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Thread: German Federal Election 2017

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Guess the local reps hold their seats for decades because as more parties enter the contest the share required to win keeps decreasing.
    That's why there's two separate votes in this system. People who back smaller parties with their PR vote often vote for the candidate of a larger party of "their camp" with their FPTP since they see that otherwise they'd pretty much "throw away" their vote. Previous election results do influence this, as does protest voting. In FPTP protest voting, people vote for a smaller party of their camp for whose candidate they don't see a chance anyway in order to show displeasure. Previous election results, even from state or local elections, also make people see other parties possibly have statistical chances at winning the FPTP vote (the case in Baden-Württemberg with the Greens, and in the East with The Left).

    Overall this leads to candidates winning their FPTP direct mandate with around 40-60% of the votes typically. There's strongholds that exceed that, and if a candidate drops below that 40% mark it makes the winning party and candidate really look into why he or she is lacking support locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Surprised to know that Germany had PR as early as 1949.
    Direct result of 1930s experiences that effectively you do not want one party to be able to rule the parliament alone, possibly while in splintered votes getting these seats with only 25-30% of the vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    And Saxony is at the heart of it because of grudges going back to the war
    That "grudge since the war" thing is interpreted slightly differently over here. Eastern Saxony, where AfD got its direct mandates, was formerly known in Germany as the "valley of the ignorant" - the only area in the East where you could not receive West German TV and radio stations. There's semi-scientific studies out there that claim that not being able to get Western entertainment pretty much made the people have too much time on their hands and made them more critical of the government.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Guess the local reps hold their seats for decades because as more parties enter the contest the share required to win keeps decreasing.
    That's why there's two separate votes in this system. People who back smaller parties with their PR vote often vote for the candidate of a larger party of "their camp" with their FPTP since they see that otherwise they'd pretty much "throw away" their vote. Previous election results do influence this, as does protest voting. In FPTP protest voting, people vote for a smaller party of their camp for whose candidate they don't see a chance anyway in order to show displeasure. Previous election results, even from state or local elections, also make people see other parties possibly have statistical chances at winning the FPTP vote (the case in Baden-Württemberg with the Greens, and in the East with The Left).

    Overall this leads to candidates winning their FPTP direct mandate with around 40-60% of the votes typically. There's strongholds that exceed that, and if a candidate drops below that 40% mark it makes the winning party and candidate really look into why he or she is lacking support locally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    Surprised to know that Germany had PR as early as 1949.
    Direct result of 1930s experiences that effectively you do not want one party to be able to rule the parliament alone, possibly while in splintered votes getting these seats with only 25-30% of the vote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Double Edge View Post
    And Saxony is at the heart of it because of grudges going back to the war
    That "grudge since the war" thing is interpreted slightly differently over here. Eastern Saxony, where AfD got its direct mandates, was formerly known in Germany as the "valley of the ignorant" - the only area in the East where you could not receive West German TV and radio stations. There's semi-scientific studies out there that claim that not being able to get Western entertainment pretty much made the people have too much time on their hands and made them more critical of the government.

  3. #33
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    Some data analysis for the election to show who voted for whom. Similar analysis was done after Macron's election in France, showing somewhat similar results.

    Color key for below graphs:
    Black = CDU
    Red = SPD
    Yellow = FDP
    Green = Green
    Violet = Left
    Blue = AfD
    Grey = distribution for this key for all 299 voting districts

    Average income in party strongholds, basically telling us that those who live in lower-income areas predominantly voted Left of AfD while those in rich areas voted Green or FDP - not really much surprise there:
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    Unemployment quota in party strongholds, which shows areas with higher unemployment tend to vote Left while areas with low unemployment vote conservative (i.e. CDU or Green):
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    Foreigner quota in party strongholds, areas with low percentage share of foreigners vote extreme-right or extreme-left:
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    For the most part this is a representation of regional differentiation though; the East, where people vote AfD or Left, is after all low-income, high-unemployment, next-to-zero-foreigners - the south, where people vote Green or FDP, is high-income, low-unemployment, moderate-to-high-foreigner-quota.
    Last edited by kato; 26 Sep 17, at 17:32.

