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On the Way Back into Government? The Free Democratic Party Gearing Up for the 2009 Elections

Rolf Steltemeier

After the first Bundestag elections in 1949, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) established itself as kingmaker either of the Christian Democrats or the Social Democrats. The entrance of the Green Party into the German Bundestag in 1983 brought about a significant change in the German political landscape, which challenged the German Liberals to redefine themselves. At present, it seems that the FDP is on its way back into the federal government after ten years of opposition, although "neoliberal" ideology is currently facing a severe international crisis. This constitutes a puzzling issue for political scientists, which is addressed in this article by analyzing the factors that can explain the German Liberal's latest success. Furthermore, the FDP's chances in comparison to the other two small parties (Left Party and Greens) are discussed. Finally, attention is focused on the characteristics of the FDP's election campaign and its coalition options for 2009 and beyond.

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Catalysts for Change

Small Parties in the 2021 Bundestag Election

David F. Patton

When Green Party and Free Democratic Party ( fdp ) leaders met after the 2021 Bundestag election and posted a selfie on Instagram, they fired a shot across the bow. Rather than wait for the traditional catch-all parties to commence coalition talks

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Small Parties and the 2013 Bundestag Election: End of the Upward Trend?

David F. Patton

In the 2009 German federal election, the small parties together captured 43.2 percent of the vote; three small parties boasted a result in the double digits. Four years later, none of the small parties finished above 8.6 percent and only two reentered the Bundestag. Notably, the FDP, one of the original West German parties, dropped out of the federal parliament for the first time. Yet, any talk of catch-all party revival and party system concentration needs qualification. As a group, the small parties received nearly a third of all votes cast—the second highest share in six decades. Those that did not make it into the Bundestag won 15.7 percent, a higher share than in any other federal election. This article examines the positioning of the leading small parties in the 2013 Bundestag election campaign and their respective electoral results; highlights party systemic as well as internal party factors to explain small party performance; reassesses the commonplace classification of small parties by whether there is an established legislative presence or not; and considers the positioning and performance of small parties in the years to come.

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Selling the Economic Miracle: Public-Opinion Research, Economic Reconstruction, and Politics in West Germany, 1949-1957

Mark E. Spicka

Perhaps the most remarkable development in the Federal Republic

of Germany since World War II has been the creation of its stable

democracy. Already by the second half of the 1950s, political commentators

proclaimed that “Bonn is not Weimar.” Whereas the

Weimar Republic faced the proliferation of splinter parties, the rise

of extremist parties, and the fragmentation of support for liberal and

conservative parties—conditions that led to its ultimate collapse—the

Federal Republic witnessed the blossoming of moderate, broadbased

parties.1 By the end of the 1950s the Christian Democratic

Union/Christian Social Union (CDU), Social Democratic Party

(SPD) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) had formed the basis of a

stable party system that would continue through the 1980s.

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Sarah Wiliarty and Louise K. Davidson-Schmich

Right Today (Medford, 2019). 2 In early 2020, the extreme reaction to the Thuringian cdu and Free Democratic Party's ( fdp ) cooperation with the AfD in electing a Minister President for this state—the stepping down of national cdu leader Annegret

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The Race for Third

Small Parties in the 2017 Bundestag Election

David F. Patton

“small” had narrowed. In 2013, the cdu / csu and spd had averaged 33.6, while the Left Party (die Linke), Free Democratic Party ( fdp ), and Greens had averaged 6.6 percent of the vote. Four years later, the catch-all parties had fallen to 26

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Pandemic Politics in the Federal Republic

A Familiar Pattern?

David F. Patton

Free Democratic Party, whose members and voters included many self-employed whose livelihood the lockdowns threatened, emerged as an early and outspoken proponent of a more rapid opening up of the economy. It generally avoided populist rhetoric and did

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The AfD and the End of Containment in Germany?

David Art

Euroskeptical, in that it wanted an orderly dissolution of the common currency but not of the European Union. The founders of the party included—in addition to the many economists—former members of the cdu (as well as of the classically liberal Free Democratic

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Yet Another Grand Coalition

The Social Democrats at the Crossroads

Andreas M. Wüst

—and the return of the Free Democratic Party ( fdp , 10.7 percent), there not even is an option for the spd to form a coalition of the political Left ( Linksbündnis ) anymore. The spd (20.5 percent), Greens (8.9 percent) and the Left Party (9.2 percent

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Germany and the United States

Whither “Partners in Leadership”?

Matthew Rhodes

speeches of President Joachim Gauck, Foreign Minister Franz-Walter Steinmeier, and Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen at the Munich Security Conference in early 2014. The departure of Westerwelle and his Free Democratic Party from the Cabinet after