Thematic Introduction: The Party System

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This chapter provides a thematic introduction to the section on political parties. It argues that the German party system is unstable and unsettled, characterised by fragmentation, polarisation and volatility. However, the evidence also suggests that while vote splitting has increased, the vast majority of German voters, with the exception of AfD supporters, remain entirely supportive and largely satisfied with the state of democracy in their country. While German voters may value the notion of political compromise as such, the continuing impossibility to form an ideologically coherent coalition government either left or right of centre may well continue to breed discontent resulting in continued fragmentation and polarisation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe 2021 German Federal Election
EditorsRoss Campbell, Louise K Davidson-Schmich
Place of PublicationCham
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan Ltd.
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783031389306
ISBN (Print)9783031389290
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023

Publication series

NameNew Perspectives in German Political Studies
PublisherPalgrave McMillan
ISSN (Print)2947-6747
ISSN (Electronic)2947-6755


  • German politics
  • democracy
  • Germany
  • elections
  • Party research
  • voters
  • political parties
  • stability
  • fragmentation
  • polarisation
  • compromise


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