Political priorities are shaped not only by social and economic issues, but also the global arena. Balancing domestic priorities and foreign policy demands will continue to drive the discourse between the White House and Congress as well as those of the Chancellery and the Bundestag. Understanding the political landscape is essential to maintaining German-American cooperation, and making sure the partnership can adjust to new challenges.

Colors matter in politics—on both sides of the Atlantic. The United States has blue and red states. In the first few decades after the Second World War, West German politics seemed to rely on a similarly small variety of colors…

During most of the last sixty years, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) used to be “the” German party: five out of eight German chancellors have been CDU leaders, forty out of sixty years of the Federal Republic of Germany have seen federal governments with Christian Democratic (and Christian Social, not to forget the Bavarian sister party) ministers…

The Liberal Party in Germany, the Free Democratic Party (FDP), is experiencing an astonishing renaissance in the run-up to the elections on 27 September 2009— despite capitalism’s worst crisis since the 1930s…

When one scratches under the surface, however, it becomes clear that 2009 could quite conceivably be as good as it gets for Germany’s newest political party. The LP is the product of a merger between two quite distinct political parties: the predominantly eastern German PDS, with its roots in the Socialist Unity Party (SED) of the GDR, and the much newer SPD off-shoot, the WASG (The Electoral Alternative: Labor and Social Justice)…

AICGS Senior Non-Resident Fellow Dr. Dieter Dettke, Professor at Georgetown University, takes a look at the SPD’s standing before the election and discusses the party’s outlook in the immediate and long-term future, including the possibility of a ‘united left.’ Dr. Dettke says that while the specter of a red-red-green coalition in Berlin looms large, based on the current German electoral system it is unlikely that the SPD and Die Linke will ever unite.

When Germany elected a new government on 27 September 2009, it did so not with an eye to the party, economic, or political successes of the previous sixty years. Rather, the election displayed a startling realignment of the party system. This election, occurring as it did in the middle of a celebration of sixty years of the Federal Republic of Germany, can perhaps be seen as the beginning of a new period of German politics, and its impact on transatlantic relations will continue to be seen…

As Germany approaches its September federal election, how will this election shape German-American relations in the coming months? In Issue Brief 30, Jessica Riester, Research Program/ Publications Coordinator at AICGS, examines the policy challenges facing the two countries and the expectations each country has for the other before and after the election, arguing that the German-American relationship can flourish in 2009 and beyond.

Dr. Sebastian Dullien, Senior Non-resident Fellow and professor at the Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft Berlin, argues that Germany has been one of the main causes for global imbalances and has not been very constructive in global economic cooperation. Dr. Dullien writes that the world should continue to expect this sort of behavior from the world’s third-largest economy, no matter who wins the upcoming election, as the likely coalition possibilities will not change the macroeconomic debates.

Dr. Gale Mattox, professor at the U.S. Naval Academy and Director of the Institute’s Foreign & Domestic Policy Program, writes that even though the grand coalition has tried to prevent the issue of Afghanistan from playing a role in the September elections, Germany’s role in Afghanistan could prove to be a critical issue during the campaign. Dr. Mattox argues that whether or not this turns out to be the case, it is clear that after the election there is a need for German policymakers to engage the public in a discussion about this contentious issue.

…The guarantee that all persons shall be equal before the law, and that men and women shall have equal rights was incorporated into the Basic Law in May 1949, despite vehement debates within the Parliamentary Council, and against the organized opposition of Christian parties and the Catholic Church. As the next sixty years would prove, however, the fact that the sexes are “created equal” in no way ensures that they have been “endowed” by state or society with the same inalienable rights…

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