German General Election 2013

The Political Compass was established in 2001 as a tool applicable to all democracies, and a way of better making sense of the changing political landscape. Our test itself is not nation-specific, nor driven by current hot issues. Rather, it presents a profile of an individual political personality. Our work has been widely reviewed in the international media, and included in many courses and publications for schools and universities. We’re grateful for the enthusiastic response that we’ve always enjoyed from Germany, both in media coverage over the years, and also in the volume of correspondence that we receive. Our 2005 German electoral chart can still be viewed on our website!

By the Political Compass

While we welcome the University of Konstanz's late entry into the field of two-dimensional political charts, an acknowledgment of our long-standing work would have been nice. We do take issue, though, with the identifications that they attach to their social dimension. 'Progressive' and 'Conservative' popularly describe economic as well as social attitudes, blurring the distinctions that the two dimensions are supposed to achieve. We prefer our 'authoritarian' and 'libertarian' social labels. Perhaps the University wished to distance itself from our model, or historic sensitivities might have made them uneasy about identifying authoritarian tendencies in any present day German party. But take, for example, the difference between the arch conservative Theodor Duesterberg and Adolph Hitler. The Konstanz University labels would simply leave Hitler being more 'conservative' than Duesterberg, who, in fact, was closer to the religion-and-tradition conservative character that they describe. Duesterberg can more accurately be described by The Political Compass as a little less authoritarian than Hitler. With the emergence of quasi-fascist parties in some contemporary democracies, the point is an important one.

It is clear to us that social democratic parties in almost all democracies have either reluctantly or enthusiastically adopted the neo-liberal economic agenda in a rightward drift. The ideological divide between the mainstream parties has significantly narrowed — and sometimes even reversed. In Denmark, for example, a social democratic government in coalition with the further left Peoples' Socialist Party has reduced pensions and given tax breaks to the wealthiest five percent. The "Social Democratic" Danish Prime Minister also voiced immediate support for the US intention to attack Syria.

Germany's Social Democrats can similarly no longer be seen as significantly left wing, except in their own self-concept and among their most uncritical traditional supporters. The Greens have also displayed quite conservative economic tendencies. The Left Party, seen as extreme in some quarters, occupies similar ground in many ways to the Brandt-led Social Democrats, reflecting how far the fulcrum has shifted.

The FDP continues to champion the full- throttle free market, while maintaining a more liberal social stance than the CDU.

As always, our projections are based on policy statements, speeches and voting records. The Pirates, contrary to popular opinion, appear to us to be economically centrist. The AFD, which looks strikingly similar to the UK Independence Party,is still too new to determine all its policy positions. The extent to which it might poach those CDU voters with more nationalistic inclinations remains to be seen!

The German political parties in 2013

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism