Abstracts 4/2019 englisch


Niedermayer, Oskar: From a “second-order national election” to a “Europeanized election”? The election of the European Parliament on May 26, 2019. It is questionable if the concept of the European election as a second-order national election is still a useful explanatory model or if the European election has become a relevant “Europeanized” election. Therefore, six hypotheses about the orientations as well as the turnout and the electoral behavior of the electorate at European elections in comparison to national parliamentary elections are developed and empirically tested by analyzing the campaign and results of the European election 2019 in Germany. Four of the six hypotheses can be confirmed. Nevertheless, in view of the changes of many indicators one can speak of a “Europeanization” of the European election. Additionally, the composition of the parlia- ment in comparison to the situation after the 2014 elections is discussed, concentrating on the rise of the right-wing parties. Finally, the article deals with the conflict between the European Parliament and the European Council concerning the election of the successor of Jean-Claude Juncker as President of the European Commission. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 691 – 714]

Braun, Daniela and Markus Tausendpfund: The 2019 elections to the European Parliament: Context, parties, and voters in Germany.  Despite a higher turnout, the ninth elections to the European Parliament can still be con- sidered as second-order elections. In Germany, the governing parties – in particular the CDU and SPD – experienced a significant loss compared to the 2017 Bundestag elections and the 2014 European elections, whereas the Greens are the winners. The article provides information on the conditions framing the European Parliament elections and focuses on political parties and citizens. The empirical findings show, on the one hand, that the Euro- pean integration issue is more salient in the manifestos than generally assumed and, on the other hand, that citizens’ knowledge of the European Union continues to be low. Against this background, turnout, electoral choices and reasons for these are discussed. Moreover, the composition of the newly elected European Parliament and possible implications are described. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 715 – 735]

Waldvogel, Thomas: The TV duel between Timmermans and Weber: Perceptions and effects of televised debates using the example of the 2019 European elections.  While the perception processes and effects of political TV duels at the (sub) national level have been examined in great detail, studies with a similar scope of analytical profoundness and detail for TV duels at the European level are largely lacking. Therefore, the perceptions and effects of the duel between Manfred Weber (EVP) and Frans Timmermans (S&D) on the perception of the debate’s winner, the attitudes towards the candidates and voting intentions under consideration of the real-time reactions (RTR) of its viewers are analysed . In addition to the duel’s general perception, one can identify the determinants of the ver- dicts on the debate’s winner, the candidate evaluations including their images as well as the voting intentions of our study participants and show that the debate’s reception has significant effects. Aside from political predispositions, it is primarily the immediate perception during the debate, captured by real-time-response measurement that possesses great explanatory power. The data verify that the duel’s reception at the European level has significant effects on political cognitions, motivations, and audiences’ attitudes and therefore can be regarded as an effective instrument in European election campaigns. Such duels have the potential to contribute to the strengthening of the democratic quality of the European Union. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp . 736 – 753]

Rütters, Peter: Social profile of the German MEPs after the election to the European Parliament 2019.  In Germany, the election to the 9th European Parliament (EP) was influenced by a modification of the electoral law, as it had already occurred in the preceding European election. The removal of the five-percent threshold once more gave seven small parties with a total of nine candidates access to the EP. The AfD managed to secure seats for eleven candidates (2014: 7). In addition the election was mainly influenced by political controversies on the national level, which held especially true for the six established parties. The result was an impressive increase of seats for the Green Party and losses for the SPD and the CDU in particular. A main impact, caused by the voters’ decision but also by the parties’ appoint- ments of candidates, was the huge number of new parliamentarians (more than 50 percent) in the EP, probably with some implications for the parliament’s capacity of action and influence. With respect to MPs’ social profile and their ability to exercise their parliamen- tary mandate in a politically competent manner, there are only few differences in the overall high educational background, in the age pattern, and some in the gender proportion . What has changed in comparison to the previous parliament is the previous parliamentary experi- ence of the newcomers: It is lower but with significant differences between the parties . Especially AfD-MPs gained extraordinary little political experience before entering the EP (81 .8 percent) . This seems to be in correspondence with the anti-parliamentarian attitude of the Alternative Party . A counterweight are the established parties whose new MPs have ample parliamentary experience at the regional or national level or have at least been active in their party over years . [ZParl, vol . 50 (2019), no . 4, pp . 754 – 776]

