Abstracts 3/2016 english




Gabriel, Oscar W. and Bernhard Kornelius: The state election in Baden-Wuerttemberg on March 13, 2016: The greenest greening.

The main characteristic of the Baden-Wuerttemberg state election held on March 16, 2016 was an impressive success of the Green party and a bitter defeat of the Christian Democrats (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD). While the Green party turned out as the strongest party in a German state parliament for the first time in history, the formerly dominant parties (CDU and SPD) had to accept their most bitter defeat in a Baden-Wuerttemberg state election. By contrast, the right wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) gained considerable electoral support and ranked third among the parliamentary parties. The most decisive factors of the electoral outcome were the extraordinary high popularity of Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Green party), the debate on the refugee policy and the overall positive assessment of the governmental performance in the preceding legislature. By contrast, the oppositional CDU candidate for the prime minister’s office was poorly evaluated by the electorate, and the CDU’s policy stand in the refugee policy – the most salient issue in the electoral campaign – was perceived as quarrelled over within the party by the voters. After a short bargaining process, the two largest parties in the state parliament, the Greens and the CDU, agreed on forming a coalition that took over office on May 12, 2016. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 497 – 518]


Gothe, Heiko: The state election in Rhineland-Palatinate on March 13, 2016: Popular Social Democratic Prime Minister leads Rhineland-Palatinate into a coalition with Liberals and Greens.

In 2013 Kurt Beck, known as “Father of the Federal State”, handed over the office of Prime Minister to the long term Minister for Social Affairs Malu Dreyer who led the coalition of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens for the remaining three years. Since September 2015 the political agenda had been dominated by refugee and integration issues. This led to a frequently emotionalized politicization during the election campaign. Furthermore there was a strong focus on the two top candidates – for the first time in a German election two women fought to become State Prime Minister. On March 13, 2016 the party system became much more diverse than before with five parties in the state parliament (instead of three). The SPD – led by the extremely popular Dreyer – became the strongest party. Although the SPD could only slightly increase their vote share, this result was celebrated as a huge success since the party could push down the Christian Democrats (CDU) to second place. Even though the CDU could increase its absolute number of votes, top candidate Julia Klöckner failed a second time. She had pursued a double strategy by both distinction and agreement towards Chancellor Merkel’s refugee policy, which led to confusion in the electorate. As a consequence the CDU reached its worst percentage result in the election history of Rhineland-Palatinate. Electoral winner was the Alternative for Germany (AfD) which came from nothing to become the third strongest party with 12.6 percent. Its huge success is based on a voter migration from all political parties and on the mobilization of former non-voters. Votes for the AfD were – in contrast to those for other parties – mainly influenced by the debate about refugees/migration. Another electoral winner was the Liberal Party, which was able to re-enter the federal state parliament. The biggest losers were the Greens. Without the political agenda being shaped by the nuclear disaster in Fukushima the party was not able to keep the voters, which it had taken from the SPD in the 2011 election and was therefore barely able to remain in parliament. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no.3, pp. 519 – 540]


Holtmann, Everhard and Kerstin Völkl: The state election in Saxony-Anhalt on March 13, 2016: Doomed general mood, shifted proportions of power.

The election campaign was embedded in a general mood of diffuse and specific anxiety. Since the turn of the year 2015/16 the problem of refugees and asylum seekers dominated the agenda, causing that genuine issues of state politics no longer received adequate notice. In its wake, the right wing populist party Alternative for Germany (AfD) rapidly rose in the polls as a favourite for large segments of the electorate. As a final result, the AfD came out as the second strongest party, gaining nearly one quarter of all votes. The “anti-party” AfD attracted workers and jobless persons above-average as well as male voters and those of lower education. On the other hand, the Social Democratic Party (SPD) with hardly more than ten percent shrunk to a small party. The SPD suffered from its party-internal weaknesses (low party competence, unpopular front-runner, unclear coalition preference) and from an unfavourable national trend. Despite some loss of voters, the Christian Democrats (CDU), too, maintained their position as the leading party. All parties agreed on rejecting the AfD as a potential coalition partner. In consequence, CDU, SPD and the Greens formed a so-called Kenia-coalition (black-red-green). [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 541 – 561]


Hornig, Eike-Christian: Frankfurt Airport’s expansion – an obstacle on the way to forming the CDU and the Greens coalition in Hesse in 2013 (or not)?

