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Party politics in German elections | DW Documentary von DW Documentary   12 months ago


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Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schröder, or Helmut Kohl – all German chancellors have to pass the popularity test of the election. We take you back to the highlights since 1949.

It’s back to the ballot box on 24 September when Germany elects the 19th Bundestag. The campaign has begun. Our documentary shows the election campaigns from 1949 to the present day. Interspersed with amusing old spots, former politicians reminisce about the ups and downs of the campaign trail. Which slogan will curry the voter’s favor for the candidate? What do the voters want?

It’s been a similar story for Konrad Adenauer, Willy Brandt, Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schröder or Angela Merkel: the candidates for chancellor and their election promises are part of an elaborate plan, a product that needs to be sold to the electorate. "No experiments", "Vote for Willy ", "Chancellor for Germany" - the slogans reflect the respective mood in (West) Germany at the time. Election campaigns always say something about the hopes and fears of the population. Nowadays, election campaigns are devised by highly paid advertising agencies. They turn social conflicts into questions of personal destiny and systematically build up their candidates as makers and shakers: as winners. A rough tone is nothing new in politics, either. In the run-up to West Germany’s first federal elections, Konrad Adenauer of the CDU and Kurt Schumacher of the SPD traded barbs like "Liar-auer" and "pied piper". In the TV debates of the 1970s, the SPD’s Helmut Schmidt and the CSU’s Franz-Josef Strauß accused each other of deliberately poisoning the political climate ahead of the election. "Vote for Me! The Election Campaign" takes us on a roller-coaster ride through almost 70 years of democracy in Germany - from the scurrilous cartoon reels of the 1950s to Facebook and Twitter of the here and now.

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