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Erin's Erfurt III Experience

Erinthecute

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Time for a real thing:



And the full map:



I had a thought today that one of my favourite very specific details in alternate elections is when someone takes a real-life political party and gives it a different colour than it has irl (apart from the Dem/Rep red/blue swap - that's expected by now). This made me want to do a little tweaking to a German election - i.e. make the CDU orange, which is their official colour. The idea snowballed into this. It's basically Germany but slightly off. The parties are more or less the same, but have different colours and brands.

The Social Democratic Party is a modern centre-left progressive party, who style themselves with a friendly pink. The CDU/CSU, referred to as the Coalition rather than the Union, use classic Christian democratic orange. The Free Democrats use blue like other liberal parties in neighbouring Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland. They are a catch-all liberal party with substantial wings both left and right-of-centre (Alvaro, for his part, represents the social liberal wing.) The Socialist Left was formed as a left-wing splinter from the Social Democrats, and represents trade unions above all, though socialists and left-ecologists are well-represented in its ranks. Unlike the Left party of reality, relations between the SPD and Socialist Left are fairly warm. The Greens are a right-of-centre environmentalist party, who draw heavily from Christian ethics in both their social and economic platform. Of the five parties, they are the most estranged from the rest.
 

Erinthecute

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Another thing I made recently.

On 17 February 2020, during cross-party negotiations to resolve the Thuringian government crisis, Bodo Ramelow suggested that former Minister-President Christine Lieberknecht be invested by the Landtag to lead a barebones, three-minister technocratic cabinet. She would maintain the day-to-day affairs of government for about two months while the Landtag voted to dissolve itself and call an early election to resolve the crisis.

This was a tempting proposal, and contained implicit concessions to the CDU - Lieberknecht was, after all, one of their most respected members. She also appeared open to it herself. In reality, the CDU rejected this, likely fearing that they would perform poorly in a snap election (polls had them below 14% support and the Left as high as 40%). The POD is simple: they decide to take their chances and agree to the proposal.

The September result is a legitimate attempt to project what would happen in this scenario, relying on polling from both Thuringia and other states as well as educated assumptions. The full result is here, for anyone interested. The main features are losses for the AfD, gains for the CDU, and the prompt exit of the FDP. The red-red-green coalition falls barely short of a majority, with the CDU and AfD together holding a 1.4 percentage point lead over the three leftist parties. The Landtag inflates to 99 seats thanks to overhang seats won by the CDU (the results of the single-member constituencies are 28 CDU, 12 Left, 3 AfD, and 1 SPD.)
 

Erinthecute

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Real life content incoming



The 1994 Hungarian parliamentary election was the second held after the transition to democracy. Like every former Eastern Bloc nation, the first term of democratic governance was transformative but difficult. In 1990, the conservative Hungarian Democratic Forum (MDF) came to power with a slim plurality of 24% of votes cast, but a sizable 42% of seats. It formed a coalition with likeminded right-wing parties and set about transitioning Hungary to a market economy. The immediate effects were not ideal: unemployment, inequality, inflation, and crime all grew dramatically. Prime Minister Josef Antall struggled to keep his government in line. One of his coalition partners withdrew partway through the term after suffering a huge internal split, and the MDF itself suffered a small rupture when a dozen MPs left to form the far-right Life and Justice Party. Antall clashed with the nation's President, who was a member of the opposition SZDSZ, and responded poorly to strikes and protests.

Antall had been diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after entering office, and his illness worsened in the following years. He died in office on 12 December 1993, and was succeeded by his Interior Minister, Peter Boross. Boross himself faced internal opposition and only narrowly won the confidence of his party to remain in office. Ultimately, with the government's popularity sinking and a new election coming up, the MDF appeared likely to be swept from office.

The expected result was a victory for the opposition Alliance of Free Democrats (SZDSZ), a social liberal party who had spearheaded the pro-democracy movement in the late 80s. They had placed a narrow second to the MDF in 1990, and appeared well-placed to win the coming election. However, things didn't quite turn out that way.