In the campaigns prior to the election in Hesse in 2013 the expansion of the Frankfurt Airport was one of the dominating issues. It was also considered to be the main obstacle for the then emerging option of a coalition of the CDU and the Greens in Hesse. The compromise found between both parties on this issue was widely perceived as a concession of the Greens to their new partner in government. Especially the local protest groups against the airport’s expansion accused the party of treason with regard to election promises. Was the Green party really rewarded in the election for its anti-expansion-position, which if true would lend substance to the turnaround claim? The analysis of election and aviation noise data refutes the turnaround-thesis. Since the Greens did not benefit from the airport issue in the election, the alleged treason rather appears to be a de-bonding of the Greens from protest groups in- and outside of the party. The airport issue was less important as it seemed to be prior and after the election. Presumably it was this insight, which changed the cost-benefit ratio of the Greens in Hesse, finally opening the door to form the coalition with the CDU. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 561 – 573]


Ley, Richard: Election of Prime Ministers in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Saxony and Thuringia from 1990 to 2015.

The article analyzes the electoral law to become Prime Minister in the new Lander with regard to similarities and differences and it compares the regulations with the old German federal states. Therefore the approach can be seen as an inner-German constitutional comparison for a major scope, which is the participation of state parliaments in constituting the state governments. Unlike, for instance, in the constitutions of the southern German federal states, which were adopted after the 2nd World War, the members of the five constitutional conferences of the new Lander limited this core element of parliamentary systems by involving the parliaments only in the first step of forming a government, the election of the Prime Minister. Instead they decided to establish new forms of a multi-stage election procedure to rigorously work towards the election of a Prime Minister. Altogether the settings and results of 40 elections of Prime Ministers in the first quarter century of their being are documented and analyzed. Thus the article makes an effort to understand constitutional history of the new Lander and represents an important aspect of establishing a democracy in the process of transition after the German reunification. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 573 – 606]


Reutter, Werner: Vice presidents in German state parliaments. A survey prompted by the revision of Brandenburg’s constitution.

Research on vice presidents of German state parliaments is almost non-existent. Yet, there seem to be tensions between the principles guiding the election of vice presidents and the tasks they are assigned. On the one hand vice presidents are closely connected to the structure of party rule in parliament. Parliamentary parties propose candidates, elect and have to accept vice presidents. On the other hand, vice presidents have to perform their duties impartially and neutrally. Only then are they able to represent the parliament as an institution. The paper describes and analyses how this tension has been dealt with in German state parliaments and how vice presidents manage to effectively execute the competences assigned to them. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 607 – 618]


Jänicke, Steffen P.J.: Assisting members of parliaments to being independent and professional with the support of research services – perspectives for German state parliaments like the Hamburgische Bürgerschaft.

The article is concerned with learning how the research services of German parliaments support members of parliaments in carrying out their duties in an independent and professional manner. Starting point of the analysis is the statement that the Hamburgische Bürgerschaft – different from most parliaments of the other German Lander and the German Bundestag – does not have such a research service. On the occasion of a debate that was held in the Hamburg state parliament on the development of the construction of Hamburg’s concert hall ”Elbphilharmonie“ and on the establishment of a sub-committee on parliamentary reforms, questions arise how research services operate and which fundamental decisions have to be taken when implementing such a service, in respect of its tasks, working methods, organisational structure and a possible interconnection with the work of parliamentary committees. Based hereupon, as a perspective of the realisation for a state parliament such as the Hamburgische Bürgerschaft, some practical suggestions are made, especially a financing proposal for Hamburg where a reform of its law on parliamentary investigation committees could help. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 618 – 635]


Träger, Hendrik and Jan Pollex: Mayoral and district administrator’s elections between structural weaknesses and experiences of local government: an analysis of the direct elections in Saxony (1994 to 2015).

