Setting a Trend?

Support for the Greens and the FDP in the 2021 Bundestag Election

in German Politics and Society
Andreas M. Wüst Munich University of Applied Sciences, Germany

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The 2021 Bundestag election brought an end to the model of grand coalitions that Germany had witnessed in 12 out of the 16 years of Angela Merkel's chancellorship. While older voters often switched from the Christian Democrats to the Social Democrats, young voters might have set a trend in 2021 by voting for non-governing parties, allowing the Greens and the fdp to enter the new government. Have we witnessed more than a situational switch from the Volksparteien to a new yellow-green alliance, maybe even the rise of a generational cleavage? This article provides empirical evidence for dissatisfaction with the grand coalition government and the quest for change among young voters—a fight against climate change combined with state-centered social policies among Green voters, and a broad liberal program for progress among fdp voters. Yet the reasons that young people support these parties differ significantly. Thus, it is thin empirical ice to associate the yellow-green boost among young voters with a new generational cleavage.

Contributor Notes

Andreas M. Wüst is a Professor of Political Science at Munich University of Applied Sciences since 2021. He received an MA (1996) and a PhD (2002) from Heidelberg University and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Mannheim Center for European Social Research (MZES) from 2002 to 2011 and again in 2014. His research focus is political sociology. Recent publications include “Der migrationsspezifische Einfluss auf parlamentarisches Handeln” (Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 2017), with Andreas Blätte, and “The Diminishing Value of Representing the Disadvantaged” (British Journal of Political Science, 2022), with Stefanie Bailer, Christian Breunig, and Nathalie Giger.

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