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10-10-2013 12:39 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
You're way off on your classical liberalism description. There's no-one that considers any form of liberalism as an extreme-right ideology. All forms of liberalism drift around the center despite variations from country to country. In America and Britain they're center-left, whereas Germany and Australia's liberals are center-right. But I don't know a single liberal party in the world that considers itself hard right.

I've seen a variety of two dimensional political spectra, with differing ideas for x and y axis. I would argue for x = economic policy, y = social policy and a third dimension to represent foreign policy. Historically foreign policy is more significant in measuring political positions in the left v right spectrum. Nationalism and foreign skepticism are consistently associated with traditional right-wing ideology, far more than economic libertarianism. Fascism, for instance, is economically closer to communism than conservatism.
As I tried to clarify in the parentheses after my classical liberalism description, 'extreme right' was meant to refer strictly to economic policy. I realize the term has a pejorative connotation and is usually used to describe an ideology that is socially authoritarian and either statist or corporatist economically, but I was only meaning to place classical liberalism on an economic spectrum (I agree that classical liberalism is absolutely not an extreme-right ideology when factoring in non-economic considerations). If communism is statist and extreme-left, I'd put classical liberalism as the purest alternative to communism (economically) and thus anti-statist and extreme-right. Doctrinaire classical liberals usually favor reducing taxation, spending and regulation to an absolute minimum, a position I characterize as far right as you can get economically. Liberals who favor some amount of government would be better described as social liberals and if they primarily are concerned with using government to protect the environment, blue greens. Also, the term 'liberal' is massively abused outside Europe. American liberals are generally social democrats/social liberals in practice (Obama being closer to a social democrat, Bill Clinton closer to a social liberal) and liberals in Australia are essentially conservatives (John Howard being a good recent example).

I agree that foreign policy is very important in properly classifying ideologies but I don't think it fits well on a left-right spectrum, which I'd reserve exclusively for economic policy. Nationalism appeals to essentially every economic ideology, with slight exceptions for some socially libertarian leftists and some anti-statist rightists (Austrian school classical liberals, like Ron Paul in the US, are frequently cool on military nationalism). I agree that conservatism is strongly associated with nationalism (something that helps differentiate it from classical liberalism) and that fascism can be placed parallel to communism on an economic spectrum. Like green politics, fascism is hard to peg economically; it can be either statist or corporatist. The one economic ideology that has minimal overlap with any form of fascism is pure classical liberalism.
10-10-2013 04:27 AM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Htom Sirveaux View Post
Left and right still work OK as strictly economic labels. My list would look like:

Extreme-left = communism/statism
Left = democratic socialism (something like what the French Socialists have historically pushed for and what Gorbachev allegedly wanted; it's difficult to give examples because it's never really been attemped for an extended period of time)
Center-left = social democrats
Center = agrarians/social liberals
Center-right = christian democrats
Right = conservatives
Extreme-right = classical liberals (only regarding economic policy; extreme is not meant as a pejorative in this instance)

Green parties can float anywhere from center to extreme-left, so they don't really fit well into that spectrum. I generally consider 'libertarians' to be classical liberals and socially moderate/conservative 'liberals' to be conservatives.

You need an x and y axis to measure economic and social values simultaneously. Something like this:



The social axis is generally where classical liberals clearly differentiate themselves from conservatives and social liberals/many greens differentiate themselves from center-left working class people who like the state for redistribution but are generally more socially conservative.

And I haven't seen it done much, but you really need three dimensions to incorporate foreign policy into a label. For example, there's currently a significant split on the American right between interventionists and isolationists even though many in both groups agree on most domestic policy questions.

For the record, I'm center-left, extremely socially liberal and a realist interventionist.
You're way off on your classical liberalism description. There's no-one that considers any form of liberalism as an extreme-right ideology. All forms of liberalism drift around the center despite variations from country to country. In America and Britain they're center-left, whereas Germany and Australia's liberals are center-right. But I don't know a single liberal party in the world that considers itself hard right.

