How stable and flexible is the German party system in times of crises? The 2011 Landtagswahlen

(Deutsche Übersetzung eines Vortrags von Cornelia Hildebrandt und Harald Pätzolt auf der Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of German Politics (IASGP), London 16 – 17 May 2011)


The question, how the Germans would react in times of a very serious crisis was an open one since End of WWII and for decades, especially in the UK. We remember the deep scepticism, expressed in the summery report of the Chequers Seminar 1990, I quote: “ …the fact was that their institutions had not yet been seriously tested by adversity such as a mayor economic calamity. We could not tell how Germans would react in such circumstances.”

Well, today we know more. But two years ago, at the beginning of this financial and economic crises with unprecedented proportions, the question was discussed in Germany too. Many experts, economists and politicians, expected the same trouble as in 1929 and the beginning 1930ies.

 The dimension of this world financial and economic crisis is may be the same one, but the process of the crisis was different in Germany. The institutions were stable,  the crisis management of the German government was quite effective. The democratic institutions and the party system, reacted very flexible, but the party system has also changed in the process of responding to the crisis. This is the issue we want to discuss shortly.

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