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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.

Geoffrey K. Roberts

4 The public and electoral politics Public participation – and non-participation – in electoral politics Electoral politics involves the public in many ways. Outcomes of elections, especially in relation to the composition of coalition governments and the policies which such governments then feel free to pursue, clearly impact upon the public. In addition, there are two obvious ways in which members of the public can directly participate in elections. They may participate as candidates, activist supporters of a party or candidate, financial contributors to a

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

3 Political parties and electoral politics The role of political parties in electoral politics Elections in democracies are structured by political parties, are contests between parties and their candidates and result in a party or a coalition of parties assuming responsibility for government. In Germany, the novelty of parties possessing constitutional status emphasises this relationship between parties and elections. Their responsibility to ‘participate in the formation of the political will of the people’ – a bland and generalised statement of obligation

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

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
Geoffrey K. Roberts

7 Conclusion The pervasiveness of electoral politics in Germany has been demonstrated in this book. Electoral politics in Germany affects not only the party composition of governing coalitions, but also the choice and timing of policies, the career plans of politicians, the prominence given by the media to election preparations and campaigns and to the published results of periodic opinion surveys and the activities and financial outlays of party headquarters. Since these election-related phenomena are apparent throughout the four-year cycle between Bundestag

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

barriers against the entry of a host of small parties to the Bundestag as well as provision for constituency representation. Electoral politics (a): candidate selection Because there are two ‘routes’ by which candidates can be elected: the constituency contest and the party list, so there are two different forms of candidate selection. In both cases, procedures are regulated by the Electoral Law. The process of selection of constituency candidates is very similar to the one in the UK. A constituency selection committee for each party makes a choice among

in German politics today (third edition)
Geoffrey K. Roberts

, which does not prescribe any particular form of electoral system, does require such a system to be general, direct, free, 12 German electoral politics equal and secret (Article 38). Within those broad requirements, various electoral systems could be designed, and the work of the committee of the Parliamentary Council in 1948–49 (see below) was directed at selecting a system that not only met those requirements, but also incorporated other desired attributes. The system which they then recommended, and the reformed versions of that system adopted in 1953 and 1956

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

local council and the mayor. In a few areas, once the voters have elected a council, that council chooses either a single person or a collective leadership group to direct the administration of the local authority. Another pattern provides separate political and administrative leadership, each with formally distinct (but often politically linked) authority. Each Land is responsible for stating in its constitution which pattern of local authority structure will exist in that Land, and for deciding upon the method of 100 German electoral politics election of the

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

the population, influxes of refugees from the Soviet Zone 74 German electoral politics and Eastern Europe, shortages of basic provisions, the psychic burdens of the failure of the Weimar democracy and experience of Nazi tyranny, the restricted sovereignty which the new state would be granted by the western Allies, and the fact of a divided Germany all contributed to a very disturbed political background for the election. The elections to Land legislatures and constituent assemblies had already revealed the regional strengths of the SPD and the Christian Democrats

in German electoral politics
Editor’s Introduction
Juliano Fiori

elected president; he publicly pays homage to former military dictators and torturers, and his talk of gunning down opponents has provided licence for the spread of political violence. The election of Donald Trump in the US, in November 2016, was a watershed for electoral politics, giving global significance to rightward shifts elsewhere. With Trump in the White House, the US itself has become the greatest threat to the liberal order it once authored, not because of his own idiosyncratic way of doing politics but because of the strategic realignment

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs