August 3, 2021

In Germany, a plethora of electoral offers in the run-up to parliamentary elections

BERLIN LETTER

Even if you follow German political news closely, you have probably never heard of the Garden Party, the Humanist Party or the Hip-Hop Party. Across the Rhine, too, hardly anyone knows them. They are, however, on the list of the 53 parties which will be able to stand in the legislative elections of September 26.

Never has the electoral offer been so important in Germany. In the years 1990-2000, the number of parties present in the legislative elections was on average less than 30. Since then, it has steadily increased. In 2013, there were 34. In 2017, there were 42. And this year, they are therefore 53. The same phenomenon occurred in the European elections of 2019, where 41 political parties were authorized to compete. Unheard of there too.

Truth be told, the list could have been even longer. In all, 87 organizations hoped to be authorized by the federal electoral commission to stand for the legislative elections of September 26. But during its session of July 8 and 9, this body, chaired by the director of the Federal Statistical Office (the German equivalent of INSEE) and in which sit ten representatives of the parties already present in the Bundestag as well only two administrative judges, only retained a little more than half

An authorized neo-Nazi party

Some of the failures were for purely procedural reasons. Like the Anarchist Pogo Party of Germany, which had sent its candidacy file by e-mail and not by post, as provided for by the regulations. Or the German Communist Party (DKP), which the Federal Election Commission criticized for never sending it its annual activity reports on the scheduled dates.

This decision caused a bit of noise in the press and on social networks. Since its founding in 1968 in West Germany, this is indeed the first time that the DKP has not been allowed to stand for parliamentary elections, where it has never exceeded 0.3% of the vote. Upon learning of the veto of the Federal Election Commission, its leaders compared their fate to the German Communists of 1933, whose party was “Forbidden by the fascists” after Hitler came to power.

Beyond the very small DKP, several voices on the left, in particular within the Social Democratic Party (SPD), expressed their indignation by learning, on the contrary, that the federal electoral commission had authorized the party of The Third Way to stand for the next legislative elections. An organization that is nevertheless considered “Anti-Semitic, xenophobic and revisionist” by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the domestic intelligence service in Germany, which in a recent report described him as a “Reconversion airlock for people belonging to the neo-Nazi scene”.

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