Electoral Participation and Right Wing Authoritarian Success – Evidence From the 2017 Federal Elections in Germany
29 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 9, 2018
The 2017 federal elections in Germany propelled the far-right party "Alternative für Deutschland" ("Alternative for Germany" – AfD) to become the third largest party in the federal parliament. I argue that this strong result of a party that is at odds with much of the post war German political consensus can be explained by a) the move of the Christian-Democratic CDU/CSU to the political center and the resulting increase in similarity between center-left and center-right political forces; b) a de-politicization of politics, especially in the aftermath of the world financial and economic crisis and during the reign of the grand coalition. Drawing on data from the Chapel Hill Expert Survey and the Party Manifesto Project, I show that the AfD inhabits an otherwise unpopulated region of the policy space where it puts particular emphasis on anti-EU positions. In the next step, drawing on data from the Federal Returning Office, I show that the AfD was able to mobilize the electorate more successfully than other parties and that the party's electoral success was in large part due to this mobilization success with the change in turnout the second strongest predictor of AfD vote shares.
Keywords: Right Wing Extremism, Populism, Germany, AfD, Electoral Participation
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