  4. #34
    Defense ProfessionalSenior Contributor tbm3fan's Avatar
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    So bottom line what does this mean for stability in Germany the next few years?

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    If a Jamaica coalition comes as currently proposed?

    Bottom line for the government then is that Merkel can now safely shift the government further to conservative positions while blaming the FDP, while she can uphold some - for conservatives - controversial political things (same-sex marriage, environmental stuff) while blaming the Greens. In return expect some serious slowdown on European politics courtesy of the FDP, and a European death to TTIP courtesy of the Greens. The clash between capitalists (FDP) and market-wary (Green) as well as between social conservatives (CDU/CSU) and social progressives (FDP/Greens) will complicate government politics, so don't expect all that much to get done though.

    The SPD in a opposition position together with the Left will probably be able to shift into a more defined social-democrat (progressive) position, also enabling them to support each others proposals at federal level - as a government party that was a no-go for the SPD. Both will probably also hawk on those Green and CDU voters who will not like the new conservatism.

    Within most parties the roulette on posts and personalities is already rolling to enable the above:
    • The SPD under Schulz will make Andrea Nahles its new Bundestag whip, a distinct left-winger within the party. Thomas Oppermann, previously holding that post and more a supporter of Gerhard Schröder and Sigmar Gabriel's right wing within the SPD, is being pushed out of office. The Seeheimer Kreis, a conservative group within the SPD, is being fed the position of parliamentary chairman in order to not oppose Nahles.
    • Within the CSU after its rather bad results in Bavaria there's now calls for its head Seehofer to step down, which he is trying to defer to the next party congress in two months (apparently this move against Seehofer is mostly from the Franconian section of the CSU, proposing their leader Markus Söder to replace him)
    • Within the CDU there's moves towards pushing Wolfgang Schäuble to the role of future Bundestag president - both a move to free up the finance ministry as a possible FDP post, and a move to remove a prominent intra-party conservative hardliner with whom both FDP and Greens would clash. His supporters have already started their counteroffensive, proposing that Merkel step down from her post as CDU chairwoman (not from chancellorship) for the bad result and that she should hand this important post over to the ultraconservative faction of the CDU (to Schäuble, Spahn or Linnemann).
    • The Greens have formed a "surveying group" that'll probe the ground among other parties for coalitions (standard after an election); this group includes state politician Winfried Kretschmann, who considers an alliance with the CDU "without alternative" and who himself is minister-president within a Green-led Green/CDU coalition government at state level.


    As for the AfD, Petry's husband Marcus Pretzell and a second guy are leaving the Northrhine-Westfalian state parliament AfD faction (lowering that one from 16 to 14 seats); Petry herself had two other guys join her in walking out of the Saxonian state parliament AfD faction (lowering it from 11 to 8 seats). All of them while keeping their seats and cancelling their party membership like Petry also did today. The split is growing. I'd expect her to form her own party once she has a couple guys together both at federal and at state level. She's also building an international support platform, starting with Marine le Pen.
    The AfD itself is trying to fight the split, such as by getting together all elected future Bundestag members in the party today to count them (all 93 - all except Petry - attended btw).

  6. #36
    Turbanator Senior Contributor Double Edge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Foreigner quota in party strongholds, areas with low percentage share of foreigners vote extreme-right or extreme-left:
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    This is counter intuitive in a way. You would think it was the high-foreigner quota areas that would vote AfD. But foreigners prefer to live closer to higher income areas to begin with as that's where they get the jobs.

  7. #37
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    The old narrative:
    It's easier to make a group that you don't know personally into your personal scapegoat. There are areas in Germany that are low-income, high-unemployment; where people emigrate to richer areas all the time, and foreigners are the first to leave due to lack of local roots; where schools are closed for lack of children and other infrastructure is reduced for lack of people; and then you have the downtrodden population that remains there, who wants someone to blame for this lack of government attention and lack of coddling - and these people hear about refugees "just coming here and getting money", amplified by their closed-circuit echo chambers among their friends in town and in certain areas of the internet online. And that leads to AfD getting their votes.

