Abstracts 2/2023 english

Niedermayer, Oskar:  The elections of the Berlin state parliament on September 26, 2021 and February 12, 2023: From Red-Red-Green to Red-Green-Red to Black-Red. 

From the beginning, the red-red-green coalition formed after the election of 2016 had to fight against severe problems. Especially the SPD lost public support, which led to the replacement of Michael Müller by Franziska Giffey as leading candidate for the 2021 election. The SPD won the election, however with the worst of her results after World War II. The Greens, which scored second, the CDU and the FDP gained votes, the Left Party and especially the AfD had to cope with losses. While Giffey pleaded for a government formation with the Greens and the FDP, in her party the preference for a red-green-red coalition prevailed, which was also clearly preferred by the Greens. In addition to the governing mayor Giffey, the new government consisted of three members from each of the three coalition parties. However, because the election was improperly prepared by the administration and a multitude of mistakes occurred, the Berlin Constitutional Court in November 2002 declared the election void and ordered to repeat it, which was done on February 12, 2023. By a considerable margin, this election was won by the CDU. All governing parties had to cope with losses, the AfD gained a little bit whereas the FDP failed to overcome the five percent hurdle.  In both elections, the electoral behaviour of the social  groups  did  not  change  considerably .  In all kinds of relevant candidate orientations of the voters, Giffey scored best in comparison to her competitors Kai Wegner (CDU) and Bettina Jarasch (The Greens), although her support declined  in  2023  and  the  distance  to  Wegner  decreased .  Concerning political contents, the data showed a very pessimistic climate of opinion, which was reflected in the bad evaluation of the government. Although the CDU was not really a convincing alternative for many voters, the party had the best policy competences in most of the relevant issues. Even before the CDU-led exploratory talks to form the new government ended, the SPD leadership surprisingly, and to the annoyance of the Greens and the Left Party, decided to seek a coalition with the CDU. The coalition negotiations of the party leaderships flowed smoothly; the SPD, however, was divided and the members only narrowly voted for the coalition treaty. The start of the new government was problematic, because Wegner needed three ballots to be elected as new governing major. In addition to Wegner, the government consists of five members of each of the two parties. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 223 – 252]

Klein, Markus: The state election in Lower Saxony on October 9, 2022: An election dominated by the energy crisis and the conflict over nuclear power. 

The state election in Lower Saxony on October 9, 2022, was the first election in Germany following the termination of Russian gas supplies to Western Europe. The election campaign was therefore dominated by the energy crisis and the associated  conflict  over  the  continued use of German nuclear power plants . Issues of Lower Saxony’s state politics, on the other hand, hardly played a role. The election was won by the SPD, which maintained its position as the strongest party in the Lower Saxony state parliament with slight losses. This was due not least to the high popularity of incumbent Minister President Stephan Weil, whom voters trusted to lead the state through the crisis. The CDU lost a massive number of votes and achieved its worst election result in Lower Saxony since 1955. The Greens, on the other hand, made significant gains and achieved their best result in Lower Saxony since the party was founded. The AfD also improved significantly, while the FDP dropped out of the state parliament. After the two parties that had previously governed in a grand coalition, the SPD and CDU,  had  announced  already  before  the  election  that  they  did  not  intend to continue their cooperation, a red-green state government was formed after the election . [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 253 – 271]

Carstensen, FranziskaJakob Hirn and Kevin W. Settles: Old faces, new chances?  Changes in the office of German Minister-Presidents after and between state parliament elections (1950 to 2022).