Hungarians went to the polls on 8 May 1994, and a startling picture started to form as the results came in. The Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), the moderate successor of the ruling party of the Hungarian People's Republic, looked set to win. The party had tripled its vote share from 11% to 33%. Bewilderingly, the SZDSZ had in fact suffered a decline compared to 1990. Although 175 of the 176 single-member constituencies went to runoffs, the MSZP was well-placed in almost all of them. Turnout in the runoffs three weeks later was 55%, up ten percentage points compared to four years earlier, and the MSZP won a resounding victory - 45% of the vote and 149 seats, for a final tally of 209.

Not only had they claimed first place, they had won a clear majority in the National Assembly. It was an alarming result to many both in and outside Hungary - a post-communist party had returned to power just four years after the collapse of Iron Curtain. MSZP leader Gyula Horn, aware of his position, was keen to assuage fears. Although he had more than enough numbers to govern alone, he invited the SZDSZ to form a coalition government. Indeed, far from the return to socialism which many feared (and some desired), the new government went on to introduce the Bokros package - a "shock therapy" austerity programme so harsh that even the conservative opposition were outraged.

Needless to say, this was not what most of the MSZP's newfound voters had wanted, and the government became deeply unpopular. They lost to Viktor Orban's Fidesz in the next election, but only suffered a slight decline in support compared to 1994. The MSZP had successfully established themselves as a major party of Hungarian politics in record time. They came to government again in 2002, and remained until Orban's landslide victory in 2010.

...

On the electoral system: from 1990 to 2010, Hungary used a modified form of the mixed-member majoritarian system. 176 of the 386 seats in the National Assembly were elected from single-member constituencies using the two-round system. It was a little more complicated than a simple runoff, though: if no candidate won 50%+1 votes in the first round, the top three candidates advanced to the second round, as did any other candidates winning more than 15% of votes. Additionally, if turnout was below 50% in any constituency, its first round result (including for the party list vote) was invalidated and the election was rerun during the runoffs, using first-past-the-post to ensure a winner. (However, if turnout in the runoff was below 25%, the seat would be declared vacant. They were really worried about this I guess.)

The remaining 210 seats were elected proportionally via two methods: 146 were distributed between 20 multi-member constituencies, corresponding to Hungary's counties, and 64 were allocated to a national leveling list to ensure some degree of proportionality. A threshold of 5% of party list votes was applied for both, although this was never a practical concern in the MMCs since all except Budapest were too small for it to apply. The application of the electoral quota in the MMCs almost always left some seats unallocated; those empty seats were added to the leveling list. This meant that the total number of leveling seats varied over time (as high as 90 in in 1990, and as low as the legal minmum of 64 in 2010.)

Once all the seats had been distributed in both the SMCs and MMCs, the party's residual votes were calculated. This included any votes over the quota in the MMCs, as well as the first-round votes of any SMC candidates who hadn't been elected. The leveling seats were then distributed to the parties based on their number of residual votes.

This system was fairly good at creating proportionality in normal circumstances, though it was probably more complicated than it needed to be. However, it broke down during landslides such as 1994 and 2010, when one party won the vast majority of single-member constituencies. Its performance in 1990 was also less than ideal.

This system was replaced in 2011 under the second Orban government. Alongside the constitutional reform which reduced the National Assembly to 199 seats, a new simplified electoral law was passed. The proportion of single-member constituencies was increased (from 46% to 53%), the proportional component was unified into a single national list, and the compensatory elements were removed. The current electoral system guarantees a strong majority for a hegemonic party who is able to consistently dominate the single-member constituencies.
 
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Erinthecute

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Ah, Eastern Europe and its mildly cursed electoral systems. I mean, single-member (with majority requirement but only in the first round), proportional, and nationwide leveling seats?
Not quite as complicated, but one of my favourites is the system Bulgaria used for the 2009 election. It was mostly typical PR in constituencies corresponding to counties (Sofia was split in three), but for some indecipherable reason, they also decided that each MMC should double as a single-member constituency. So 31 out of 240 seats were elected from these constituencies with wildly varying populations for no apparent reason. It was repealed before the next election.
 