I've seen a variety of two dimensional political spectra, with differing ideas for x and y axis. I would argue for x = economic policy, y = social policy and a third dimension to represent foreign policy. Historically foreign policy is more significant in measuring political positions in the left v right spectrum. Nationalism and foreign skepticism are consistently associated with traditional right-wing ideology, far more than economic libertarianism. Fascism, for instance, is economically closer to communism than conservatism.
10-09-2013 08:03 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
I'm not even sure how accurate these left and right labels are anymore. Traditionally:

Extreme-left = communism
Moderate-left = democratic socialism
Center-left = social democrat or social liberal
Center = liberalism
Center-right = conservatism
Moderate-right = nationalism
Extreme-right = fascism

Theoretically, Libertarianism and Green politics don't fit into this spectrum although the former is associated with the right and the latter with the left. I could consider myself a Liberal Green Libertarian - I'm center on foreign policy, center-left on social and environmental issues, and center-right on economic policy.
Left and right still work OK as strictly economic labels. My list would look like:

Extreme-left = communism/statism
Left = democratic socialism (something like what the French Socialists have historically pushed for and what Gorbachev allegedly wanted; it's difficult to give examples because it's never really been attemped for an extended period of time)
Center-left = social democrats
Center = agrarians/social liberals
Center-right = christian democrats
Right = conservatives
Extreme-right = classical liberals (only regarding economic policy; extreme is not meant as a pejorative in this instance)

Green parties can float anywhere from center to extreme-left, so they don't really fit well into that spectrum. I generally consider 'libertarians' to be classical liberals and socially moderate/conservative 'liberals' to be conservatives.

You need an x and y axis to measure economic and social values simultaneously. Something like this:



The social axis is generally where classical liberals clearly differentiate themselves from conservatives and social liberals/many greens differentiate themselves from center-left working class people who like the state for redistribution but are generally more socially conservative.

And I haven't seen it done much, but you really need three dimensions to incorporate foreign policy into a label. For example, there's currently a significant split on the American right between interventionists and isolationists even though many in both groups agree on most domestic policy questions.

For the record, I'm center-left, extremely socially liberal and a realist interventionist.
10-09-2013 07:48 PM
Har-Tru
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Htom Sirveaux View Post
Non-German descriptions of the electoral system there tend to simplify it into: half the seats from FPTP districts and half from party lists (with the list vote used exclusively when determining the proportional allocation in the Bundestag). By 'region', do you mean the equivalent of a district or a state (Land)? I remember hearing that former East German states were counted separately for party list purposes in the first reunification election, but I didn't think that system was still in place. If you just mean 'district', you could keep that vote entirely separate from the ranked list vote; the 'district' vote is really just an attempt to maintain some local representation at the federal level and doesn't effect the proportional balance of the Bundestag besides an exception made for parties winning several districts who fail to reach the 5% threshold (this is my understanding anyway). I don't think the overhang system currently in place would have to change with a ranked party list vote. The second choice votes (from voters who's first party failed to reach the threshold) would simply run up the tally of the parties that did meet the threshold.

As for the reliability of political science, as always with social scientists (economists, sociologists, etc) it's important to account for their ideology and make sure their methodology is solid. The poli-sci research I'm referencing is of the 'serious' sort and is purely empirical and analytical. I've read some idealistic writings on electoral systems (and those are interesting for exploring new ideas), but I'd only look for research on a proper threshold from peer reviewed quality work. That's the kind of research I was referencing when I talked about a consensus existing about what threshold is too high. And while Germany is more diverse than Holland and Denmark, the diversity largely comes down to a divide between Protestants/Catholics and former Easterners/former Westerners plus a small Turkish minority; it's not the kind of 'New World' ethnic diversity or developing world religious/tribal sectarianism that can make consensus exceptionally difficult. I'd consider Germany's level of diversity cause to question how the country would handle a transition from a majoritarian system to a proportional system, but Germany already shows that it can handle proportionality and the threshold change would only be 1 or 2 percent which I think is more of a tweak than massive change.

