Players & Organisations

Soeren Stache/dpa
A short overview of further information about the state, politics, contemporary history, plus associated links.

Political parties

Germany is a party-based democracy. Seven parties are represented in the 19th German Bundestag – CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, The Left party, and Alliance 90/The Greens. There are also around 25 small parties, whose influence is limited on account of the five-percent hurdle. Some of them are represented, however, in various federal state parliaments. The Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) is the party with the most members (463,700). The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has around 427,000 members, its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria 141,000 (2017).

Trade unions

The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) embraces eight individual trade unions and has 6 million members. With 2.3 million members IG Metall, the metal workers’ union, which among other things represents workers in the automotive sector, is the single largest union. The trade unions’ ideas have weight and influence in political debates.

Industrial federations

As industry’s umbrella organisation, the Feder­ation of German Industries (BDI) unites 35 sector federations and speaks on behalf of around 100,000 companies.

Social movements

Since the 1970s many people in Germany have been actively involved in environmental groups, citizens’ movements, and non-government organisations. With over half a million members, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) is the largest environmental association.

Public opinion research

Numerous opinion research institutes regularly conduct research into the political climate in Germany. Institutes such as infratest dimap, ­Allensbach, Forsa, Emnid, and Forschungsgruppe Wahlen have a particularly strong presence in the run-up to elections, but also with up-to-date weekly barometers that indicate the general mood.

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