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The 1990 East German parliamentary election was the first election held after the Peaceful Revolution, a series of protests in late 1989 which caused the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) to give up its monopoly on power. It was the first free and fair election on East German territory since 1932. The 400 members of the Volkskammer (People's Chamber), the unicameral legislature of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), were elected via party-list proportional representation. No electoral threshold was applied.

The election was won by Alliance 90, an electoral alliance of the groups who had spearheaded the pro-democracy movement the New Forum, Democracy Now!, and the Initiative for Peace and Human Rights. The Alliance 90 won 36% of votes. It was followed by the SED, rebranded as the Party of Democratic Socialism, with 15%. An array of smaller parties won representation, including the right-wing German Social Union, centrist German Forum Party, Christian Democratic Union, Social Democratic Party, liberal United Democrats, and the Green Party.

The major issue in the election was a proposed unification with West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany, FRG) which was supported by the large majority of the public and parties. The DSU, CDU, SDP, and FDP received campaign funding from counterpart parties in the West. Other issues included reform of the economy, including the adoption of the West German mark, European integration, the future of state institutions, and the dissolution of the Ministry for State Security.

The Alliance 90 nominated activist Jens Reich as East Germany's first democratically elected head of government. He brought together a broad coalition of democratic forces, assembling a cabinet of the Alliance 90, DFP, CDU, SDP, Democrats, and Greens. The government's first priority was clarifying relations with West Germany. Most of the governing coalition were strongly pro-unification, and both West and East were united in support. However, opinions differed about what form it should take: polls showed that most of the public supported rapid unification with the adoption of the West's legal, political, and economic systems, as advocated by the conservative parties and FRG government. However, the Alliance 90 originated in the left-opposition to the SED, and most ministers were wary of the West's private market system. The consent of the four Allied powers was also required for any change to Germany's territorial or legal status, and the British and French governments were less than enthusiastic about the idea.


Despite this, both the GDR and FRG approached negotiations optimistically. Substantial strides were made toward an economic union, and the Volkskammer amended the GDR constitution to liberalise its legal and political system. Economic principles remained divisive, however, and this was exacerbated by the increasingly poor condition of the Eastern economy. Finance minister Walter Romberg requested increasingly generous packages from the FRG, straining relations with the conservative government, who refused to grant them. With conditions worsening, the Eastern public began to question whether the West was willing to sacrifice for unification. Many left-wing activists accused the West of seeking to enrich their corporations at the expense of the Eastern people.

By the end of 1990, relations had deteriorated substantially - the economic union was only partly complete, no unification agreement had been signed, and plans for further negotiations were postponed. The Allied powers, sensing that the movement was losing momentum, remained quiet. The Eastern CDU, who pushed for rapid reunification and were largely in agreement with the Western government's approach, were frustrated by the lack of progress. The three CDU ministers resigned from the government in September.

Even after the CDU's departure, tensions continued to grow inside cabinet. The SDP was perceived as holding outsized influence thanks to funding and expertise from the West, which other parties lacked. The Alliance 90 and Greens, whose ministers comprised a diverse group of activists, lacked experience and often clashed due to differing opinions on policy. The German Forum Party, nominally the second largest member of the government but lacking important positions, was dissatisfied. The liberal Democrats pushed for greater economic liberalisation but were opposed by the cabinet majority.

Tensions came to a climax with Jens Reich's "Europe over Germany" speech in February 1991, in which he outlined a European path to German unification as the only way to safeguard Eastern interests. Rejecting the "easy path" of a simple West-East merger, he claimed that East Germany would have to fend for itself for the forseeable future. He also accused the CDU and SDP, among others, of abandoning the Eastern people and acting as proxies for Western powers and politicians.

The speech triggered the dissolution of the government. The Social Democratic and liberal ministers resigned en masse, as did a number of leading figures in the Alliance 90. His position clearly untenable, Reich reached out to President of the Volkskammer, Joachim Gauck, to seek the dissolution of the Volkskammer and new elections.
 

