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What are the Main Political Parties in Germany?

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  • Written By: Venus D.
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  • Last Modified Date: 02 April 2014
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There are two political parties that clearly dominate the German political scene: the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP). While there are many other political parties than these two, there are three that come the closest to the power and reach of the CDU and SDP, namely the Free Democratic Party, the Left Party, and the Greens.

The CDU evolved from the Centre Party, which was formed in 1870. The CDU is a right-of-center political party and is based on non-denominational Christian-ideals. Accordingly, this political party advocates environmental protection and equality among men, women and children. While supporting a socialist market economy, the CDU seeks free market integration with European Union (EU). These conservatives advocate for stronger German values and traditions, economic freedom and self-determination.

The Christian Socialist Union (CSU) is Bavaria's version of the CDU. While the CDU and the CSU maintain separate political structures, they cooperate at the federal level and together form the largest political party in Germany. Together they are referred to as The Union. While the CDU/CSU has adherents from many faiths, they are generally aligned with Roman Catholicism over Protestantism, for example. The Union has become less Christian-focused and generally bases its policies on pragmatism rather than religion or ideology.

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The SDP, founded in 1863, is the oldest political party of Germany. It is a left-wing party centered on socialist concepts. While the SDP continues to support social ideals, such as improving worker's rights, it also adopts free market concepts. The SDP lost power during the Nazi era but revived itself in West Germany and united with the independent SDP in East Germany in 1990. The Party went on to gain power in 1998 under Gerhard Schroeder.

The three main minor political parties include the Free Democratic Party, Left Party, and the Greens Party. The Free Democratic Party has a platform that focuses on a free market economy, individual liberties, and the social features of a welfare state. The Left Party is a socialist political party with great support in East Germany, which is where it's original roots can be found. It is often considered a protest party, focusing on unemployment rates, health care costs, and workers’ benefits. The Greens is a political party that has concentrated on environmental and pacifist issues since its inception in the 1970s.

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Discuss this Article

anon320429
Post 6

@BioNerd: You're American aren't you? The SDP has nothing to do with Nazism. The words socialist and communist are not the evil ideologies that the US makes them out to be. It's propaganda that you have listened to and fallen for. These parties, even the CDU/CSU under Merkel's leadership is about equal rights for all despite religious belief.

I fled the US after being treated like a rat for being gay. I was arrested, beaten, fired from my job, and kicked out of my high school. My crime was being gay, however the DA dropped all charges when he found out why I was arrested. That's your America, 'the last bastion for reason'. I can never forgive them for how I was treated, however thankful I am for the few reasonable people I met.

FitzMaurice
Post 4

Germany has come a long way since the difficulties of the Cold War era. The people have been empowered and united in a manner which has not be seen in a while. It is to be hoped that the former academic and learned glory of this nation will one day return to normal too.

BioNerd
Post 3

@Leonidas226

You think that the presence of Islam in Europe is a good thing? I believe that Islam and Nazism combine quite well, believe it or not. Racist Aryan groups in Afghanistan, such as the Taliban, have been influenced by Nazi ideology. You can see swastikas on the Palestinian sides of walls in Jerusalem. Seems like the world is shaping up for a large-scale ideological war between Judeo-Christian morality and racist animistic and Muslim ideologies.

Leonidas226
Post 2

@BioNerd

I think that this is unreasonable. There is little or no resurgence of Nazism, and there is an increasingly open hand for minority groups such as Muslims. This runs counter to Nazi ideology. Turks are even Muslims. In my opinion, doing away with the old Christian crusade prejudices will be a good thing.

BioNerd
Post 1

The SDP party is gaining power? This frightens me. What if Germany reverts to the old ways of the Reich? Parties like these should be squelched. I fear the rise of young neo-Nazi groups in Germany and across Europe. They even turn up in Turkey and other anti-Semitic and anti-Christian nations. It seems the last bastion for reason may be in the United States.

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