    You can see the same in other countries too, Poland and Hungary with its almost non-existant foreigner numbers and neonazi governments come to mind.

    There are cities in the West with more foreigners than entire cities in the East hold. Frankfurt at 730,000 has 210,000 foreigners - only three cities in East Germany have more citizens in total than Frankfurt has foreigners. And that's not even counting those that the AfD considers "equal to foreigners" - in Frankfurt that's another 100,000 who were born in another country and have become German citizens, and the 125,000 children of these people. And for a West-German city of that size category Frankfurt has an average foreigner and migration background quota.

    The reason why most districts in that graph are at around 9% +-2% foreigners is btw because most voting districts in (West) Germany - sometimes in odd fashion - include a medium-sized town and its suburbs and outlaying neighbors. That somewhat averages the quota between towns and countryside. Only a few dozen districts are subsets of larger cities (Frankfurt above has two, each with about 360,000 people and about 215,000 people eligible to vote), which then become the few in the chart in the 20-30% foreigner quota region.

  8. #38
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    Politics-wise, everyone is already looking at the next state election btw - because that will be in only two-and-a-half weeks, on Oct 15th, way before a new federal government will be installed.

    The election is relevant for the future coalition because if the SPD manages to upset the election and head the new government in Lower Saxony (like the last one) then this will look to people like a "left resurge". I'm not really expecting that though, looking at the partial result of the federal election in the state; that one gives a majority to Jamaica there too, and no other options outside a Grand Coalition - like at federal level.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post


    The AfD is mostly split into a wing formed around Frauke Petry ("Realpolitiker") and a wing around Peter Gauland and Björn Höcke ("Fundamentalists"). Third group is the main wing around Jörg Meuthen, who mostly tries to keep the party together. This split has been fully evident since about half a year ago, after an affair in which Petry tried to get Höcke kicked out of the party to consolidate her position.
    Politically, Petry's group is trying to make the AfD into a "people's party" appealing to conservatives in general, with the Austrian FPÖ as a role model. The Höcke/Gauland group by comparison are extremists who have no qualms putting forward neonazi concepts in public, which does not conform with what Petry's trying to do at all.

    Each group has a main backer state AfD group, for Gauland and Höcke that's Thuringia, for Petry Saxony; other state AfD groups mostly back Meuthen. Supposedly immediately ahead of the election Petry's group has gained more traction among other state AfD groups though, to an extent that currently the mainstream press suggests that Petry is trying to split the new Bundestag AfD faction into a group of representatives joining her as a second rightwing faction besides the AfD.
    This sounds like what's the political word..... when you infiltrate and then divide....?

  10. #40
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    Majorities by political camps if taken together:

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    Greenish is CDU/CSU/FDP (171 mandates, center-right camp), Violetish is SPD/Greens/Left (127 mandates, center-left camp), Blueish is AfD (1 mandate, neonazi camp). Lighter color means below 50% for that camp. The four cutouts are the 1-million-plus-cities - from the top Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich.

  11. #41
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    AfD faction is down to 92 seats now, with some guy joining Petry. Apparently in the internal election electing Gauland for faction chairman there were eight "no", two invalid and three abstention votes; all 13 of these are considered potential further leavers.


    There's also currently a minor controversy over the seating order. The seats in the Bundestag are arranged in a semi-circle with factions sitting together and sorted by political leaning - leftmost sits The Left, then SPD, then Greens, then CDU, then CSU, then FDP (FDP sits rightmost since when they first entered in 1949 they were considered politically further rightwing than the CDU and CSU). By tradition the AfD - as the politically rightmost party - should now get the rightmost seats.

