Just The Facts

German Elections: A Primer on Political Powersharing Since 1949

Politically speaking, Germany is a conservative country.

German Reichstag. (Credit: Bernd Juergens - Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • Politically, Germany is a conservative country. The CDU has been in power for almost 70% of the time since 1949.

1.In 69% of the 770 months since the first federal elections were held in September 1949, the German government has been led by a chancellor from the conservative party, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

2. However, for only 6% of that entire period did the CDU/CSU run Germany by itself, i.e., without a coalition partner.

3. The CDU was the senior partner in a government formed with the liberal party, the FDP, for 52% of that time period.

4. For 11% of the period since 1949, Germany was governed jointly by the CDU and Social Democrats, the SPD. These so-called grand coalitions are formed by the two largest political parties in the country.

5. The Social Democrats only governed Germany for 31% of the period since 1949.

6. The SPD was the senior partner in a government formed with the Liberals for 20% of German history since 1949.

7. And for about one-tenth of that time period (11%), the SPD was the senior partner in a government formed with the Greens, in a so-called red-green coalition.

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