With his usual brilliance, my coauthor (and good friend) Martin Lewis of Stanford University presents a cogent geographical analysis of the recent German election on his GeoCurrents blog, which you can find here. (You can also link to GeoCurrents through the QR code at the end of each chapter in our book, or, lacking a QR reader, by going to the Links page at the top of this blog)
Here’s the first two paragraphs of Martin’s recent blog post, plus one of the many maps he uses in his analysis.
“The recent German federal election has been widely heralded as a major victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel and her Christian Democratic Union party (along with its regional sister party, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria). Taking almost 42 percent of the vote and nearly half of the seats in the Bundestag, Merkel’s center-right party had its best showing in almost a quarter century. It is thus not surprising that the Chancellor “urged her party to celebrate ‘a super result’ as she looked set for a historic third term” (as reported by the BBC).
Merkel’s victory, however, was far from overwhelming. The three main parties of the left, the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Alliance ’90/The Greens, and The Left (Die Linke), would, if combined, control enough seats to form a government, a possibility precluded only because the former two parties refuse to join forces with the hard-left Die Linke. Moreover, Germany’s other main center-right party, the Free Democrats, did not reach the five percent threshold necessary for representation in the Bundestag, a massive decline from its 14.6 percent showing in 2009. 2013 marks the first time since it was founded in 1948 that the “classically liberal” Free Democrats failed to gain representation. The party’s 2,082,305 votes (4.8 percent) were almost matched by those of the upstart, anti-Euro Alternative for Germany (2,052,372), founded earlier this year. The only other parties to win more than one percent of the vote were the Pirate Party (2.2%), which stresses Internet freedom, and the far-right National Democratic Party (1.3%). Germany’s only significant secessionist organization, the Bavaria Party, took only 57,285 votes, a slight gain from its 2009 showing of 48,311. Other minor parties participating in the election include the deep-green Human Environment Animal Welfare Party (140,251 votes), the “eco-pro-life” (for want of a better term) Ecological Democratic Party (127,085 votes), the “radical-centrist” Die PARTEI, which supposedly wants to rebuild the Iron Curtain and turn the former East Germany into a Special Economic Zone (78,357 votes), The Republicans, an anti-immigration group (91,660 votes), and the evangelical Party of Bible-Abiding Christians (18,529 votes).