    However, there's two problems with that:
    a) FDP doesn't want to sit next to the AfD. They're demanding the whole faction to be replaced further to the center, to the left of the CDU and to the right of the Greens - that's where they are placed in state parliaments.
    b) Opposite that semi-circle of representatives sits basically the "rest" - the president of the Bundestag, the government, the senate and the parliamentary commissioner for defence. The arrangement however would then place the AfD "closest" to the government bench.

    The initial session of the Bundestag will probably be held with the "traditional" order - AfD rightmost, FDP inbetween them and CSU. There are ongoing discussions on the permanent seating order between the factions though.

    The issue is a bit more indepth than might be assumed from its levity; the last time there was a controversy over where a party should be seated was in 1983 when the Greens entered the parliament (CDU, CSU and FDP wanted them leftmost, because in the building used in Bonn that would have placed them in such a way that the press bench was above them - and thus they wouldn't appear on TV; the SPD at that point in time insisted on themselves forming the "leftmost" party). That controversy culminated in the Greens announcing that if they didn't get their seats in the center as asked for they'd simply stand in the middle of the room for parliamentary sessions, and was only resolved after four weeks on the last day before the initial session.


    Secondary problem, which i think hasn't been touched yet at all is the ceremonial position of "the president's secretaries" - two people who assist the Bundestag president in moderating sessions. These are fielded one each from the government factions and opposition factions, with a set number of elected people being switched through this function (in the current parliament there's 64 of these, about 10% of all representatives). That however means that the SPD and Left will have to share their opposition secretary with the AfD.
    In addition, similar to b) above the opposition secretary traditionally sits between the Bundestag president and the government's bench. And, even worse, the closest seat to the president's bench on the government bench is reserved for Angela Merkel, potentially placing her next to an AfD presidential secretary in some sessions.

    Offices in the Reichstag will also have to be redistributed, although that's in my opinion a rather miniscule problem. The press is lamenting the fact that for the last parliament each faction simply got one of the four towers of the Reichstag, and that you can't do that anymore with six factions in the parliament - apparently completely suppressing the fact that until 2013 we did have five factions in the Bundestag, not four.

  12. #42
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    Kato,

    Is it safe to say the SPD area in the midst of Schwabia would be Stuttgart? I think its too far north to be Tublingen with its university.

    Also, seeing the Saarland for SPD but Kaiserslautern/Ramstein for CDU kind of surprises me. With the large US military presence at Ktown/Ramstein AFB I figured the SPD & Greens would have had a larger impact there.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
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  13. #43
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    Here's an annotated enlarged version for the southwest:

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    Basically, the "progressive camp" (as The Left calls it) took all cities. Within the green areas in that map there's literally not a single agglomeration of more than 150,000 people.

    However the FPTP results almost entirely went to CDU. The only FPTP SPD mandates at all within this part of the map are Kaiserslautern and Saarbrücken - that darker patch under the "Saar Area" annotation. This is largely due to the strength of the Greens in Baden-Württemberg; the progressive camp in FPTP votes in these urban districts would easily get a majority, but Greens and SPD split this almost equally between them. In two districts - Stuttgart South and Freiburg - the CDU candidate won with only a 2.3% lead over the Green candidate in either case.

    As a table, for the FPTP votes instead in those areas in Baden-Württemberg shown with a SPD/Green/Left (progressive camp) majority over the CDU/FDP (conservative camp):

    - Stuttgart city North : 43.3% progressive, 42.2% conservative - won: CDU with 15.0% lead over SPD candidate
    - Stuttgart city South : 49.0% progressive, 40.4% conservative - won: CDU with 2.3% lead over Green candidate
    - Karlsruhe city : 48.8% progressive, 37.2% conservative - won: CDU with 5.0% lead over SPD candidate
    - Mannheim city : 48.4% progressive, 36.2% conservative - won: CDU with 1.4% lead over SPD candidate
    - Heidelberg area : 48.8% progressive, 39.3% conservative - won: CDU with 6.7% lead over SPD candidate
    - Tübingen area : 45.2% progressive, 43.6% conservative - won: CDU with 16.6% lead over Green candidate
    - Freiburg area : 55.7% progressive, 33.3% conservative - won: CDU with 2.3% lead over Green candidate

    Kaiserslautern for FPTP went 46.2% progressive vs 36.8% conservative and was won with the SPD candidate with a 2.6% lead over the CDU candidate.