The article analyses the mayoral and district administrator’s elections in Saxony from 1994 to 2015. In these elections the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) won nearly all mandates with only a few exceptions and currently holds all district mandates in Saxony. In the mayoral elections in Saxony’s three large cities the CDU, however, is unsuccessful. The Christian Democratic candidate running for office during the latest election in Dresden was defeated, and in Leipzig and Chemnitz the Social Democrats (SPD) have held mayoral offices since the early 1990s. To explain these results the article focuses on party memberships in Saxony and the party’s ability to nominate suitable candidates. With the exception of the CDU in rural areas, low party membership numbers are relevant because they lower the ability to organize election campaigns and they limit the candidate pool. Furthermore, a candidate’s regional connections and experiences in municipal administrations are relevant factors of success. In addition, party alliances could compensate the small number of possible candidates and, moreover, forming coalitions with independent candidates could be successful methods in local elections. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 636 – 656]


Nyhuis, Dominic: Party or person? Party-specific electoral motives in Baden-Württemberg’s municipal elections.

The relevance of ideology for local political behaviour is a core interest of research on municipal governments. An extensive literature has considered the level of party orientation within municipal councils and for local voting behaviour. In either case, the level of personalization is frequently perceived as a common characteristic for all parties. This study argues that there are party-specific differences in the degree of personalization. In an analysis of the municipal electoral results in selected cities in Baden-Wurttemberg in the years 1980 to 2014 it is shown that parties benefit from candidate-centred voting to different degrees. While the electoral results of municipal voters’ associations and of the Liberal Party (FDP) are due to a candidate orientation, ideologically more extreme parties benefit from high levels of party orientation. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 657 – 669]


Bug, Mathias: Counter-terrorism as a tool against small-scale crime – reason and reality of retaining communication data in Germany.

This paper summarises the development of arguments, from 1996 to 2015, around the establishment of a means of retaining communication data (Vorratsdatenspeicherung). It focuses on the key parliamentary proceedings in both the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat. In the early phase of the observed period, arguments alternated in a manner that can be explained by their temporal context. Later, official arguments were informed by an – accordingly very general – culmination of patterns of justification. This analysis is supported through an expanded model of securitisation. The subsequent comparison of the central arguments raised in the process of political negotiation and the police use of telecommunications data in order to combat criminality indicates a mismatch between the arguments brought forward and police routines. In particular, the marked role of communications data in combating drug crime did not feature in official arguments. It is argued that this long lasting discrepancy threatened the legitimacy of the specific measure and thus also weakens the trust in state actors of internal security. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 670 – 692]


Debus, Marc: Parliamentary elections during dictatorship: An analysis of voting behaviour on the county level at the Reichstag election on November 12, 1933.

The analysis of voting behaviour – and particularly the reasons for the increasing vote share of the National Socialists (NSDAP) – in the Weimar Republic and the socio-structural composition of the electorate of the party have been scrutinized by numerous studies. However, an analysis of the results at the Reichstag election on November 12, 1933 is still missing. In this election, the electorate had indeed only the possibility to vote for the NSDAP, but there was a considerable part of spoiled ballot papers that varied significantly over the districts and district-free cities as did the share of non-voters. This article aims at answering the question whether and how indicators for the regional social background can help to explain the different spreading of turnout and void ballots at this so-called election. Based on theoretically derived expectations and the election results on the district level, it shows by means of multivariate regression analyses that even if controlling for other factors like the number of inhabitants and the city status, particularly the share of industrial workers and therefore the regional strength of the socialist milieu caused the increased part of invalid votes and non-voters, and not the Catholic milieu that was considered to be resilient against National Socialism during the 1920s and early 1930s. [ZParl, vol. 47 (2016), no. 3, pp. 693 – 708]

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