Die Bundestagswahl 2017 - The 2017 German Federal Election
In many regards, the 2017 German Federal Election can be characterized as a very special election. Soon it was obvious that the CDU/CSU would become the strongest faction in parliament. This lead to the conclusion that the electoral campaign was rather boring. Nevertheless, and in contrast to the election 2013, the so-called refugee crisis and several issues linked to this development led to visible and relevant political conflict between the parties broadly covered by the media. In the end and for the first time since decades, a right-wing populist party – the AfD – made it into parliament while the so-called Volksparteien were punished severely by the voters. Due to the strengthening of smaller parties, the parliament has become very fragmented. This points to short- or mid-term changes of the German party system which will probably result in more complicated coalition-building processes. If we look at means of electoral campaigning and the nature of political discourse, it seems that new and social media have gained importance – especially regarding their influence on public opinion. The post-election period can also be described as exceptional. Parties discussed coalition options across old ideological camps more intensively and systematically than after former elections.
Against this background, the conference will take stock of the 2017 German Federal Elections from the perspective of both research on political communication and on electoral behavior and attitudes.