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The political landscape shifted dramatically in the aftermath of the Reich cabinet's collapse. The Alliance 90 melted down almost overnight. Reich remained at the head of New Forum, though it dramatically bled members. Appetite for unification remained high, but the bright-eyed idealism of '89 was largely gone, particularly among the new activist-political class. Three main currents emerged: pro-unification, pro-European, and nationalist. Most groups fell into the former categories, and many were wracked by internal disagreement.

Outgoing ministers Werner Schulz, Marianne Birthler, and Vera Wollenberger together founded the Union pro Germany, a broad pro-unification platform. They quickly won over most members of the United Democrats, as well as some from the CDU and SDP. The Forum Party, already on its last legs, dissolved into the UpD. On the other end of the political divide, New Forum dissident Hans-Jochen Tschiche launched the Democratic and Progressive Movement (DFB) with a group of left-wing activists and the remnants of the women's movement.

Trouble was emerging not only among the government, but also the opposition. While the PDS had expelled most of the old guard and hardliners, a new rift was emerging between the progressive reformers and a growing nationalist wing supported by disaffected public servants. The DSU had been abandoned by the Western CSU after its exclusion from government, and many in the party resented the CDU for joining the left-leaning Reich cabinet. Other minor parties struggled to stay afloat in the new landscape; the Eastern FDP, Women's League, and United Left were defunct before election day.

Some attempts were made to broker an alliance between the DSU, CDU, and Democratic Awakening, but were unsuccessful. Only a merger between the latter two parties could be agreed to. The DSU once again ran an independent campaign, positioning itself as East Germany's leading conservative party.



The new elections took place on 24 March 1991, and demonstrated at least that reunification remained a top priority for most voters. The Union pro Germany placed first with 23%, followed by the New Forum, largely retooled as Reich's personal political vehicle, on 15%. The PDS came in third place with small losses attributed to its internal strife. The SDP almost doubled its popularity to 12%, beating out both conservative parties. The DSU retained its lead over the CDU by a few thousand votes, but both improved their result to over 11%. The Greens also made gains despite the defection of leader Vera Wollenberger. Tschiche's DFB won a respectable five percent. The Farmers' Party retained five seats.

While the result was a clear victory for pro-unification forces, those supporting a "fast track" model still lacked a majority – let alone the two-thirds constitutional majority that would be required to enact such a plan. Schulz, the UpD's premier candidate, put together a cabinet with the CDU, DSU, and generally pro-unification SDP, hoping to scrape the remaining numbers together on the floor of the Volkskammer.

The government entered office with a much more coherent platform than the previous. Its first priority was liberalising the economy in order to reach the targets set out by the West German government, and hopefully reverse the abysmal situation in the process. The West German mark was officially adopted as the currency of the GDR, and large portions of public industry were privatised. While the Schulz government also faced difficulties securing the substantial support required to keep the economy afloat, the issues were worked through after careful negotiation. Gradually, things began to stabilise.
 

Erinthecute

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The GDR was not the only country facing problems, however. West Germany held its national elections in January, before the collapse of the Reich cabinet. The CDU/FDP government of Helmut Kohl lost its majority in the face of a public dissatisfied with the lack of progress on unification. This mainly benefited the nationalist right, represented by the far-right Republicans, whose entrance delivered a hung parliament. Unwilling to seek a grand coalition with the SPD nor risk new elections in the turbulent situation, Kohl was reinvested to lead an unprecedented minority government, securing conditional support from the SPD on various financial and diplomatic matters. Though this state of affairs did nothing to help public confidence in unification, the Schulz government in the GDR was welcomed warmly by the Western public, and negotiations continued month by month. The new coalition was confident of proving Jens Reich wrong – to prove that the East would not need to fend for itself, and that Germany could be whole again.

Their hope turned to ashes in June of 1991, when Germany awoke to a joint statement issued by the British and French governments declaring that the threat of resurgent German nationalism was too great and that, as a result, they were forced to oppose the project of German unification. Both halves of Germany were blindsided, but the move had been developing for some time. Europe had traumatic memories of a united Germany, and were wary as early as 1989 of what unification might bring. To many, the entrance of the Republicans into the FRG parliament had confirmed their fears. Unification could not proceed without support from all four Allied powers, and two had just declared their clear opposition.

