Down but not out: A comparison of Germany’s CDU/CSU with Christian democratic parties in Austria, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands

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Abstract

The CDU can lay claim to being Europe's – if not the world's – most successful Christian Democratic Party. But at the beginning of the twenty-first century that means rather less than it used to. As a way of thinking, Christian Democracy, has arguably become less distinct than once it was from more secular centre-right ideologies. Whether this will save ‘people's parties’ from continuing electoral decline is a moot point, however. Moreover the chances that their numbers will be swelled by sister-parties gaining significant success in new democracies seem small indeed. This article uses a brand-new database of West European parties' positioning and their organisational and electoral performance to analyse the challenges faced by contemporary Christian Democratic parties since 1945 and compares the CDU to its sister-parties. If the CDU is the exception that proves the rule, why might that be and could it provide a beacon to which other like-minded parties can turn for inspiration? If not, just how much trouble is it in? The CDU: the exception that proves the rule or just one more instance of the same sorry tale?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnderstanding the Transformation of Germany’s CDU
EditorsS. Green, E. Turner
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
PublisherRoutledge
Pages16-45
Number of pages30
ISBN (Print)9781138796874
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Publication series

NameAssociation for the Study of German Politics

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