Englischsprachige Abstracts der aktuellen Ausgabe der ZParl

Patzelt, Werner J.: The first generation of East German Members of Parliament. Part 1: personal backgrounds and role orientations.
What were the central characteristics of those members of parliament who rebuilt parliamentarism in Eastern Germany after reunification? A detailed picture emerges from surveys conducted in 1991/92 and in 1994. All East German MPs were included in a paper-and-pencil interview, and in-depth interviews were conducted with a random sample of MPs from Eastern Germany, West Berlin and West Germany. The results not only revealed similarities and dissimilarities between East and West German MPs but also changes in the role patterns of East German MPs during their first legislative term. In the first part of the analysis, published here, the focus lies on the political and vocational background of the first generation of East German MPs, their parliamentary learning processes, and their role orientations as well as their loyalty ties to their most important political “role partners”. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 509 – 533]

Carstensen, Franziska: Multi-level parliamentarism? The network of German Land parliaments’ relationships.
The term multi-level parliamentarism has been used to mark the position of German Land parliaments. To check the validity of this term, the relations between parliaments in regard to their parliamentary structure components, namely leadership, administration, committees, parliamentary party groups, and members of parliament within Germany are analyzed. The results show that Land parliaments generally engage in frequent exchanges with other Land parliaments, an exception exchanging between committees. Exchanges and relationships with parliaments outside Germany are mainly found on the levels of parliamentary leadership and administration. In light of these findings, applying the term multi-level parliamentarism does not seem to adequately depict Land parliaments. The results also reveal that the relations are not only inter-parliamentary and that they do not only take place in the frame of the European Union. Hence, using the term institutional relations of parliaments, albeit less sparkling, seems to adequately describe the real relations, efforts, and contacts of German Land parliaments. Another advantage of the term institutional relations is that it can be assigned to Land parliaments’ self-organization function and can thus be integrated into a common catalogue of parliamentary functions. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, p. 534 – 553]

Feser, Andreas: Do not rely on polarization! Drawing conclusions from the 2019 and 2020 election results for Germany’s party system.
False diagnostics are dangerous if they lead to false therapies. This is also true for election analyses. Diagnostic trends such as “Polarization” and “a new Cleavage” currently dominate the field. Despite being supposed to provide clarity, an in-depth analysis of various parties’ programs seems to hint at centrifugal rather than polarizing forces. If the diagnostic trends were accurate, election results on the federal and state level should align. Traditionally, the same two strongest parties dominated specific regions regardless of state or federal elections – only the results of smaller parties showed regional differences. This pattern, however, no longer describes the current political landscape with significant regional differences which party got the most votes in state and federal elections. Polarization simply cannot overcome the ambiguity of having to root one’s political program in highly accentuated regional party systems and at the same time provide general political directions on a federal level. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 554 – 575]

Horst, Patrick: The election of the Hamburg state parliament on February 23, 2020: SPD Mayor stands his ground against Green challenger and continues the red-green coalition.
The starting position before the elections to the Hamburg parliament was favourable for the governing red-green coalition. The citizens of Hamburg expected an exciting neck-and-neck race between SPD Mayor Peter Tschentscher and his Green challenger Katharina Fegebank, who passionately advocated a turnaround in climate and mobility policies. The duel of the Red-Green top politicians in Hamburg caused the opposition to disappear. The more intensively the issues were discussed during the election campaign, the more the mayor was able to distance himself from his challenger as a guarantor of “basic city functions”. On the election evening, the SPD felt itself as the winner – with a score of 39 .2 per cent and a 15-point lead over the Greens, and vice-Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Tschentscher’s predecessor in the office of Hamburg’s mayor, re-emerged as the SPD’s candidate for chancellor. But the election’s real winner was the Green party. Compared to the 2015 election, they managed not only to double their vote share but to also achieve their second-best result in a German state election. In the end, the SPD was nevertheless largely able to prevail over the Greens in the coalition negotiations owed to their campaign finish and the pressure to reach an agreement that ensued from the coronavirus crisis, which set in in mid-March. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 576 – 596]

Rütters, Peter: The Alternative for Germany (AfD) in parliaments – “the second round”.
The AfD was successful in each of the six elections held in 2019/20 (European Parliament, Bremen, Hamburg, Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia). The right-wing party either renewed or in most cases managed to enlarge its parliamentary representation. These successful elections were accompanied by a new adjustment of AfD’s ideological performance since its split in 2015. The result of this split was the dominance of right-wing and national conservative, right-wing populist as well as folkish-nationalist positions within the party. Whether and if so, how, those shifts are reflected in there- and newly elected AfD MPs is studied by analyzing their social profiles. Some of them strengthened the “movement-oriented” and anti-parliamentary focus of the AfD factions: (1) Only some of the former MPs managed to get re-nominated. It was mostly these politicians who shaped the ideological changes, represent these and are now the politically and parliamentary experienced core of the parliamentary parties. (2) They are accompanied by new MPs, who had been in the staff of the party, the parliamentary party or a single MP before they were nominated as candidates; in that way, they are part of the process of political professionalization and the party’s self-recruitment. (3) Some of the new MPs were nominated as candidates because of their former commitment to the AfD’s youth organisation (JA). (4) Furthermore, some of the new AfD-MPs were members of rather small right-wing parties (i. e., DSU, Die Freiheit) and gained their political experience especially in municipal councils. However, most of the new AfD-MPs – in particular of the three state parliaments (Brandenburg, Saxony, and Thuringia) and also of the EP – can be characterised as lacking political and parliamentary experience before becoming AfD members. As to constructive activities of a parliamentary party in the opposition, the AfD MPs are partly missing the political willingness, partly the parliamentary experience. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 597 – 621]