And I agree that the particular difficulties of this election might be temporary. Pariah parties always cause difficulties in PR systems, and hopefully Die Linke will soon enter the mainstream and be able to work with the center left as is the case with other hard left parties in Western Europe. The right might have more difficulties finding a majority going forward if both the FDP and AfD compete in the next election with the same threshold; there's only so many liberal votes to go around after all. I also agree that the current situation isn't critical enough to create enough impetus for electoral reform.
Kathrin Göring-Eckardt (a realo) and Toni Hofreiter (a lefty) have been elected to the top of the Green Party. Of course, this being Germany, there are bound to be a handful of other big fishes in the party, but these two are supposed to be the ones at the steering wheel, having taken the torch from Roth, Trittin and co.

I'm skeptical about Hofreiter. For one, I have my doubts that he'll be able to handle the big scene.

Anyway, CDU/CSU and Greens are due to meet on Thursday in coalition talks. Shit is bound to end in a cat fight between CSU and Greens, with them leaving Merkel alone at the table within 5 minutes of the start of the talks.
10-09-2013 06:38 PM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Htom Sirveaux View Post
When I said 'Hopefully Die Linke move into the mainstream', I meant to suggest that they'd be moderating and coming closer to the mainstream themselves, not that the SPD would simply start working with an uncompromising hard left party. I don't know enough about individual German parties to make endorsements, but as a center-left person I can only imagine how irritating it would be to have somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the left vote locked up with a party that you couldn't work with and essentially kill the possibility for center-left government.

I'd simply like to see Germany behaving like other PR European countries where there's a possibility of the center-left working with the other relevant left parties (or a centrist party for that matter). Even in those more 'normal' countries (ie, no Communist legacy) it's not a foregone conclusion that the center-left will work with the hard left (Sweden and Holland have both recently seen pretty big divisions on the left), but the possibility for cooperation is at least there and politics generally follows a 'choose the left block or the right block' pattern. Germany is currently more like 'choose the right block or end up with right dominated centrist government'. I can of course understand why that would be an ideal situation for center-right person (), but I don't see it as being a sustainable state of affairs.
I'm not even sure how accurate these left and right labels are anymore. Traditionally:

Extreme-left = communism
Moderate-left = democratic socialism
Center-left = social democrat or social liberal
Center = liberalism
Center-right = conservatism
Moderate-right = nationalism
Extreme-right = fascism

Theoretically, Libertarianism and Green politics don't fit into this spectrum although the former is associated with the right and the latter with the left. I could consider myself a Liberal Green Libertarian - I'm center on foreign policy, center-left on social and environmental issues, and center-right on economic policy.
10-09-2013 02:44 AM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
Die Linke working in any government is the scariest prospect I could imagine. Hopefully the entire left-bloc continues its decline now the economy is stable. FDP alone got 15% in 2009 so there are plenty of liberal votes to go around. German public opinion is surprisingly volatile for such an economically stable country. Greens were up to 20% just two years ago and Piraten reached 15% at one point. I can see AfD reaching 15-20%, especially if the Greek crisis continues. Difficult to say how FDP's future looks but they may have to merge with AfD if they can't recover. Then again they might decide to shift party policy leftwards as they did back in the 70s.
When I said 'Hopefully Die Linke move into the mainstream', I meant to suggest that they'd be moderating and coming closer to the mainstream themselves, not that the SPD would simply start working with an uncompromising hard left party. I don't know enough about individual German parties to make endorsements, but as a center-left person I can only imagine how irritating it would be to have somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of the left vote locked up with a party that you couldn't work with and essentially kill the possibility for center-left government.

