German Politics and Society
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German Politics and Society

Editor: Jeffrey J. Anderson, Georgetown University

Volume 34 / 2016, 4 issues per volume (spring, summer, autumn, winter)

Subjects: German Studies, Politics, Sociology, History, Economics, Cultural Studies

A joint publication of the BMW Center for German and European Studies (of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). These centers are represented by their directors on the journal's Editorial Committee.

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Coalition Dynamics and the Changing German Party System

Charles Lees


The article draws upon the formal coalition literature to demonstrate that party system change over the last thirty years means that the Volksparteien enjoy more coalition options and greater ideological leverage within coalitions that form than was the case in the past. The Free Democrats have lost their kingmaker status and the distribution of party weights over recent elections allows no other small party to act in this manner. By contrast, the numerical and ideological resources possessed by the two Volksparteien means that they remain the only parties within the German party system that can act as formateur in the coalition game and are less vulnerable to threats of a decisive defection by small parties to alternative coalitions than they were in the past.

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