Arndt, Christoph: The election to the Danish Folketing on June 6, 2019: A clear victory for the left camp.  The 2015 election to the Danish Folketing saw yet another change of government. Despite gains for the liberal-conservative Venstre, the incumbent centre-right government led by Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre) lost its majority due to substantial losses of the Danish People’s Party and the Liberal Alliance. The new Danish government is a social democratic single party minority government led by Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen. This government is tolerated by the Social Liberals, the Socialist People’s Party as well as the left radical Unity List and constitutes the clearest left-wing majority since the 1971 election. The centre-right camp was split on the tax issue during the whole election period and punished at the ballots despite a sound economy and policy gains on immigration. The Social Democrats benefited from their more restrictive immigration policy by gaining votes from the centre-right parties. They now command the first left-wing majority since the turn of the millennium. However, the ideological differences on immigration policy within the leftist camp will not make governing easier for Frederiksen’s single party minority government. Moreover, the new party “Nye Borgerlige” is the first party to the right of the Danish People’s Party since 1998 in the new Folketing that now consists of ten parties. [ZParl, vol . 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 777 – 790]

Tokatlı, Mahir: An (autocratic) parliamentary system disguised as a “presidential system”: The presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey on June 24, 2018.  On the 24th of June 2018, for the first time Turkish citizens voted in separate elections for both parliament and the head of government. The constitutional amendments passed a year earlier in a controversial referendum became effective at the same time and transformed the parliamentary system of government into a so-called presidential system. However, regarding the relationship between the executive and legislative branches, the constitution reveals strong similarities to an Israeli experiment (1996 to 2002), which conversely was described as a mixed type or quasi-parliamentary system. The “alla Turca” variant presents a clear asymmetry concerning the horizontal separation of powers in favor of the president and creates a concentration of powers. Parliament is rigorously constrained in its powers, while the president permanently remains capable of acting unless an arithmetic three-fifths majority is formed that could recall him prematurely for political reasons. Under the undemocratic conditions of a semi-competitive electoral system and in a state of emergency that applied at the time, the AKP won both elections. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 791 – 809]

Kolkmann, Michael: Return to divided government but the “blue wave” gets stuck halfway: The U.S. Congressional elections on November 6, 2018.  The 2018 Congressional elections ended with an ambivalent result for both the Democrats and Republicans. The turnout recorded the best result in almost a century. The Democrats were able to recapture a significant majority in the U.S. House of Representatives by winning particularly among white and female voters while solidifying their support among Democrats-leaning groups like African-Americans and Hispanics. The Republicans were not only able to defend their slim majority in the U.S. Senate but even increased their majority by two seats. The current 116th Congress, especially the House of Representatives, represents the most diverse make-up in history. At the same time, it is one of the politically least experienced. Under the current conditions of divided government an intensified confrontation between the Democrats in the House of Representatives and President Trump can be expected. Moreover, the forthcoming 2020 presidential election already casts its shadows. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 810 – 829]

Gawehns, Florian: Goodbye Filibuster? Institutional change in a polarized U.S. Senate.  The Filibuster, more a historical coincidence than a deliberate innovation, is one of the most powerful tools of minorities in the U .S . Senate . Historically known for never-ending talking marathons, it transformed the contemporary Senate into a supermajority institution undermined by partisan obstruction . The unilateral elimination of the Filibuster for nomi- nations in 2013 and 2017, while symbolizing the breakdown of institutional norms in the Senate, demonstrates the enormous pressure faced by majorities to deliver substantial parti- san successes to their base . Given the prospects for comprehensive rules reform, the future of the Filibuster is in doubt . A majoritarian Senate, while strengthening a majority party in unified control of government, could induce a broader reform movement, as it might reveal a “crisis of legitimacy” of equal federal representation in a polarized two-party system. [ZParl, vol . 50 (2019), no . 4, pp . 830 – 851]