Of course, the official statement was not the full story – Britain and France feared a united Germany's potential economic and geopolitical power much more than they feared neo-Nazism. This was not lost on the German people, who reacted about as well as could be expected to Germany's supposed friends deciding to torpedo their greatest national dream.

Mass protests erupted across both West and East. Schulz resigned along with his entire cabinet. Jens Reich had had the last laugh, though no one was laughing: East Germany would have to fend for itself.

Once again, East German politics was transformed overnight. The country's institutions were the immediate concern. The constitution was a mess, amended numerous times in the last year, but never intended for long-term use. Volkskammer president Joachim Gauck, still serving ex-officio as head of state, formulated an emergency solution: he commissioned Jens Reich to form an interim cabinet, and created a Constitutional Committee in the Volkskammer. Dubbed the "cleanup crew", these would be tasked with recommending and implementing the immediate changes required to ensure the functioning of the state while a long-term revision of the constitution was debated.

The committee recommended the creation of an interim head of state separate from the President of the Volkskammer, and the modification of the electoral system to introduce a threshold for entry, as well as a majority bonus system. Though both warranted substantial debate, there was little appetite, and the issues were time sensitive. The appropriate changes were legislated in a bit under a month. The Volkskammer was dissolved for the second time in just six months, and the election was set for August.
 
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Erinthecute

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The already-chaotic political landscape faced a fresh realignment. With unification no longer the defining issue, competing visions for the future of the country took centre stage. Though Schulz and his government were still popular, they were now obsolete, and the UpD struggled to redefine itself. It shed members and public support, but barely managed to hold together. Rebranded as the Democratic Alliance, the party entered the campaign with Schulz and Birthler at its head. They hoped to attain at least a respectable result.

Jens Reich once again led his New Forum into the election, though nobody would have bet on his chances. He still had his supporters, but no shortage of enemies either, and his brand was further tarnished after his brief stint as interim premier; he was fast becoming the closest thing the GDR had to a new establishment.

With the fall of the UpD, the champions of the Peaceful Revolution found themselves politically homeless. Some retired; some founded their own microparties. Most joined one of the various established parties. Many gravitated toward the SDP, which had emerged as the most stable and reliable party in the country after surviving two terms in government largely unharmed. Though about as heartbroken about unification as anyone else, the SDP maintained a large Europeanist faction who were more than ready to take on the challenge. Sensing an opportunity, they picked popular and outspoken former labour minister Regine Hildebrandt as their candidate for premier.

The right, the most emphatic supporters of unification, were severely wounded by the death of the project. The Western CDU had already turned off the money tap for its Eastern counterpart. Forced together by mutual need, the DSU and CDU merged, adopting as a name the only thing they all agreed they had in common – The Union. Several leaders were proposed, including Hansjoachim Walther and Lothar de Maizière, but they ultimately settled on ex-minister Else Ackermann, who had led the CDU campaign in 1990. The decision to nominate a moderate with feminist leanings was not uncontroversial. Nonetheless, the party held together; and with the largest parliamentary group, they were a force to be reckoned with.

By far the most significant transformation, however, happened within the PDS. Ironically, the party most opposed the unification was the most bitterly divided when they got what they wanted. The latent nationalists were set ablaze by their apparent victory. They sought the adoption of a new party platform advocating the repeal of the free market reforms, termination of the economic union with the West, and re-implementation of protectionist measures. The progressive wing around Gysi, favouring stronger European ties and a move toward the mainstream, flatly rejected these demands. The situation boiled over at the national congress in July.

The party split down the middle. Both sides walked out. The nationalists sent out a call for patriotic comrades, and found new allies from across the political spectrum. Not all would call themselves comrades. Together they launched the Coalition of the East (KdO), an unabashedly populist, unapologetically anti-Western platform. Proclaiming themselves "the only patriotic force in the GDR", they grabbed headlines across the continent, but their position was – if possible – even more marginal than the PDS.

