Chancellor Hegemony: Party Politics and the Bundestag Party System after the 2013 Federal Election

Charlie Lees

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The eighteenth Bundestag elections of 22 September 2013 brought important changes to the Bundestag party system, some of which are contingent but others of which are more systemic and profound. The narrow failure of the FDP to scale the electoral threshold has had an impact on coalition negotia- tions and the improvement in the overall vote share for the CDU/CSU and the SPD, for the first time since the 1960s represents a significant, if probably only temporary, concentration of the German party system in the Bundestag. More systemically, the election saw a continuation of the ongoing redistribu- tion of voting power in the Bundestag in favor of the catch-all parties as for- mateurs. The article also discusses how the increased importance of the potential formateuer parties has gone hand-in-hand with a greater focus on the individual leading candidates, and concludes that this is particularly good news for the CDU/CSU, given the political qualities of Angela Merkel and the failure of the SPD to find and support a leading candidate that can match her political acumen.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-53
Number of pages13
JournalGerman Politics & Society
Issue number2
Early online date1 Jun 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Campaigns
  • Elections
  • Angela Merkel
  • Party systems
  • SPD


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