I'd simply like to see Germany behaving like other PR European countries where there's a possibility of the center-left working with the other relevant left parties (or a centrist party for that matter). Even in those more 'normal' countries (ie, no Communist legacy) it's not a foregone conclusion that the center-left will work with the hard left (Sweden and Holland have both recently seen pretty big divisions on the left), but the possibility for cooperation is at least there and politics generally follows a 'choose the left block or the right block' pattern. Germany is currently more like 'choose the right block or end up with right dominated centrist government'. I can of course understand why that would be an ideal situation for center-right person (), but I don't see it as being a sustainable state of affairs.
10-09-2013 01:17 AM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Htom Sirveaux View Post
And I agree that the particular difficulties of this election might be temporary. Pariah parties always cause difficulties in PR systems, and hopefully Die Linke will soon enter the mainstream and be able to work with the center left as is the case with other hard left parties in Western Europe. The right might have more difficulties finding a majority going forward if both the FDP and AfD compete in the next election with the same threshold; there's only so many liberal votes to go around after all. I also agree that the current situation isn't critical enough to create enough impetus for electoral reform.
Die Linke working in any government is the scariest prospect I could imagine. Hopefully the entire left-bloc continues its decline now the economy is stable. FDP alone got 15% in 2009 so there are plenty of liberal votes to go around. German public opinion is surprisingly volatile for such an economically stable country. Greens were up to 20% just two years ago and Piraten reached 15% at one point. I can see AfD reaching 15-20%, especially if the Greek crisis continues. Difficult to say how FDP's future looks but they may have to merge with AfD if they can't recover. Then again they might decide to shift party policy leftwards as they did back in the 70s.
10-08-2013 05:29 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
Yes it sounds good in theory, I just think Germans will reject it as too complicated. You already have to vote for your regional candidate and a party at national level, but both count in the calculation of national Bundestag seats. For instance, PDS only got 4% in 2002 but still obtained 2 seats thanks to being the strongest party in two regions. So AV would require 2nd votes for both categories, totaling 4 votes. Then if second choices have to be made at regional level, it could change the most popular party, thereby eliminating it from parliament and then another party has to be disregarded in the 1st choice votes. It's a recipe for spiraling complexity and chaos, costing time and money.

I'm always suspicious of what political science intellectuals believe is the right course. They spend far more time designing perfect idealistic systems which most voters don't have time to consider. Country comparisons are tricky, especially in cases like Holland, Israel, Denmark which are about the same size as just one of Germany's 17 states. Small 10million population countries with fewer cultural and income differences are bound to find consensus and compromise much more easily than 80million. I noticed the result of the Austrian election where there's a 4% threshold. I'm sure it works but doesn't necessarily make it compatible for their bigger neighbour.

As your article said, this election had the most number of votes for "other parties" since WW2. Unless you want to nit-pick about 2% parties not making the cut, this really has been a one-off result. Never before has any party missed the cut with 4.5-4.9% of the vote, let alone two parties. Mostly bad luck caused by FDP's scandals and AfD's mis-timed entry into the race. If we get a similar result next election, then I'm sure alarm bells will ring but for now Germans don't care enough.
Non-German descriptions of the electoral system there tend to simplify it into: half the seats from FPTP districts and half from party lists (with the list vote used exclusively when determining the proportional allocation in the Bundestag). By 'region', do you mean the equivalent of a district or a state (Land)? I remember hearing that former East German states were counted separately for party list purposes in the first reunification election, but I didn't think that system was still in place. If you just mean 'district', you could keep that vote entirely separate from the ranked list vote; the 'district' vote is really just an attempt to maintain some local representation at the federal level and doesn't effect the proportional balance of the Bundestag besides an exception made for parties winning several districts who fail to reach the 5% threshold (this is my understanding anyway). I don't think the overhang system currently in place would have to change with a ranked party list vote. The second choice votes (from voters who's first party failed to reach the threshold) would simply run up the tally of the parties that did meet the threshold.

As for the reliability of political science, as always with social scientists (economists, sociologists, etc) it's important to account for their ideology and make sure their methodology is solid. The poli-sci research I'm referencing is of the 'serious' sort and is purely empirical and analytical. I've read some idealistic writings on electoral systems (and those are interesting for exploring new ideas), but I'd only look for research on a proper threshold from peer reviewed quality work. That's the kind of research I was referencing when I talked about a consensus existing about what threshold is too high. And while Germany is more diverse than Holland and Denmark, the diversity largely comes down to a divide between Protestants/Catholics and former Easterners/former Westerners plus a small Turkish minority; it's not the kind of 'New World' ethnic diversity or developing world religious/tribal sectarianism that can make consensus exceptionally difficult. I'd consider Germany's level of diversity cause to question how the country would handle a transition from a majoritarian system to a proportional system, but Germany already shows that it can handle proportionality and the threshold change would only be 1 or 2 percent which I think is more of a tweak than massive change.