    Parties in Germany are very state-oriented. Both in politics and in results. This goes especially for the Greens - in Baden-Württemberg' cities the there rather conservative-minded Greens can easily command 25-30% of the vote (... hence why they field the minister-president in coalition with the CDU who is their minority partner). In Rhineland-Palatinate across the Rhine they're at 10% at best, and usually more towards 5%. In the Saar the Greens perform like in RLP at 5% - but instead The Left suddenly gets an easy 15-20% there, and that's despite strong SPD results.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    With the large US military presence at Ktown/Ramstein AFB I figured the SPD & Greens would have had a larger impact there.
    Military presence has almost no impact on voting in Germany either way - that may have last been the case back in the 80s.
    Last edited by kato; 06 Oct 17, at 20:07.

  14. #44
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    First session of the new Bundestag is ongoing.
    • FDP is still seated between CDU and AfD
    • Wolfgang Schäuble was voted in as Bundestag president (2nd-highest election office in the country after federal president) with a large majority; most of the SPD apparently voted for him too.
    • the new Bundestag session was presided over by the representative with the second-longest service in the parliament, Hermann Otto Solms (FDP, age 76, 33 years in parliament until 2013 and FDP vice president of the parliament from 1998 to 2013).
      • This was changed over the usual process in which the oldest representative presides over the first session by a change of internal policies approved by the previous parliament in April.
      • Parliament today overwhelmingly rejected a motion by the AfD to change it back.
      • The reason for the change is that otherwise a AfD rep would have presided over the first session as the oldest person there (Wilhelm von Gottberg, age 77 - he's eight months older than Solms). The person with the longest service passed the duty on to the next in line since he'd become new Bundestag president anyway (Schäuble, at 45 years in parliament). The government had similar qualms when Stefan Heym (Left) opened the first session in 1994, refusing to have his opening speech printed in the official parliamentary bulletin until the opposition forced them to.
      • The AfD used the opportunity to compare the German government to Nazis, citing that supposedly the only time since 1848 that it wasn't the oldest person in parliament presiding over the first session was in 1933, following a change called for by Göring.
    • Federal president Steinmeier has asked Merkel to continue in her post until a new chancellor is elected. She and her 14 ministers will formally be relieved from office after today's session, but due to the president's request will keep doing their job regardless. This is standard procedure, i think we've had like 3 or 4 governments at all (out of 19) since WW2 that were elected immediately without such a temporary period.
    • The future Jamaica coalition voted together to reject a SPD motion supported by the Left. That motion demanded that Merkel would have to report to the parliament in person four times per year.


    Vice Bundestag presidents - one from each party - will be voted on later. That'll be interesting too, since it's considered standard that everyone supports even vice presidents from other parties. Doubt that'll be the case with the AfD candidate - and SPD, Left, FDP and Greens have already formally announced they'll reject him. The AfD candidate is Albrecht Glaser who previously stood for the AfD for the federal president election this year against Steinmeier, and who is considered controversial e.g. for statements that freedom of religion should only be a right for Christians.
    Most politicians compare the situtation to 2005, when Lothar Bisky (Left) was rejected four times when he stood for Bundestag vice president until the Left replaced him with Petra Pau as candidate who was voted in by the other parties in early 2006 (she has been Bundestag vice president since then, and again stands as the Left candidate for the current round).
    Last edited by kato; 24 Oct 17, at 14:57.

  15. #45
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    Other than the 92 AfD votes Glaser received only 23 out of 697 votes from other parties in the first round. 6 people did not vote, 12 marked their vote invalid, 26 abstained, 550 voted against him.

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