A German Explores...what could possibly go wrong?
On September 24, 2017 – 10 days from today – Germany holds elections for the German Bundestag (German Parliament or Congress).
Unlike the Unites States, Germany has a multi-party system, and I thought outsiders might like to see the crazy-long list of crazy-ass parties we can choose from.
Here’s what the 2017 ballot for the German Bundestag Election looks like in the state of Hamburg. Soak it all in…
The Ballot (translated)
Stimmzettel für die Wahl zum Deutschen Bundestag
Ballot for the Election of the German Bundestag (Parliament, Congress)
Sie haben 2 Stimmen
You have 2 votes
First vote (allows to vote directly for a candidate in your district)
Second vote (allows to vote for a party in general within your state)
Huh? What? Two votes? Yep. See this for more info.
The Parties (translated)
SPD, Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
Social Democratic Party of Germany, center left, second strongest party, currently governing in coalition with CDU
CDU, Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
Christian Democratic Union of Germany, center right, Angela Merkel’s party
Grüne, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
Green Party, left
The Left, really left, basically a successor to the former East German SED
FDP, Freie Demokratische Partei
Free Democratic Party, center right, also call themselves Liberals, but not always so liberal
AfD, Alternative für Deutschland
Alternative for Germany, new far right
NPD, Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands
National Democratic Party of Germany, old far right
Die Partei, Partei für Arbeit, Rechtsstaat, Tierschutz, Elitenförderung und basisdemokratische Initiative
Party for Labor, Rule of Law, Animal Protection, Promotion of Elites and Grassroots Democratic Initiative, a tongue-in-cheek satirical party
ÖDP, Ökologisch-Demokratische Partei
Ecological Democratic Party
MLPD, Marxistisch-Leninistische Partei Deutschlands
Marxist–Leninist Party of Germany
BGE, Bündnis Grundeinkommen
Alliance for Basic Income
DiB, Demokratie in Bewegung
Democracy in Motion
DKP, Deusche Kommunistische Partei
German Communist Party, successor to the banned Communist Party of Germany, KPD
Tierschutzpartei, Partei Mensch Umwelt Tierschutz
Party for Animal Protection
V-Partei, Partei für Veränderung, Vegetarier und Veganer
Party for Change, Vegetarians and Vegans
Now if you think those are all the political parties Germany has to offer, you’re way off. Not all parties run in every state. These are just the choices in my home state.
Other greatly insane (yet actual) parties that vie for votes this year in Germany include Die Urbane (A Hip Hop Party), Bergpartei (The Uber Party), Bayernpartei, Bürgerrechtsbewegung Solidarität (BüSo) and, of course, everybody’s all-time favorite, the Beer Party.
Head spinning? Deep breath now! To protect the ability of the Bundestag to govern and avoid fragmentation, only those parties that receive a minimum of 5% of the votes are actually represented. It’s the so-called 5% hurdle, or threshold. After the elections, you’ll likely see only the top six parties take seats in the Bundestag. Everybody else just crawls back into their dark holes, not to come out till the next election.
Related link: How does the German general election work? A very quick run-down of the voting process, with video.
To wrap it all up nicely, these are the official envelopes provided to return my mail-in ballot:
Click image to enlarge
Pink, outer envelope for sending the mail-
in ballot. Holds blue envelope and affidavit.
Click image to enlarge
Blue, inner envelope for sending the mail-in
ballot. Holds the actual ballot with your vote.
Aren’t they pretty? And you thought Germans don’t have a sense of humor.
Good thing this only happens once every four years. SWAK!