And I agree that the particular difficulties of this election might be temporary. Pariah parties always cause difficulties in PR systems, and hopefully Die Linke will soon enter the mainstream and be able to work with the center left as is the case with other hard left parties in Western Europe. The right might have more difficulties finding a majority going forward if both the FDP and AfD compete in the next election with the same threshold; there's only so many liberal votes to go around after all. I also agree that the current situation isn't critical enough to create enough impetus for electoral reform.
10-07-2013 08:53 PM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

In the meantime I'm delighted to see little progress being made in the coalition talks. Unsurprisingly, no-one wants to be the junior coalition partner seeing as how both SPD and FDP popularity were destroyed in the last two governments. That leaves the president with the decision of whether to appoint Merkel as Chancellor in a minority government or call for re-elections. The latter is apparently even worse for the SPD because the public will perceive them as prioritizing the party over the nation - at least that's what ARD says. Long term it sounds pretty win-win for me.

I believe the old CDU-FDP coalition continues in power until the new government is formed, which is absolutely fine by me.
10-07-2013 08:43 PM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Htom Sirveaux View Post
I like the second party vote idea because it encourages voters to take a risk and vote for the party they actually like while ensuring that supporting that small party doesn't end up helping the parties you least like (encouraging party competition while removing perverse incentives). It also allows the hurdle to stay exactly where it is which should make Germans who want to avoid political fragmentation happy. It's essentially the instant runoff or alternative vote system which is already used in Australia and Ireland with minimal fuss. The only change on ballots would have to be 'rank your two favorite parties' instead of 'vote for your favorite party'. A ranked system encourages especially strong coordination between large and small parties ahead of elections because the parties always announce their preferred ranking order; Australian politics is famous for this.

As for a magic number for a threshold, I'm pretty sure political science research has said that five is definitely too high while there's no consensus on what's too low, although most in the field feel that the Dutch and Israeli systems with no formal threshold should be avoided. A super-low threshold works well enough in a country like Holland where there's a culture of consensus (and it's even under strain there as the country struggles to integrate its Muslim minority on top of competing in the global economy), but Israel shows what happens with that system in a country with sharp political divisions. I'd probably be happy with three or four, but I'm sure a little research would clarify what the point is where you cross over from encouraging enough parties to make coalition formation easier to encouraging too many parties and thus making coalition formation difficult. Germany is already an outlier (among rich Western PR countries) with its five percent threshold though.

And of course I agree that the results of this past election need to be respected. Everyone knew the rules going in. But this isn't really just one election result provoking this reaction; this is the third federal election in a row where one of the Volkspartei's isn't polling like a Volkspartei and the second out of the past three where a grand coalition seems necessary. Also, something like six of the German states are currently governed by grand coalitions. That wouldn't be a problem in and of itself, but it's clear the the SPD rank and file is deciding that these coalitions aren't good for their party. It's not at all clear that these coalitions will remain an option in the future, and Germany might not even get a grand coalition for this federal election. The system is clearly showing strains.
Yes it sounds good in theory, I just think Germans will reject it as too complicated. You already have to vote for your regional candidate and a party at national level, but both count in the calculation of national Bundestag seats. For instance, PDS only got 4% in 2002 but still obtained 2 seats thanks to being the strongest party in two regions. So AV would require 2nd votes for both categories, totaling 4 votes. Then if second choices have to be made at regional level, it could change the most popular party, thereby eliminating it from parliament and then another party has to be disregarded in the 1st choice votes. It's a recipe for spiraling complexity and chaos, costing time and money.

I'm always suspicious of what political science intellectuals believe is the right course. They spend far more time designing perfect idealistic systems which most voters don't have time to consider. Country comparisons are tricky, especially in cases like Holland, Israel, Denmark which are about the same size as just one of Germany's 17 states. Small 10million population countries with fewer cultural and income differences are bound to find consensus and compromise much more easily than 80million. I noticed the result of the Austrian election where there's a 4% threshold. I'm sure it works but doesn't necessarily make it compatible for their bigger neighbour.