Maier, Jürgen: “That something extra” or “climate killer”? Empirical results of the change of parliamentary debate culture after the entry of the AfD into the German state parliaments.
In order to analyze whether the entry of the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) into parliaments has changed parliamentary debate culture a content analysis of budget debates for the period 2012-2017 is conducted, where the frequency of interruptions and the use of uncivil utterances during the speaker’s interruption in seven German state parliaments are measured before and after the entry of the AfD. The measured changes to developments in the two German states where the AfD did not succeed in moving into the state parliament are compared. The frequency of interruptions – and thus the conflictual nature of parliamentary debates – has increased as a result of the presence of the AfD. However, there are no indications that the increase in incivility is related to the entry of the AfD into the state parliaments. The likelihood of the AfD’s confrontational appearance increases with its parliamentary significance (e.g., the share of seats). By contrast, it is irrelevant for the appearance of the AfD in parliamentary debates whether they are more movement-oriented or more parliament-oriented. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 622 – 638]

Jutzi, Siegfried: The end of Thuringia’s gender parity law. The Constitutional Court of Thuringia decision on July 15, 2020 – VerfGH 2/20.
Thuringia’s electoral law stipulates a parity rule for its next state parliament election. Each political party’s electoral list should alternately be filled by female and male candidates. The Constitutional Court of Thuringia revoked the law. The Court ruled that the parity regulation compromised voters’ and candidates’ constitutional right to freedom and equality of choice as well as political parties’ right to freedom of action and equal opportunities. The ruling is commented approvingly in the result. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 639 – 649]

Grau, Andreas: “1968” in Schleswig-Holstein – “A novelty in the more recent history of German parliamentary history”. The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the attempt of a parliamentary survey of the “youth protests”.
In May of 1968, the CDU parliamentary party of Schleswig-Holstein’s parliament (Land- tag) established a working group to analyze the “youth protests” taking place throughout Germany. In that summer the Landtag constituted a special committee to ascertain the reasons for the student protests. The special committee held several consultations with political youth associations and experts up until early 1970 and in its final report criticized not only the work of the Landtag but also the work of the established parties. The reform proposals suggested in the final report are as relevant today as they were 50 years ago. The Schleswig-Holstein Landtag was the only German parliament that dealt with the youth’s criticism and situation. Whilst the parliamentary party of the CDU in the Landtag and the CDU Schleswig-Holstein appeared open and self-critical, the CDU’s national executive committee showed less understanding for the protests and saw no reason for reform. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 650 – 666]

Raisch, Judith and Reimut Zohlnhöfer: Are the school strikes for the climate influencing Germany’s political agenda-setting? Analyzing the Twitter communication of German Members of Parliament.
Have the school strikes for the climate (Fridays for Future (FFF) movement) affected political agenda setting in Germany? And does an MP’s party affiliation matter for how often and in what ways he or she mentions the FFF movement? These questions are answered by analyzing 78,000 Twitter tweets of 89 Members of the German Bundestag from all seven parties represented in parliament between November 2017 and April 2019. MPs of all par- ties paid more attention to climate issues after the school strikes began. Moreover, and in line with the expectations of the issue ownership literature, it turns out that MPs for the Greens and the Left Party referred more often to the FFF movement in their tweets than members of the AfD, FDP, CDU, and CSU. Similarly, Green and Left MPs’ tweets about the FFF movement were more positive, encouraged followers to support the movement more often, and linked comments on the FFF movement that critiqued the government’s climate policy more frequently than members of the latter parties. The tweets of SPD MPs resembled those of Green and Left MPs. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 667 – 682]

Linden, Markus: Quantity or quality? On the coexistence and conflict of parliamentary and private petitioning platforms.
The article outlines the recent development of the petitioning system in Germany and discusses the most important private and state platforms for public, digitally signable petitions. Connecting private platforms with the parliamentary petitioning system, which is sometimes demanded, would be counterproductive. The observable possibilities of influencing the course of petitions as well as the economic connections between the various private campaign and petitioning platforms speak against this. Instead, a plea is made for an upgrading of the parliamentary petitioning system. Two concrete measures appear promising here: the introduction of a petitioning hour in the plenary session of the German Bundestag and the establishment of public petitions that can be digitally signed in all federal states. Processes of fragmentation, economization, and devaluation of parliamentarism can thus be countered. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 683 – 702]

Sarcinelli, Ulrich: The state in the age of the Internet. An essay in search of the legitimation structure for the digital communication society.
Thinking about the role of the state during the corona pandemic may seem like “carrying coals to Newcastle”. After all, times of crisis are considered to be times of the executive. What is needed more than ever, therefore, seems to be a strong state capable of acting. However, the architecture of statehood has already changed and political and social science research had begun addressing this long before the current crisis. In particular, it is digitization that drives international networking. This raises questions of the conditions of its legitimation because the rule is increasingly associated with multilevel governance and diffusion of political responsibility. Here, however, it is argued that even in the much-invoked “post-national constellation” the state remains an authority of legitimation, if not the decisive one. In order to maintain and further develop liberal democracy, a new regulatory policy for the digital communication society is required, in which the state is not less important than an active civil society. [ZParl, vol. 51 (2020), no. 3, pp. 703 – 721]

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