The result of today’s parliamentary election in Germany marks a significant political shift, and not just because the liberal/libertarian party FDP failed to gain seats for the first time in its history. The chart in the link below shows the results of Germany’s parliamentary elections since World War II. At every election between 1949 and 1990, generally right-wing parties (CDU, CSU, FDP and others) together won more than 50% of the vote. Then came Germany’s reunification, which spilled in many left-wing voters from formerly socialist East Germany. In each election after 1990, the right failed to reach 50% (although it still managed to form CDU-FDP coalition governments in 1994 and 2009). There was reason to believe that reunification had shifted the composition of the electorate permanently to the left. But in today’s election, right-wing parties – CDU/CSU, FDP and the newly formed AfD – won around 52% of the votes, according to preliminary results. Only time will tell if this result is an exception, or if it indicates a more permanent shift of the electorate back to the right.
3 responses to “A Historic Election Result in Germany”
I’m not sure whether this really represents a shift to the right or rather reflects the conservative parties (mainly CDU) shifting more and more to the left with voters’ political sentiment staying mainly unchanched.
Maybe. But the SPD has shifted more to the center as well (not just since they chose Steinbrück and abandoned tax hikes), and yet they had their second worst showing in history with 25,5%. With both SPD and CDU much more moderate today than they were in the 90s, voters still seem to prefer center-right over center-left.
Interesting point, Konrad!
However it’s important to emphasize that neither the FDP nor the AFD have actually made it into the Bundestag as neither of them achieved the required minimum of 5% of the votes. Hence, the actual majority in the Bundestag is a – even though unlikely – SPD-Left-Greens coalition, not a conservsative one.
Secondly, neither the AFD, nor the FDP are – or in the case of the FDP have ever been – entirely or predominantly “right-wing” whatever the definition of this may be. They are in fact liberal (in the European sense) centrist parties which especially the FDP has shown before reunifiaction as coalition partner with the SPD from 1969 to 1982.