Following the success of the American and French elections coverage, the Politics Society is hosting live coverage of the German elections, from 4 pm on Sunday, September 24th – taking place in the Guild’s McAusland room.
Mixed Member Proportionality, a variant of proportional representation, is the electoral system in Germany. The Bundestag (German Parliament) has 598 seats so voters cast two votes. One vote is used under the first-past-the-post electoral system where a representative is elected from Germany’s 299 districts. The second vote is under a party list system where the voter chooses the political party which is most representative of their views. Regarding the second vote, there is an added stipulation since political parties must surpass 5% of the national vote in order to send lawmakers to Berlin. This is designed to prevent extremism entering German politics.
So who are the contenders? The Christian Democrats/Christian Social Union(CDU-CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP) are vying to be the largest party, but this will not be enough to command an outright majority since coalitions are frequent under PR systems. The CDU/CSU is led by current Chancellor Angela Merkel who is seeking a fourth term in office. The CDU consider themselves a Volkspartei (people’s party), portraying a centrist attitude. The party advocates a tough stance on law and order but also advocates the need to increase child allowance. The SDP is the oldest party in German politics, formed during the 1870s. They are led by Europhile, Martin Schulz, centring their campaign on social justice. The main parties are the CDU and SPD but since Germany has a multi-party system, there are parties such as the far-right Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), the Greens, Die Linke and the pro-business Free Democrats vying for representation in the Bundestag.
The pattern appears to be that Merkel will have defended her position as Chancellor, following a decisive victory in North Rhine-Westphalia during the regional elections. North-Rhine Westphalia is Germany’s most populous state and is home to one-fifth of German voters. The margin of victory will be interesting to see since the latest Telegraph poll shows the SPD to be polling about 13 points behind the CDU/CSU. Pay particular attention to the performance of the far-right AfD who could poll between 8-11 percent of the vote and even become the third largest party in German politics. For a far-right party in Germany, this would be of significance.
Whilst it may not be enthralling as the American and French elections night, do come along to the MacAusland room from 4 pm on Sunday to see how the implications of this election could affect Germany, Europe and possibly Brexit.