West German Election, 1965

August 18, 1965

Report Outline
Political Campaign in Federal Republic
German Electoral and Federal Systems
Status of Democracy in Germany Today
Special Focus

Political Campaign in Federal Republic

For The First time in Germany's postwar history, the political “outs” of the Federal Republic are given a chance to win a national election—the contest to be held on September 19 for seats in West Germany's Bundestag or national assembly. The Christian Democrats, led until only two years ago by former Chancellor Adenauer, have dominated the government in Bonn since the Federal Republic came into being in 1949. During much of this period, the Christian Democratic Union and its Bavarian affiliate, the Christian Social Union, have governed in a coalition with one or more small parties. Since 1961 the junior partner in the coalition has been the Free Democratic Party, smallest of the political parties that are represented in the Bundestag.

Relative Strength of the Principal Parties

Since Adenauer was succeeded as Chancellor by Ludwig Erhard in October 1963, long-standing differences over personalities and policies within the C.D.U.-C.S.U. have been aggravated. Accentuation of those differences has contributed to growing popular support for the opposition Social Democratic Party (S.P.D.) led by Mayor Willy Brandt of West Berlin, who is the Social Democrats' candidate for Chancellor.

In recent state and local elections, the Social Democrats have narrowed Christian Democratic margins or won clear victories. In 10 Land elections held since the national elections of 1961, Social Democratic candidates have outpolled C.D.U.-C.S.U. nominees by a combined 12.4 million to 12 million votes. The most recent election of a state parliament took place last June 25 in the Saarland, where the C.D.U. narrowly won with 42.7 per cent of the 595,000 votes cast. The S.P.D. vote rose 10 per cent over 1960, to 40.7 per cent of the total, while the C.D.U. tally increased by only 6 per cent. The two major parties, continuing a trend of the past decade, gained at the expense of the small parties. The vote of the Free Democrats dropped from 13.8 per cent of the total to 8.3 per cent.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
Regional Political Affairs: Europe