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The German Federal Election of 2017: How the Wedge Issue of Refugees and Migration Took the Shine off Chancellor Merkel and Transformed the Party System

Cited 12 time in Web of Science Cited 14 time in Scopus
Issue Date
2017-11-03
Publisher
The Political Quarterly Publishing
Citation
The Political Quarterly, Vol. 88, No. 4, pp. 589-602
Keywords
Angela MerkelGermanyGerman party systemmigration policyrefugee policysocial policywedge issue
Abstract
The 2017 German federal election delivered dramatic electoral decline of the two traditional main parties, the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD), who had governed Germany in a grand coalition government since 2013. The main reason for this outcome was the decision by Chancellor Angela Merkel to open Germanys borders for refugees and migrants, an unprecedented policy that abandoned border controls and remained in place between September 2015 and March 2016. This article focuses on how the refugee and migration problem subsequently turned into a wedge issue, splitting most German political parties and handing a major election victory to the main critics of Merkels decision, namely the rightist Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the right-wing liberals of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Rather than explaining these developments in isolation, the article highlights how past welfare state retrenchment and fear over future economic prosperity make significant groups of the electorate, including former supporters of left-of-centre parties, lose confidence in the ability of the political system to deliver stability and social integration.
ISSN
1467-923X
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/147333
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12445
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Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원)Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과)Journal Papers (저널논문_행정학과)
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