• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent has Germany's party system evolved from a multi-party system to a 2 Block system in recent years?

Extracts from this document...


To what extent has Germany's party system evolved from a multi-party system to a 2 Block system in recent years? The German party system has evolved in recent years due to a number of historical events such as World War 2, the subsequent division of Germany into two separate states: the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic and four decades later reunification in Germany. These events have shaped the German party system and the movement from a multi-party system to the formation of what many would argue to be a two-block system in recent years. The main features of the German party system have emerged out of historical developments. The events of WW2 left Germany in a state of total devastation and destruction. Consequently there was no political system and the economy had been destroyed. Germany was totally defeated. The allied forces (US, UK, France and the Soviet Union) reduced the German territory and redefined the borders. As a result 2 states emerged: the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) controlled by the Soviet Union and the Federal Republic (West Germany) governed by the US, UK and France. The German Democratic Republic was a Communist state therefore in order to examine the evolution of the party system one must look to West Germany, the Federal Republic and the ways in which it evolved prior to the breakdown of the Communist regime in the East and reunification for Germany in 1990. ...read more.


The German political system was based upon a 5% threshold in 1949, whereby parties could only be represented if they received this percentage of the votes. However it is important to note that in 1949 this only applied at regional level and not at national level. The second phase of development in 1953 saw fragmentation become a thing of the past. The 5% threshold was applied nationally and between 1957-63 the West German party system became one of the most stable of the Western European countries. During this time there was very little change, it was a 2+ party system consisting of the CDU, SPD and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). During this time the strong middle ground was occupied by two main parties and the voting reciprocated this. The CDU and SPD received around 90% of the vote in 1976. This resulted in the development of a triangular party system whereby the CDU, SPD and the liberal party (FDP) could all go into coalition with each other. The choice of which party to form a coalition with was dependent on specific issues for example the FDP could choose to form a coalition with whichever party supported its own beliefs and ideals. The German party system has undergone major changes "both in respect of the total number of effective parties and the ideological distance between the various political tendencies. ...read more.


However there is uncertainty over how long the two-block system will last as in theory things could change dramatically: "The stability of the two-block party system...remains questionable. In principle, the "right-block", CDU and FDP, should be cohesive, but the FDP may have become an unreliable partner...On the left, the SPD and Greens appear to have found much common ground but with the German economy increasingly under pressure, difficult decisions will have to be made over the next few years and there is not guarantee that the coalition will hold firm until the next federal election scheduled for 2006."11 Furthermore the FDP which before the emergence of the Green Party held the balance of power may play a key role in the continuance of the two-block system, "While the FDP seems to have lost its traditional position of 'King maker' in the German party system, it may still be regarded as an important player at Bundestag elections when it comes to securing the symmetric 'two-block' party system structure that emerged in the aftermath of German unification."12 Whether or not the two-block party system is strong enough to continue cannot be taken for granted as there are uncertainties on both the left and the right, "But it is difficult to see at this stage what might take its place, especially since electoral behaviour is far less certain and is likely to become even more fluid in the face of Germany's economic difficulties. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Politics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Politics essays

  1. "The first World War killed the Liberal Party" how far do you agree with ...

    This later would affect voting behaviour as the public lost faith and lack of support means a government cannot be in power and thus they decline. Therefore, it is seen that actions during the First World War killed the Liberal Party.

  2. Party system in India

    1977-1989 The next phase in the evolution of India's party system may be considered from the defeat of the Congress in the 1977 elections and the emergence of a non-Congress government, the Janata Government which ruled during 1977-1980, at the centre for the first time.

  1. Is Britain a two-party or a multi party system, or something else?

    He says that "even on the rare occasions since 1945 when the largest single party has not been able to command an overall majority in the Commons, it has been the norm to continue in office as a minority administration rather than to seek to form a coalition".7 Finally explained

  2. To what extent was there a 'post war consensus' between 1945-1970.

    If we were to look solely at the end of the war in 1945 and compare the Manifestos of the two parties it is without a doubt that there was a consensus. The two parties would have pursued an almost identical course regardless of who had been elected.

  1. The American Two Party System

    government of a SINGLE PERSON, had they not contrived a kind of constitution that has all the internal advantages of a republican, together with the external force of a monarchical government. I mean a CONFEDERATE REPUBLIC. This form of government is a convention by which several smaller states agree to

  2. To what extent does Britain have a two party system?

    In the 1924 elections the Liberals were well beaten by Labour and it was clear that Britain's essentially two party system had changed in composition with social class as its principal and social cleavage. This was however short lived as economic collapse resulted in the formation of the National Government

  1. "The UK is a two party system" - does this comment still apply today?

    in local and by-elections and all other forms of lower level politics. However, The Liberals are still a fairly weak parliamentary force and their support has not been required by the two major parties for a great many years. The argument that Britain is a multi party system depends on the area of UK politics and democracy taken into consideration.

  2. To what extent was religion the main causeOf rebellion in the reign of Henry ...

    They felt that what they were doing was a 'team' effort, and that, what they said in the oath meant that they were not doing anything illegal, but only making a peaceful demonstration about the issues that would affect their lives - dissolving of the monasteries and new taxes.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work