POLITICS IN GERMANY – My View of the German Federal Election


Hey everyone, Dana here! And guess what? It is election time in Germany. That’s right, coming up on Sunday, September
24, 2017, Germans will vote in the German federal election. Now, I’m not able to vote, I’m not a German
citizen. But Mr. German Man will be voting and listening
to him and just living here in Germany for 7 years, I have definitely noticed some differences
— very interesting differences — between the German federal election and the Presidential
election in the U.S. Okay, so first of all, let’s talk dates. At the top of this video I said that the election
day in Germany is on Sunday, September 24 this year. Key word here being Sunday. Voting in Germany takes place on a Sunday
so that, what a concept, people have off work so that they can actually go vote, unlike
in the U.S. where the election is held on a Tuesday, which may have been a perfectly
convenient day of the week for people back in 1845 when that day was chosen, but nowadays
I think it’s either time for an update, you know, change it to the weekend. Or maybe make election day in the U.S. a federal
holiday. Some states in the U.S. actually already have
election day as a holiday in that state. So just go ahead and make it a federal holiday
and then more people can go and vote. Another difference that is really apparent
if you’re in the U.S. a year leading up to the election is the campaigning. As I explained in this video here, I think
we can all pretty much agree that the U.S. election process from start to finish is a
long, long, long and very drawn out process. First you’ve got the primary elections within
parties, themselves. Multiple candidates running in each party
against each other to decide who is going to be nominated within the party. And then once that’s decided it’s already
been months of campaigning, and only just then is it finally time for the candidates
to actually campaign for the “real thing;” going up against an opponent from another
party. So how is it in Germany? Well, from what I could find, it looks like
there’s no official rule that limits the actual campaign time in Germany itself, but
it certainly does not go on for a year and a half as it can in the U.S. And in some states in Germany, there is a
limit on when the political parties can actually begin putting up the billboards and posters
out on the streets around town. So in a lot of states, there is a limit on
that. For example, in Bavaria, where I live the
billboards and posters are limited to six weeks before the election day. Six weeks. That’s it. You’ve got six weeks of political billboards
and posters around town in Bavaria. No more than that. And while I have seen a good number of posters
posted up all around town, as of filming this video at the very beginning of September,
I honestly haven’t noticed so many billboards out on the streets yet. Mr. German Man says that the number of billboards
out there usually actually only picks up right before election day. So, I’ll keep an eye out for them. In addition to that, there also aren’t as
many political ads running on TV in Germany. Not only are the TV ads limited to a certain
amount per party, but they’re also limited in time. But actually, so far I haven’t seen any
political TV ads in Germany because I usually watch YouTube or movies or TV shows with streaming
services, but I’ve heard they’re out there. Just not as many out there as in the U.S. Alright, so, now how about the political parties
in Germany, themselves. And the first big thing to note here is that
there are way more political parties in Germany than in the U.S., and all of them are trying
to get seats in the Bundestag, which is the parliament here in Germany. To get a seat in parliament, the party must
pass the 5% threshold, which means the party needs to receive at least 5% of the Zweitstimme
on the ballot. What is the Zweitstimme you ask? Besides a tongue twister for me, it is the
second vote on the ballot here in Germany. Now, I, myself, have not personally seen a
ballot, but Mr. German Man has voted many times in his life and he describes the voting
process on the ballot as follows: The ballot is pretty easy. I like how he starts off with that. I guess I’ll let you be the judge, though, after hearing this. But Mr. German Man starts with: the ballot
is pretty easy. You get two votes. A first vote, where you can directly vote
for the representative from your district that you’d like to have a seat in parliament. Okay. For this, each party is allowed one representative
per district. But on the ballot for this first vote, there
may also be some representatives that are not affiliated with any party. Okay. So I got that. First vote, you’re voting for a representative from your district. That’s your first vote. Okay. Then there’s the Zweitstimme, the second
vote you have, where you vote for the political party that you’d like to send to parliament. Okay. So first vote you vote for the actual representative,
a person. And the second vote, you vote for a political
party. Okay, that makes sense. He goes on to say: So if you wanted to, you
could actually vote for two totally different parties, if you voted for a representative
from one party in your first vote and then voted for a different overall party with your
second vote. Okay, that makes sense. First vote could go to representative XYZ
from one party. And you could give, technically, your second
vote to another party, a different party. Okay. Why might you do that? And then he explains: Complicated strategic
reasons that are too much for me to go into here. Okay, got it. Thank you so much Mr. German Man for that
explanation! Thank you, thank you, thank you very much. But if you are still left feeling a little
like: Huh? after that explanation, I will leave some links down in the description box
below that hopefully help clarify the German voting system a little bit more. The political parties that are currently in
the German parliament include: the Union, which is the CDU and the CSU together, SPD,
Die Linke and Die Grünen. But in this 2017 election, there are actually
a lot more political parties vying for spots. According to the Bundeswahlleiter, there are
42 different parties taking part in the election this year. 42 parties! The largest party in parliament right now
is the CDU, which stands for Christian Democratic Union in English, and it is a moderately conservative
party, and is the party that Chancellor Angela Merkel is a member of. The SPD is currently the second largest party
behind the CDU. And SPD stands for Social Democratic Party
in English, and it is a moderately liberal party. This year, it’s the only political party
whose candidate, Martin Schulz, stands any chance at all of beating Angela Merkel in
the election, although the current forecast is predicting Angela Merkel to win once more. Die Linke or The Left in English is a left-wing
populist party. And most of this party’s votes come from
the area of Germany that was formerly East Germany. And Die Grünen, The Greens in English. This party often focuses on environmental
and sustainability issues. And then there are also two other parties
that are not currently in the German parliament but are forecasted to get enough votes this
year in order to get in. Because remember: that 5% threshold. The FDP is one of them, which stands for Free
Democratic Party in English. And it is a liberal, pro-business party. And then the other one is AfD, which stands
for Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany. And it is an anti-immigrant, right-wing populist
party. And lastly: Who can vote? Well, as I said, not me because I’m not
a German citizen. But German citizens 18 and older can vote
in the election. So my question for you is: What are your thoughts
on the election this year, and how are elections that you’ve experienced in other parts of
the world different from how it works in Germany? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks so much for watching. I really hope that you enjoyed this video. And also a really big thank you so much to
our patrons on Patreon who help make these videos possible. Thank you so much for your support. If you would like to check out our Patreon
page or if you’d like more information on the election process in Germany, you can find links to all of that down in the description box below. Until next time, auf Wiedersehen! But there is a limit in…there is…yeah. There’s that. We are recording! We are recording? Yes. Recording. Some states actually already have election…

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