The paradoxical effects of decline: assessing party system change and the role of the catch-all parties in Germany following the 2009 federal election

Charles Lees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 10 Citations

Abstract

This article examines the impact of party system change in Germany on the role, status and power of the two catch-all parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) in the light of the 2009 federal election. It argues that party system change has had a paradoxical impact. On the one hand, the decline in the overall catch-all vote undermines the two parties’ integrative function. On the other, the presence of three small parties (FDP, Greens, Left Party) means that, with the possible exception of the Greens, no single small party has the potential to be ‘kingmaker’ and, because of their relative positions in ideological space, neither can they act in concert to extract concessions from the two catch-all parties. Thus, despite the impressive performance of the FDP in the 2009 federal election and the electoral meltdown suffered by the SPD, in office-seeking terms the catch-all parties are currently less vulnerable to small party threats of defection to alternative coalitions.
LanguageEnglish
Pages545-562
Number of pages18
JournalParty Politics
Volume18
Issue number4
Early online date9 Feb 2011
DOIs
StatusPublished - Jul 2012

Fingerprint

system change
party system
election
Green Party
concession
coalition
voter
threat
performance

Cite this

The paradoxical effects of decline: assessing party system change and the role of the catch-all parties in Germany following the 2009 federal election. / Lees, Charles.

In: Party Politics, Vol. 18, No. 4, 07.2012, p. 545-562.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{24e6c5f4a0a24a189e7f6c011c099872,
title = "The paradoxical effects of decline: assessing party system change and the role of the catch-all parties in Germany following the 2009 federal election",
abstract = "This article examines the impact of party system change in Germany on the role, status and power of the two catch-all parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) in the light of the 2009 federal election. It argues that party system change has had a paradoxical impact. On the one hand, the decline in the overall catch-all vote undermines the two parties’ integrative function. On the other, the presence of three small parties (FDP, Greens, Left Party) means that, with the possible exception of the Greens, no single small party has the potential to be ‘kingmaker’ and, because of their relative positions in ideological space, neither can they act in concert to extract concessions from the two catch-all parties. Thus, despite the impressive performance of the FDP in the 2009 federal election and the electoral meltdown suffered by the SPD, in office-seeking terms the catch-all parties are currently less vulnerable to small party threats of defection to alternative coalitions.",
author = "Charles Lees",
year = "2012",
month = "7",
doi = "10.1177/1354068810386841",
language = "English",
volume = "18",
pages = "545--562",
journal = "Party Politics",
issn = "1354-0688",
publisher = "Sage Publications",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The paradoxical effects of decline: assessing party system change and the role of the catch-all parties in Germany following the 2009 federal election

AU - Lees,Charles

PY - 2012/7

Y1 - 2012/7

N2 - This article examines the impact of party system change in Germany on the role, status and power of the two catch-all parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) in the light of the 2009 federal election. It argues that party system change has had a paradoxical impact. On the one hand, the decline in the overall catch-all vote undermines the two parties’ integrative function. On the other, the presence of three small parties (FDP, Greens, Left Party) means that, with the possible exception of the Greens, no single small party has the potential to be ‘kingmaker’ and, because of their relative positions in ideological space, neither can they act in concert to extract concessions from the two catch-all parties. Thus, despite the impressive performance of the FDP in the 2009 federal election and the electoral meltdown suffered by the SPD, in office-seeking terms the catch-all parties are currently less vulnerable to small party threats of defection to alternative coalitions.

AB - This article examines the impact of party system change in Germany on the role, status and power of the two catch-all parties (CDU/CSU and SPD) in the light of the 2009 federal election. It argues that party system change has had a paradoxical impact. On the one hand, the decline in the overall catch-all vote undermines the two parties’ integrative function. On the other, the presence of three small parties (FDP, Greens, Left Party) means that, with the possible exception of the Greens, no single small party has the potential to be ‘kingmaker’ and, because of their relative positions in ideological space, neither can they act in concert to extract concessions from the two catch-all parties. Thus, despite the impressive performance of the FDP in the 2009 federal election and the electoral meltdown suffered by the SPD, in office-seeking terms the catch-all parties are currently less vulnerable to small party threats of defection to alternative coalitions.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84862139826&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1354068810386841

U2 - 10.1177/1354068810386841

DO - 10.1177/1354068810386841

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 545

EP - 562

JO - Party Politics

T2 - Party Politics

JF - Party Politics

SN - 1354-0688

IS - 4

ER -