The Hessian and Bavarian state elections: implications for German political developmen

The latest study of our Researcher, Hanna Zoé Dósa

German state elections in Bavaria and Hessen held on the 8 of October have attracted much attention. Not because of the importance of local issues, but because of many prognoses regarding national politics. They do not serve as a radical turning point, but rather they point to the growing and destabilizing trends in German politics since 2000. Compared to the decades after the Second World War, when the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats formed the political poles addressing the most important issues in German politics, we can see a decisive shift in the 2000s. In the period after the Second World War, the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats occupied the political space where alternatives were articulated in terms of the democratic evolution of German politics. Today, the party system is more heterogeneous in terms of ideology. After the years of grand coalition, new parties were able to mobilize public opinion around exclusive single issues. From a historical perspective, the extremely low vote share of the mainstream political parties in state elections is a phenomenon that should be interpreted as part of a 20-30-year process.

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