The german greens in the 1980s: Short-term cyclical protest or indicator of transformation?

Publikation: Beiträge in ZeitschriftenZeitschriftenaufsätzeForschungbegutachtet


In the West German general election of 1983 the newly formed Green Party received 5.6 per cent of the popular vote and was (at only its second attempt) able to send 27 delegates to the federal Parliament (Bundestag). It was the first time since the 1950s that a new party had joined the three major parties (SPD, CDU-CSU, FDP) in the federal Parliament. In the 1987 federal election the Green Party achieved an even better result: it received 8.3 per cent of the popular vote and 42 seats in the federal Parliament. Because of this remarkable success the analysis of the Green Party in Germany has become a major research object in political science.

Several studies have described the development of the Green Party, its social bases, its organizational structure and its ideology.1 However, these findings have not been related to the role as well as the function of the Green Party in the West German party system. This research note represents such an attempt. The debate on ‘realignment’ and ‘dealignment’ of West European party systems is the most useful in this respect.2 Is the Green Party vulnerable and consequently likely to disappear from the political scene or will it become a stable component of the party system? It is hypothesized that the Green Party will consolidate its position as the fourth party in the German party system because it is a ‘new type of party’ that differs significantly from the established parties and hence can mobilize its own voter clientele.
ZeitschriftPolitical Studies
Seiten (von - bis)114-122
Anzahl der Seiten9
PublikationsstatusErschienen - 01.03.1989