Policy Brief: Relinquishment of the Political Center
Would a national CSU be able to compete better against the AfD?
Germany's established political parties are searching for strategies to counter right-wing populism. This also holds true for the CSU. While doing so, the CSU shouldn't overlook the fact that the AfD is a party on the right-wing populist margin. Whoever emulates them could end up there, as well. This is shown by our analysis of potential electorates in the new "EINWURF."
ELECTION ANALYSIS: The 2017 Bundestag Election: Election results reveal new line of conflict in Germany’s democracy
For the first time in two decades, the social divide in voter turnout for an election of Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, noticeably decreased. However, the election results simultaneously reveal a new line of conflict: between skeptics and supporters of modernization. This divide could also influence political debate and election results in the future.
Study: Before the election: Majority of Germans reject populist views
From Syriza and Podemos to Le Pen, Brexit and Trump: Political parties and individuals on both ends of the political spectrum have recently used populist sentiment to score political points. How do things look in the run-up to Germany's national elections? Our study defines what populism is – and shows that a majority of Germans do not hold populist views.
ELECTION ANALYSIS: Parliamentary Election in NRW: The Social Divide of Voter Turnout Has Intensified
North Rhine-Westphalia conforms to an ongoing trend: In Germany's most populous federal state, voter turnout for a state parliamentary election in the country went up for the eighth time in a row. But, as our election analysis demonstrates, the social divide of voter turnout in NRW also increased in 2017 when compared to the state parliamentary election in 2012.
Policy Brief: 598
The new election law renders the standard size of Germany’s Bundestag – 598 parliamentarians – obsolete. With the upcoming Bundestag election, the parliament could even swell to 700 or more members. But there’s still time for reforms!
Policy Brief: Ballots Mailed, Turnout Boosted!
Low and socially divided voter turnout harms Germany’s democracy. To vote by mail – the only flexible way to cast one’s ballot – citizens still have to apply before each election. If this hurdle were removed, voter turnout could go back up.
Policy Brief: "Modernizing the Vote" – 8-Point Plan to Raise Voter Turnout
Voter turnout in Germany is decreasing and no longer socially representative. This harms our democracy. There aren't any simple, fail-safe solutions for countering declining voter turnout. However, the eight proposals in the new issue of the "EINWURF" policy brief provide an outline of how voter turnout could be raised anew as well as how to mitigate its social inequality.
Study: Lowering the Voting Age to 16 Can Permanently Boost Voter Turnout
Voter turnout has been steadily declining for years in Germany for federal, state and municipal elections. That harms the democracy because elections are less and less representative and feature more and more social division. Lowering the voting age could halt this trend in the long run.
Election Analysis: The typical non-voter comes from a socially disadvantaged milieu
Voter participation has reached record lows in Germany. Although the Bertelsmann Stiftung has demonstrated several times that many non-voters live in precarious neighborhoods, their social profile continues to be a matter of dispute. A new analysis categorizes them for the first time into societal milieus.
DEMOCRACY STUDY: Election Results in Bremen Are Not Socially Representative
Voter participation for the parliamentary elections of the city-state of Bremen hit a record low of 50.1 percent in 2015. Socially precarious districts have become non-voter strongholds. The anchoring of political parties in the non-voter milieus is eroding. A recent study demonstrates the social divide of Bremen's state parliament.
Democracy Study: Results of Hamburg's 2015 Parliamentary Election Are Not Socially Representative
Voter turnout in Germany has been declining for years at all levels of government. The same holds true for Hamburg. Never before have so few citizens casted their votes (56.9 percent) as during the most recent state parliamentary election. Socially precarious urban districts have become non-voter strongholds. A recent study attests to the social divide of this northern city-state.
Study: Bundestag Debates: More Verbal Sparring Beneath the Federal Eagle?
In the eyes of citizens, debates in Germany's Bundestag are less and less appealing. Media reports on what happens there are growing rarer, and only one in four citizens can recall concrete details about a recent debate in the Bundestag. A new Bertelsmann Stiftung study analyzes these shortcomings and makes proposals for reforms that could enliven confrontations in parliament.
Study: The Older Generation Makes More Future-Oriented Decisions than the Younger One
The average voter is getting older and older, and younger people are going to the polls less and less often. There is growing concern about a so-called “pensioners’ democracy” in which parties make policies at the expense of intergenerational justice. But the older generation thinks in a more future-oriented manner than is often assumed.
Interview: Enriching Democracy
Citizens' participation has always been present on the municipal level. But two things have made participation an increasingly important matter on the state and national levels in Germany as well: the "Stuttgart 21" project involving major changes to the city’s main railway station and urban landscape, and the "enraged citizens" (Wutbürger) phenomenon involving mostly middle-aged and financially secure citizens who angrily protest in the streets because of their disappointment with politics. Below, the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Robert Vehrkamp explains this "changing participation" – which is also the title of a study recently published by the foundation ("Partizipation im Wandel").
Two-thirds of all citizens would like to make more political decisions themselves. Contrary to a popular preconception, rather than weakening democracy, these kinds of direct-democratic processes actually strengthen it.
Analysis: Why Socially Divided Voter Turnout Hurts the EU
For the 2014 European Parliament elections, the top half of society also had a much greater influence than the bottom half on the election results. Something similar had already happened with the 2013 elections for Germany's federal parliament, the Bundestag. The current issue of EINWURF analyzes the voter turnout.