The probable outcomes are: -current coalition (center-christian plus liberal party) keeps going. The FDP (liberals) may have trouble getting over 5%, in which case they won't go into parliament at all. The CDU is likely to get the most votes of any party, but not enough to form a government -grand coalition of CDU and SPD. The SPD (centre-left) is the second largest party, this coalition is likely in case the FDP drops below 5% -coalition of SPD, Linke, Grüne (centreleft, plus far left, plus green). It is unlikely that the usual alternative to the conservatives (SPD and Grüne) will get enough votes, they might have to include the far-left party.
There are some new players, who may mobilize some of the nonvoters. There is an anti-euro party led by technocrats, there seems to be a consensus that exiting the euro would be a bad idea though, so I'm not sure how far they will get with the "we don't want to bail out the rest of the EU" program. There are also the pirates, popular among younger voters, but often regarded as party without concepts or cohesion.
This election could have drastic effects on the EU, so I think it is more interesting than usual German politics. Surprisingly the election campaign of all major parties ignored important issues and delivered platitudes, so that is disappointing.
Anyway, in the unlikely case that German politics don't fascinate you, here are some questions about democracy in practice: how do you vote when one party represents your ideology but has incompetent politicians while the other parties may have better politicians but follow different ideologies? What do you do when none of the parties even mention some of the issues you consider to be important?
29th February 2004
Does Problem Peer have any chance of winning?
If you go by personality or ability Steinbrück's chances seem slim. But you never know what the people go for. Leftist ideology seems very popular in Germany these days. And many people appreciate that Peer is very outspoken. That gets him into trouble rather often, but at least he is a politician with convictions in a time when politicians seem more opportunistic than ever.
Victim of Forgotten HopeForum bystander
26th April 2004
The state of the political system is pretty messed up if you have two major parties basically running as opposing forces that then end up forming a coalition government. Perhaps even more broken of a government than the one in Finland that has 6 out of 8 parliamentary parties in.
Also it seems the limit of 5 % for parliamentary representation doesn't seem too good, it means legit votes will be rendered useless by an arbitrary limit. That limit should be determined by pure election mathematics. Now it seems both FDP and AfD will be left out by a mere margin of around 0.2 %, ouch.
Winning three elections and actually getting even more votes is an extraordinary feat. Usually the prime minister's face gets old fast and people keep changing their votes in a cycle. I'm not surprised the FDP might be dropped out, that is if it is really 'classical liberal' instead of 'social liberal', because you win votes by promising people benefits and classical liberalism is not really about that. If the party gets eliminated, it might later benefit the CDU because they will get more right-wing votes.
The FDP lost mostly because they were unable to realize any of their plans with the CDU. Their voters either voted directly for CDU now or for the new anti-euro party, which has a similar ideology to FDP.
From what I looks like right now the CDU will be in a coliation with either SPD or the Green party. There is also a chance that the CDU can rule on its own. A grand coalition isn't so bad in my opinion, the difference between SPD and CDU is very small these days.
29th January 2005
Looking at this from a distance, it's an important affirmation of the current EU market structure, at least from the perspective of its supporters. With CDU and SPD occupying roughly the same center pivot as well as their common positions on the EU itself, all is good in the heart of the EU.
Going forward from this I guess Merkel could point to her results and control of parliament as an affirmation that her position on the long-term future of the EU is in the correct by those who have turned out (how much was turnout anyways?)
No data on turnout yet, just some estimates that it was higher than last time. It takes time to count all the absentee voters. Current predictions say that CDU won't get enough seats to rule on its own, FDP and AfD (liberal and anti-euro) won't get over 5%.
Here are some pretty pictures: Bundestagswahl 2013: Aktuelle Prognosen und Ergebnisse - FAZ.NET
Preliminary data on turnout says 71.5%, about the same as 4 years ago.
SCHOFIELD DID 4/30
10th August 2004
So, it seems like we've covered it. But in more detail, why did FDP fare so badly? I mean, haven't they been perennially in coalition with the CDU? Being the junior member, they must be used to not getting much of their platform pushed through, but this is their first election since WWII without a seat in parliament. Did they get less through than usual? Did FDP and AfD compete for the same voters? Is Rosler a bad leader? Are their ideas stale? Or has CDU taken on more classically liberal views?
Red Menace;5713840So, it seems like we've covered it. But in more detail, why did FDP fare so badly? I mean, haven't they been perennially in coalition with the CDU? Being the junior member, they must be used to not getting much of their platform pushed through, but this is their first election since WWII without a seat in parliament. Did they get less through than usual? Did FDP and AfD compete for the same voters? Is Rosler a bad leader? Are their ideas stale? Or has CDU taken on more classically liberal views?
A bit of everything. Merkel can be quite authoritarian, her word is law in the coalition. In the last election the FDP got about 15%, this plummeted rapidly as they didn't deliver on any of the things they promised. All they managed was a reduction of taxes for hotels and many people weren't happy about a party that caters to individual clients like that. One of the ministers had to resign because she copied parts of her dissertation and consequently lost her PhD. Then there is the AfD, founded by scientists, critical of Merkel's bailout policies. That appeals to liberals and those who are generally tired by the conservatives, who adopted a strategy of doing nothing in order to avoid risks and reap benefits from the generally good economic conditions in Germany. Their election campaign was weak and sometimes delusional - there was no room for debate within the party, so the party wasn't aware just how much trust they had lost. The CDU hasn't taken on liberal views, it is quite close to social democrat ideas these days in my opinion. The FDP followed suit, so for many it appears a liberal party in name only.
Hopefully they'll learn their lesson. Their leadership has to go now, of course, so there is potential for some renewal.