Adorf, Philipp: When political actors select their own voters – The relevance and future of redistricting in the wake of recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings. Every ten years, the districts to the U .S. House of Representatives are redrawn, a task that in most states falls to state legislatures. Electoral success for Republican state parties has provided the party with the opportunity to draw district lines in its own favor, a factor that has contributed to – but not made possible – Republican majorities in the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress. The practice of redistricting has also contributed to the country’s political polarization, as critics tend to nonetheless overstate the relevance of the former on the latter. Opponents of this method had hoped that the Supreme Court would use the case of Gill versus Whitford to declare a standard for determining unconstitutional gerry-mandering. Instead, the justices decided to hand the case back down to a lower court before ruling a year later that the issue of partisan gerrymandering was non-justiciable. Reformers will therefore have to place more emphasis on plebiscitary measures at the state level. Regardless of any potential reforms that may be enacted in future years, their impact on both the majorities in the House of Representatives as well as on the level of polarization will be rather marginal. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp . 852 – 869]

Decker, Frank: The failure of the top candidate system and other popular misconcep- tions about the European Union’s democratization.
After the 2019 European election, national political actors and party officials in both the European Parliament as well as in the Council once again clashed over the selection of the Commission’s President, a controversy that also received widespread public attention. Disa- greements centered on the so-called Spitzenkandidaten – top candidate – system that – contrary to its premiere in 2014 – failed to be implemented. The manner in which this system functions is frequently misunderstood by both political actors and observers. One example is that the appointment process is interpreted through the lens of parliamentary democracy, another is that the overrepresentation of smaller member states within the European Parliament is depicted as a serious violation of democratic principles. Potential starting points for a thorough democratization of the EU, such as the direct election of the Commission President, a common electoral system with joint European parties, and a greater say by voters and the President of the Commission regarding the appointment of commissioners are also discussed. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp . 870 – 879]

Fuchs, Michael: (How) can the German Bundestag react to the new world dearrangement? Foreign policy is traditionally considered as one of the essential responsibilities of the executive. Recent parliamentary foreign policy initiatives, however, have brought forward a foreign policy claim. This does not only reflect the Bundestag’s increasing self-confidence but also the omnipresence of foreign policy problems of a world in turmoil. Yet, it is ques- tionable how these initiatives should be assessed politically and legally. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 880 – 891]

Peterlini, Oskar: (How) can Europe-skepticism be combated? A worried European’s pleas. For millennia, Europe was a battlefield whose history was marked by countless wars among European peoples, blood and tears. The two world wars that cost millions of lives were the culmination of this development and a lesson rarely learned from history. For over 70 years Europeans have been living in peace. The contribution to securing it is probably the great- est gift the founding fathers of Europe gave to future generations. But love for Europe is fading. Not only in the UK but also in continental Europe populist and anti-European parties flourish. The EU would be threatened most if it loses its democratic base and if its citizens begin to reject it. Therefore, it is important to analyze the criticisms and fears that lead to the EU’s rejection . They can be summarized in three theses for which solutions can be offered: the democratic question, the social and the existential question with its concerns about immigration, security and peace. [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 892 – 905]

Hartmann, Oskar: Rejoinder to Joachim Behnke – democratic and practicable: ventur- ing onto thin ice. Federal election reforms in Germany by means of multi-member districts. In order to obtain a stable size of the Bundestag and at the same time maintain the proportional distribution of seats among the parties the introduction of multi-member districts should be considered. In each district, the parties would present lists of candidates in a descending order. Each voter would have four votes that can be given either to the four top candidates of a party’s list or to other candidates on district lists of other parties. One candidate could receive a maximum of two votes from each voter (accumulated vote). Distribution of seats on the federal level would be calculated on the basis of all votes. Each vote for a candidate would automatically also be a vote for a party. The same procedure would apply to each multi-member district. In cases in which there is a discrepancy between the distribution of seats at the federal level and the district level, the iterative method of “double Pukelsheim” would lead to its harmonization. The seats that can be claimed by a party in a district would be assigned to the candidates with most votes. The regional linkage of MPs could be guaranteed by obliging each district party to present candidates from all regions of the district (e .g. Landkreise). [ZParl, vol. 50 (2019), no. 4, pp. 906 – 912]

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