German selection: Seven things we learned

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Photo captionGreens and the FDP have done the best among young voters

We know the title of the German election banner-center-left Social Democrats (SPD) will be the largest party, followed by the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU / CSU). Both the Greens and the Libertarian FDP have increased their share, while the right and many left have lagged behind.

But beyond that there are a number of short stories. Here are some side angles we noticed.

1. Division of generation

The center-left and center-themed traditional teams came forward overall, but if you look at the age data, there’s an interesting trend.

According to this exit poll by Wahlen in Forsungroup, voters under the age of under 40 prefer the Greens on the left (22%) and the Liberal FDP (20%) on the right.

In contrast, those over 60 voted center left (35%) and center right (34%). Only 9% went for green and 8% for FDP.

But as most voters got older, the larger parties on the left and right came forward.

2. Tinker tailor soldier … crying?

A former intelligence chief has tried unsuccessfully to enter parliament due to controversy. Hans-George Massen stood as a candidate for the Christian Democrats, but on the far right of the party.

He ran a domestic intelligence agency until 2018, but was forced to resign when he suspected the existence of far-right violence in the town of Kemnitz.

In this election he was a candidate in Thuringia, one of the states in East Germany where the right-wing Alternative for Deutschland (AFD) is particularly strong.

Mr Massen was arguing for the departure of Christian Democrats outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s centralist policy – especially on immigration.

But voters were unsure, putting him third in his constituency behind the Social Democrats and the AFD.

3. Schleswig-Holstein Question

Students of 19th-century history may recall – vaguely – the Schleswig-Holstein question *. It became a term for a viciously complex diplomatic dilemma.

Now Schleswig, at least, is back in the German election. The party, which represents the Danish and Frisian minorities in Germany, is in parliament for the first time in nearly 70 years.

SSW (its German name means Voters Union of South Schleswig) will hold a single seat. It gained 0.1% of the overall vote, but escaped the usual 5% limit for representation in the Bundestag because it represents a national minority.

* Lord Palmerston famously said, “Only three people understood this: the prince’s companion, who died; a German professor, who went mad; and I, who forgot all.”

How do you feel after reading the number of possible alliances that could rule Germany.

5. Theft and politics

Greens chancellor candidate Annelena Barebok’s chances were dashed by allegations of theft. But another woman politician who has faced charges of theft has won a surprising victory.

Francisca Giffy of the Central-Left Social Democrats actually withdrew her PhD because it was found that part of her doctoral thesis had been stolen.

Nevertheless, she is now the newly elected mayor of Berlin – the first woman to rule the German capital. His team, led by Bettina Zarash, defeated the Greens by 21.4% to 18.9%.

4. Occupancy related problems

In addition to the federal election, there was a referendum on the occupation to create more social housing in Berlin.

About 5% of major landowners (more than 3,000 housing units) voted in favor of public ownership, while %% opposed.

Rising rents in Berlin have been a flashpoint: an online property portal calculates that rents have risen 42% in five years in 2020.

Mayor-elect Francisca Giffy says she opposes the occupation but should respect the outcome of the referendum.

6. Will there be enough seats in the Bundestag – literally?

With 735 seats, this German parliament seems to be the largest ever. But because of the German electoral system, no one knew – not even the electoral authorities – how big it would be.

The top candidate for each seat gets one seat: 299 of them. A further 299 seats are reserved for the party list in 16 federal states or the Bundesland. Voters rank the candidates in the order of preference.

But that’s only 598, so where does the extra 137 seats come from?

This is where the second-priority vote is based on the population of each state and how many votes go to the party in second place in each.

Still confused? You should.

Parties must win a minimum of 5% of the vote, or three electoral seats, to enter parliament.

Thus the leftist party, Die Link, simply shrunk. Its vote share has dropped by almost half compared to the last election, from 9.2% in 2017 to 4.9%.

However, the three constituencies it has won in Berlin and Leipzig have saved it from political oblivion at the federal level.

7. The red tide on the east side and the lacquer are lost in the house

As an example of how well the Social Democrats have done, they have even taken Angela Merkel’s old constituency. He has held the Mecklenburg-West Pomerania seat since 1990, the first federal election since German reunification.

And the symbolic defeat of his successor as center-right candidate for chancellor, Armin Laschett. After the election campaign, he failed to win an electoral seat in his home state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

This does not mean that he is out of Parliament – he will enter the Bundestag in a list seat – but it does show the depth of voters’ suspicions about him.

8. Why was the election held on the same day as the Berlin Marathon?

The same thing happened in 2017.

Sorry, we can’t answer that. The answer to the postcart, bit.

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