Can sitting Minister-Presidents rely on an incumbency advantage in German state parliament elections despite the indirect nature of their election? Changes in the office of the Minister-President after (and between) state parliament elections in Germany from 1950 to 2022 show:  the importance of state parliaments and their parliamentary party groups should not be underestimated. More new Minister-Presidents were elected during an electoral term than after state parliament elections. Concerning elections to the offices during terms, four different resignation reasons could be identified: successions were successful, in particular, after resignations out of personal reasons. Moreover, it is possible to confirm an indirect incumbency bonus: parties of sitting Minister-Presidents who had served a whole term lost on average less shares of votes than parties of incumbents that had been in office for less than one term. In addition, there has been an increase of incumbent losses since 1990. Parties of incumbent Minister-Presidents lost more share of votes between 1991 and 2022 than in the time until 1990; this trend is in particular observable again for incumbents that had been in office less than one term. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 272 – 297]

Lutz-Auras, Ludmila and Dennis Bastian Rudolf: Political women’s gambit – perceptions and subjective causes of female underrepresentation in the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Why do women parliamentarians perceive the issue of female underrepresentation in parliaments and politics as a problem at all? This question arises directly from Hanna Fenichel Pitkins assessment that it remains unclear to what extent descriptive forms of representation can be considered purposeful or effective for political decision-making and representation processes. Building on discussions in democratic theory, our  qualitative interview  study among women parliamentarians of the eighth legislative period of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (since 2021) addresses this question from a practical perspective . Based on the subjective causes for persistent female underrepresentation, which mainly refer to institutional and cultural aspects as well as the compatibility of family and job or mandate, four modes of argumentation for the phenomenon could be outlined: (1) formal-descriptive, (2) substantive-descriptive, (3) cultural-discursive as well as (4) no perception of the problem. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 298 – 315]

Diesing, Johannes: The members of parliament in the Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vor-pommern: Social profile in transition. Over the  course  of  the  process  of  transformation  in  East  Germany  elites  from  the  West  moved  into  the  new  Bundesländer  of  the  East .  This transfer took place in a number  of  domains of society including the political system of the new Bundesländer . After 30 years it can be assumed that the social profile of Members of Parliament in the Bundesländer did change once again, due to a generation of politicians which grew up during the collapse of 1989 and the following years  of  transformation [German:  Wendekinder]. This article examines the social profile of Members of Parliament in the current Landtag of Mecklen-burg-Vorpommern as well as its development over the last 30 years. The article focuses on the legislative periods of the first (1990-1994), the sixth (2011-2016)  and  the  eighth (2021-ongoing) Landtag of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Biographical data was gathered on date and place of birth and moving into the Bundesland as well as secondary school qualifications and vocation before entering the Parliament from publicly available parliamentary documents and analyzed the distribution of these items to compare differences and continuities. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 316 – 327]

de Nève, Dorothée: Coalition policy challenges and Covid crisis mode – education policy of the black-green government coalition in Hesse.

With the first black-green government coalition  in  a  major  territorial  state  in  Germany,  Hessian state politics (once again) set relevant political accents that have a signal effect on federal policy . What was initially seen as a risky experiment ultimately worked largely harmoniously.  In the 2018 state  elections,  voters  confirmed  the  Black-Green  coalition  in  office . This article firstly discusses how the policy positions of the CDU and the Greens came closer in Hesse. Secondly, the political practice of these unequal government partners is examined using the example of education policy. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 328 – 353]

Klein, MarkusChristoph Kühling and Frederik Springer: The referendum on the recall of the mayor in Frankfurt in November 2022: Background, procedure, result, procedural shortcomings and proposals for reform. 

Following allegations that he had accepted undue advantages in his position, a referendum was held on 6 November 2022 to recall the mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann. The article first presents the legal framework of the recall election in Hesse and critically examines in particular the level of the required quorum. It is argued that the quorum has undesirable consequences for political competition and political culture. For example, the quorum changes the logic of the electoral campaign by encouraging a one-sided mobilization of the incumbent’s opponents. Based on official election data, it can be shown that participation in the referendum was indeed lower in districts where Peter Feldmann had done particularly well in the 2018 mayoral election. Finally, various proposals for a possible reform of the Hessian municipal code (Hessische Gemeindeordnung) are discussed. First of all, reforms that focus on the quorum are conceivable, such as reducing or even abolishing the quorum. But more far-reaching reforms, such as the complete abolition of the recall vote, are also being discussed. [ZParl, vol. 54 (2023), no. 2, pp. 354 – 375]

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