As your article said, this election had the most number of votes for "other parties" since WW2. Unless you want to nit-pick about 2% parties not making the cut, this really has been a one-off result. Never before has any party missed the cut with 4.5-4.9% of the vote, let alone two parties. Mostly bad luck caused by FDP's scandals and AfD's mis-timed entry into the race. If we get a similar result next election, then I'm sure alarm bells will ring but for now Germans don't care enough.
10-07-2013 02:38 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
Too complicated. Germans already have to vote twice and there's no way of telling which parties will make the cut before ballots are released. It seems also coercive to say "your party is too small, pick one that's more sensible" (ie vote for someone WE like).

In terms of lowering the threshold, where does it get lowered to? I've heard all sorts of suggestions: 4%, 3%, 1%, 4.5%, π%, or maybe remove it entirely and let 0.1% communist and fascist parties sit in parliament. There's just no magical number that stands out and we have to make a subjective decision.

My two favourite parties are FDP and AfD, so I should be especially unhappy with the current system. But the rules were clear, I have to accept that and it's premature to condemn an entire system because of one result.
I like the second party vote idea because it encourages voters to take a risk and vote for the party they actually like while ensuring that supporting that small party doesn't end up helping the parties you least like (encouraging party competition while removing perverse incentives). It also allows the hurdle to stay exactly where it is which should make Germans who want to avoid political fragmentation happy. It's essentially the instant runoff or alternative vote system which is already used in Australia and Ireland with minimal fuss. The only change on ballots would have to be 'rank your two favorite parties' instead of 'vote for your favorite party'. A ranked system encourages especially strong coordination between large and small parties ahead of elections because the parties always announce their preferred ranking order; Australian politics is famous for this.

As for a magic number for a threshold, I'm pretty sure political science research has said that five is definitely too high while there's no consensus on what's too low, although most in the field feel that the Dutch and Israeli systems with no formal threshold should be avoided. A super-low threshold works well enough in a country like Holland where there's a culture of consensus (and it's even under strain there as the country struggles to integrate its Muslim minority on top of competing in the global economy), but Israel shows what happens with that system in a country with sharp political divisions. I'd probably be happy with three or four, but I'm sure a little research would clarify what the point is where you cross over from encouraging enough parties to make coalition formation easier to encouraging too many parties and thus making coalition formation difficult. Germany is already an outlier (among rich Western PR countries) with its five percent threshold though.

And of course I agree that the results of this past election need to be respected. Everyone knew the rules going in. But this isn't really just one election result provoking this reaction; this is the third federal election in a row where one of the Volkspartei's isn't polling like a Volkspartei and the second out of the past three where a grand coalition seems necessary. Also, something like six of the German states are currently governed by grand coalitions. That wouldn't be a problem in and of itself, but it's clear the the SPD rank and file is deciding that these coalitions aren't good for their party. It's not at all clear that these coalitions will remain an option in the future, and Germany might not even get a grand coalition for this federal election. The system is clearly showing strains.
10-07-2013 04:46 AM
Jimnik
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

Too complicated. Germans already have to vote twice and there's no way of telling which parties will make the cut before ballots are released. It seems also coercive to say "your party is too small, pick one that's more sensible" (ie vote for someone WE like).

In terms of lowering the threshold, where does it get lowered to? I've heard all sorts of suggestions: 4%, 3%, 1%, 4.5%, π%, or maybe remove it entirely and let 0.1% communist and fascist parties sit in parliament. There's just no magical number that stands out and we have to make a subjective decision.

My two favourite parties are FDP and AfD, so I should be especially unhappy with the current system. But the rules were clear, I have to accept that and it's premature to condemn an entire system because of one result.
10-04-2013 07:25 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel def P.Steinbrück 42% - 2

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-925817.html

A Der Spiegel article (English) on the threshold. The most interesting point to me is the recommendation for an 'additional [party] vote' so that voters for parties that don't qualify can still see their votes count and contribute to a working parliamentary majority. I'd like to see a breakdown of how the Reichstag would currently look if that system was in place. That's assuming exit polls asked for second party preference of course; perhaps an estimation of second party preference could be made from some other existing data.
09-29-2013 04:55 PM
Htom Sirveaux
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel vs P.Steinbrück. WWW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
The Green party in Germany is already effectively a Socialist Green platform. Their election campaign consisted of more social programs and foreign policy than their traditional emphasis on environmental issues. They're now a left-wing compromise between the centre-left SPD and extreme-left Linkspartei. With surveys indicating 76% of Germans reasonably satisfied with their living standard, it's no surprise to see why the left-wing opposition to the center-right government lost a further share of the vote from their already disastrous 2009 result.

