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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.

Abstract only
Geoffrey K. Roberts

electorate, and perhaps of the acceptability of particular coalitions or the popularity of particular politicians (especially those seen as possible chancellor-candidates). So one controversial aspect of the notion of the ‘permanent election campaign’ in Germany is the large number of elections which take place, and the large number of ‘election Sundays’ which thus occur. In any fiveyear period there will be a Bundestag election, at least sixteen Land elections, an election to the EP and sixteen sets of local council elections: at least thirty-four in total, or one for

in German electoral politics
Geoffrey K. Roberts

’ has been chosen as the title of this book to emphasise the complexity of the inter-play of different aspects of elections and to draw attention to the more extensive ways in which elections affect the political system. Elections, then, in the context of electoral politics, are much more than dramatic interruptions to the normal, day-to-day, business of government. It will be suggested in later chapters that, in some ways, politicians are caught up in a permanent election campaign. What is normally regarded as the ‘election campaign’ – the period when the posters

in German electoral politics