A Changing Germany: The Party System Tested in the 2021 German Federal Elections Briefings de l’Ifri, Ifri, October, 5 2021
The German federal elections of September 26, 2021 were marked by the departure of the outgoing chancellor, Angela Merkel, who was not seeking re-election. The scattering of the vote and the high volatility of voters have led to a redefinition of the landscape and geography of parties in Germany.
■ This is the first time since 1949 that no party has reached the 30% mark. Theoretically, there would still be a majority for a grand coalition between the Social Democratic Party of Germany (Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands - SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands - CDU), but voter support for such an alliance is visibly eroding.
■ Voters of the Greens and the Liberals of the Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP) remain largely West German, belonging to the highest income groups.
■ The East-West distinction is still marked: in the East, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is stagnating but gaining local ground, the CDU is in decline, and only the SPD appears to be a “people's party”.
■ Voters’ expectations are very different depending on their age group: the youngest want change with the Greens and the Liberals, the oldest want stability with the SPD and the CDU.
Paul Maurice is a Research Fellow at the Study Committee on Franco-German Relations (Cerfa) at the French Institute of International Relations - Ifri, where he specifically works on issues of German domestic policy and Franco-German relations in the context of European integration.
This publication is available in French (pdf): "Une Allemagne en mutation : Le système des partis à l’épreuve des élections fédérales de 2021".