“The Changing Shape of Germany, EU-Hegemon or ‘Hippy State’? Issues and Personalities in the Federal Elections of 2017”
On Tuesday 27th June 2017 in the Venue Old Chamber, Ty Hwyel, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay, Prof Julian Preece (Swansea University and Director of Think German Wales and the Centre for Research into Contemporary German Culture gave a talk on “The Changing Shape of Germany, EU-Hegemon or ‘Hippy State’? Issues and Personalities in the Federal Elections of 2017”
In the talk Prof Preece noted that Brexit, Trump, Macron: Electoral politics in the western democracies are changing in unprecedented ways as voter allegiances shift, established parties crumble, and old battle lines are re-drawn. How will Germans respond when they go to the polls on 17 September 2017 he asked? In the summer of 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in office since 2005, looked set to equal records established by fellow Christian Democrats Konrad Adenauer (1949-63) and Helmut Kohl (1982-98) and win a fourth successive victory. Then came the extraordinary events of the ‘migrant crisis’, the rise of the Pegida movement and the far-right party, ‘Die Alternative für Deutschland’. In January this year, the Social Democrats nominated EU Parliament President Martin Schulz their chancellor candidate and his poll ratings soared.
In the talk Prof Preece also noted that the SPD’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected Federal President in March, only the third Social Democrat to hold this office in the history of the republic. The SPD then crashed in state elections in the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia. The smaller parties as ever in Germany play key roles: Europe’s largest Green Party, Die Grünen, once a haven for radicals, now firmly embourgeoisé; the rump of the old East German state communist party, Die Linke, currently the third largest force in the Bundestag; the resurgent Free Democrats; and of course the AfD which may achieve what has eluded any party to the right of the CDU and cross the 5% hurdle at a national election. In thie talk, Professor Julian Preece concluded by providing his analysis of how events are likely to unfold over the final months of the campaign and what the flavour of the new government in Berlin is likely to be.
The PowerPoint slides relating to Prof Preeces talk are available below:
The picture shows Professor Deacon presenting Prof Preece with a Gorwel mug.
Featured image using images ©Copyright Glyn Lowe and Rasande Tysker | ®Flickr