Another recent survey indicated 83% of Germans are against lowering the Bundestag threshold below 5%, despite the results of the last election. Clearly the public are already tired of the number of new parties emerging as young voters try to rebel against the traditional Volksparteien. This is why the trend in recent years (such as the merger of PDS, Die Linke and breakaway SPD ministers) is for small parties to merge, not for larger parties to split. Even AfD tried to merge with the Piraten in time for the election. Especially after dealing with a complicated Grand Coalition with mixed government policy and an even more split opposition of liberals and leftists, Germans certainly don't want to see 6-party coalitions taking power.
Is there a large difference between the federal Greens and Greens at the state level? I see there have been Black-Green coalitions in several states, so there must be some more centrist faction operating somewhere within the party. Isn't Kretschmann's Baden-Wuertemberg government for example explicitly 'realo' Green? It was an Google-translated Spiegel or FAZ article that I saw mentioning that the leftist Green leaders had resigned after this election, and that while the party might be more moderate going forward the CDU wouldn't want to work with a party that was currently so unstable at the top. Har-Tru, as a Green voter do you any more insight into the future of the party?

Regarding German opposition to a lower vote threshold, it's a bit of a stereotype outside the country that the Weimar Republic's descent into Nazism made Germans genetically allergic to both inflation and political fragmentation. So I'm not surprised that Volkspartei-suppporting Germans are still hostile to many party coalitions, but they might not have a choice in the long term. I don't see the Greens, FDP or Die Linke going away, the AfD is symptomatic of the latent split on the right regarding how to handle the Euro and the Pirates seem to show that the Greens aren't attracting radical young people as well as they once did. The fragmentation wouldn't be a problem if the formation of grand coalitions was popular for both the CDU and SPD, but the SPD has clearly learned that the last one hurt them in 2009 and the CDU/CSU is unlikely to be happy about having to govern as centrists after getting 41% and a near majority in the Bundestag. If complicated coalition formation is a fear, Holland and Denmark have both been politically fragmented for years with significant time and compromise needed to form coalitions and yet most independent observers would consider both of those countries to be just as stable and successful as Germany.
09-29-2013 09:30 AM
Har-Tru
Re: 2013 Bundestagswahl (German Federal Election): A.Merkel vs P.Steinbrück. WWW?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jimnik View Post
The Green party in Germany is already effectively a Socialist Green platform. Their election campaign consisted of more social programs and foreign policy than their traditional emphasis on environmental issues. They're now a left-wing compromise between the centre-left SPD and extreme-left Linkspartei. With surveys indicating 76% of Germans reasonably satisfied with their living standard, it's no surprise to see why the left-wing opposition to the center-right government lost a further share of the vote from their already disastrous 2009 result.

Another recent survey indicated 83% of Germans are against lowering the Bundestag threshold below 5%, despite the results of the last election. Clearly the public are already tired of the number of new parties emerging as young voters try to rebel against the traditional Volksparteien. This is why the trend in recent years (such as the merger of PDS, Die Linke and breakaway SPD ministers) is for small parties to merge, not for larger parties to split. Even AfD tried to merge with the Piraten in time for the election. Especially after dealing with a complicated Grand Coalition with mixed government policy and an even more split opposition of liberals and leftists, Germans certainly don't want to see 6-party coalitions taking power.
Hardly. Their election campaign has been comparable to their previous ones. The difference is, the other parties (notably CDU) have adopted in whole or in part some of the key environmental proposals of the Greens (nuclear power, genetically-modified food, biological egg production, etc.). The Greens still had those points and others (veggie day, remember how big that was) on their program, it's just other points, such as the tax reforms, were talked about more at the end.
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