratic Republic. Source: Infratest Dimap since the Great Recession) to a fundamental contradiction in German politics. Even though the welfare state is highly popular, its actual provisions are subordinated to world market success. Austerity is thus, however grudgingly, accepted as necessary in order

in European social democracy during the global economic crisis
Open Access (free)
Fragmented structures in a complex system

and political union in institutional as well as in substantive terms, i.e. economic policy co-ordination at the EC level and a coherent and effective CFSP; the continuation of Franco-German co-operation; and a strengthening of the military capacities of the Union through the integration of the WEU into the EU ambit.12 The basic perception of European integration remains unchanged, particularly with regard to the role of the EC institutions. The German political elite continues to aim at the phased creation of a legally independent, state-like political entity with

in Fifteen into one?
Cracks in the old consensus
Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen

the government and internal contradictions in the consensus ‘policy of responsibility’, which incorporated some of the core notions of both ‘never again alone’ and ‘never again war’, prompted a beginning of a rethink on the centre right of German politics. Cross-pressures on the government: Conservative and Liberal reactions The situation in the Gulf placed the ruling CDU/FDP coalition in an unpleasant dilemma. On the one hand, international partners pressed for a German show of solidarity. On the other hand, the notion of a military solution ran counter to the

in Germany, pacifism and peace enforcement
Peace movements in East and West Germany in the 1980s

-violence as a core element in German political culture, finding its first expression in the united Germany in the demonstrations against the US military intervention in Iraq in 1991–92. This approach therefore does not regard ‘1989’ as a magic caesura. Rather, it is interested in emphasising continuities in discussions about peace and war in East and West Germany that go beyond a mere analysis of events in 1989–90. The political conditions in both parts of the country differed fundamentally. While protesters in the Federal Republic were, in general, able to enjoy the

in The 1989 Revolutions in Central and Eastern Europe

, National Elections and the Autonomy of American State Party Systems (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1996). 2 For a general overview of the German party system, see, for example, Gerard Braunthal, Parties and Politics in Modern Germany (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996) and Christopher S. Allen (ed.), The Transformation of the German Political Party System (New York: Berghahn, 1999). See also Thomas Poguntke, “Das Parteiensystem der Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Von Krise zu Krise?,” in 50 Jahre Bundesrepublik Deutschland, edited by Thomas Ellwein and Everhard

in The Länder and German federalism
The German community in Shanghai, 1933-1945

the war for maintaining German political continuity could hardly do other than minimise the role and weight of ideology and politics during the twelve years they represented their country in China. At the same time, they have played down the importance of their own role and function. After 1945 they all had a common reaction: to remain silent about that period. The few pieces written about life in Shanghai were penned by diplomats and journalists who were deeply involved. Keeping silent on the subject of this period and its

in New frontiers
Open Access (free)

-plus-four treaty that formed the legal basis of the German unification of 1990, a violation of international law. In its Deutschlandpolitik (Germany politics) the party ‘appeals to the directive of the constitution and to the ruling of the Federal Constitutional Court, which hold that everything should be done and nothing should be refrained from, that leads to the unity of Germany’ (REP 1990: 4). Though the party at times uses nationalist arguments for German unification it is not consistent in its demand for external exclusiveness. According to the ethnic nationalist tenet

in The ideology of the extreme right