Gysi, in truth, was relieved to be rid of the nationalist wing. His reformers were strong enough to stand alone, especially since they retained control of the PDS apparatus and its resources. But they were eager to align themselves with a natural ally: Hans-Jochen Tschische. He had burnished his credentials as a left-wing opposition voice over the previous months, and with an almost prescient focus on domestic policy over foreign, had ranked among the most popular figures in the country since June. His Democratic and Progressive party positioned itself between the PDS and SDP, and Gysi saw the opportunity to build a united socialist party (he carefully avoided phrasing it like that).

Both approached negotiations enthusiastically, and the Democratic Left was born. Gysi and Tschische would jointly lead the new party into the elections. They pledged to buttress democracy with a new progressive constitution, stabilise the economy with a social-ecological market approach, and end the chaos of the last 18 months by building a stable majority. The reception was mixed – Gysi remained a highly controversial figure, and a campaign with such socialist overtones was anathema to some. Others thought he was trying a bit too hard to broadcast his commitment to democracy.
 
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Erinthecute

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The second parliamentary election of 1991 took place on 25 August. The electoral system had undergone some modification. It retained its foundation of party-list proportional representation, with seats distributed across the various districts. New features included an electoral threshold of 3%, and a more controversial change: a majority bonus of 40 seats to the largest party. The current situation was unstable. Nobody was sure which party would win the election, and the Constitutional Committee had recommended such an element to assist with building majorities. The SDP and Union, believing themselves well-positioned, welcomed the change. Most others were uneasy about warping the proportionality of the Volkskammer, but agreed to pass it as a temporary measure.

Opinion polling in the GDR was still relatively primitive. Findings from the last two elections were inconclusive, and most outlets had still yet to build reliable models. Western pollsters had difficulty adapting to the fluidity of the East compared to the more rigid landscape back home. But as July turned to August, a pattern began to emerge: the Democratic Left and KdO were on the rise.

Young former SED and FDJ staffers, sidelined since the end of 89, were energised by the possibility of a return to government and campaigned vigorously for their parties. However, they spent more time targeting one another than anything else, each accusing the other of treachery and betrayal. Plastered on street corners were posters labeling Gysi a pro-American fascist; pasted over the top were others accusing KdO leader Höpcke of allying with Nazi skinheads and Stasi bosses. Off the streets, access to the PDS's ample resources gave the DL a decisive advantage in campaigning. They ran circles around the other parties, broadcasting adverts and holding rallies. The SDP and Union, forced to stand on their own without Western help, struggled to keep up. Attacks against the DL intensified as they began to pull ahead, but they remained focused on economics and security. Much rhetoric focused on Gysi and the SED connection, but this was blunted by Tschiche's respected activist credentials. When it came to the dictatorship and the Stasi, most of the public's ire was now directed at the KdO.



With the momentum behind them, the Democratic Left stormed to a remarkable victory. They won 25% of the vote and a clear plurality of 134 seats thanks to the majority bonus. A sober campaign centred on stability, security, and cooperation saw the SDP place second on 19%. Unexpectedly, the Union suffered a net decline to 18.5%. In retrospect, their embrace of free-market orthodoxy and continued focus on unification were criticised. The Coalition of the East placed fourth with 14%, below what some had hoped and others feared, but enough to anchor themselves as a serious force. The New Forum, Democratic Alliance, and Greens each recorded 6%. It was a crushing defeat for Schulz and Birthler, who finished behind Jens Reich and became the joint-smallest faction in the Volkskammer. The aggregate forces of the grassroots pro-democracy current, which appeared all-encompassing less than a year ago, had garnered just 12% of the total vote.

While the centre and right reeled from the result, the left were euphoric. The DL and SDP held a majority between them, and the path to government seemed clear. However, there were details to work out. Despite his popularity, Tschiche did not have the experience or skill to serve as premier. Gysi was too contentious and would never be accepted by the SDP faction. Rather than scour their ranks for a suitable candidate, the DL offered an olive branch to the moderates, suggesting that SDP lead candidate Hildebrandt lead the next government.

This arrangement was not an easy sell for either party. Some within the DL saw it as a capitulation to the SDP, while much of the SDP distrusted Gysi and anyone associated with the SED/PDS. But the leadership of both parties was keen to push ahead, and managed to bring their factions in line without major incident.
 

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Regine Hildebrandt was elected Minister-President by the Volkskammer on 24 September, becoming the first female leader of either East or West Germany. She received 201 votes on the first ballot, the minimum number required for an absolute majority. Though the vote was secret, estimates suggested that, due to the number of abstentions and no votes from her own governing coalition, Hildebrandt only got over the line thanks to yes-votes from a handful of Greens and New Forum deputies. Losing the first ballot would only have been a minor stumbling block, but winning afforded her much-needed legitimacy.

The new cabinet was sworn in the same day. It comprised ten ministers from the Democratic Left and six from the SDP. Notably, neither Gysi or Tschische joined the cabinet, instead remaining active in the Volkskammer faction, which Gysi chaired. His close ally Lothar Bisky became Deputy Minister-President and interior minister. SDP chairman Meckel got the foreign affairs portfolio. The SDP also took over the much-contested labour ministry, to the dissatisfaction of the trade unions, who favoured former BGL boss Marlies Deneke of the DL. Nonetheless, she was chosen as finance minister.

Before the government could begin its work, matters of state had to be dealt with. Joachim Gauck had served as President of the Volkskammer and thus acting head of state for the last two legislative periods. He was elected in 1990 for the Alliance 90, and in March 91 as an independent on the Union pro Germany list, but declined to seek re-election this time. In accordance with tradition, the largest faction nominated the new presiding officer. The DL chose Götz Kreuzer. He was elected with a surprisingly large majority of 307 votes, indicating support from a number of Union and KdO deputies.

Two days after investing the government, the Volkskammer reconvened to elect three new high offices: the President of the Republic and the commissioners of two new agencies. A lively debate took place behind the scenes in the weeks prior, but by the day of the vote, all three nominees had been settled upon. Gerd Poppe, a respected activist who had served as disarmament minister in the Reich government, was elected President. Author Lutz Rathenow became Commissioner for the Stasi Records, overseeing the archives of the agency which targeted him for years. Green deputy speaker Carlo Jordan became Commissioner for Data Protection; he resigned from his party after taking office.
 

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TLDR: the 2017 German federal election with the borders of the Weimar Republic.

Supplementary material:
Detail: a projection of the 2017 German federal election on the Weimar Republic as it existed in 1925. The constituencies and electoral regions were drawn and calculated with population numbers from the 1925 census. This was primarily a project to show how dramatically the distribution of population has shifted since the interwar era. Most strikingly, the old centre/modern east has become severely underpopulated due to stagnation and emigration since the end of the Second World War. This is especially pronounced in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, which used to be some of the most densely-populated and industrialised parts of Germany. Berlin also suffered severely from the war and subsequent division. The dense centre of the city lost the large majority of its population, and the density of the city has become much more uniform over time. Meanwhile, the Rhine-Ruhr and Frankfurt metro areas have grown dramatically as part of a general westward shift in the centre of population and wealth.

The election is partly window dressing, but also a fun attempt to project how Germany's politics would be affected if it still had that extra land to the east. This is not a super deep analysis, so the difference in population is essentially ignored - I just duplicated OTL 2017 results wherever I could. Basically, I assumed that history has proceeded more or less the exact same other than the borders, meaning the GDR was about twice as big as IOTL. Since reunification, the eastern territories (Pomerania, Silesia, East Prussia, and the eastern part of Brandenburg) vote more or less similarly to the rest of the East, with variations emerging due to demographics (such as Catholics in Upper Silesia) and geography.

The overall change is an increase in popularity for the AfD and Die Linke, and a relatively uniform decline for all other parties. The most striking feature on the map is that the AfD swept large parts of the rural east in Pomerania and Brandenburg. These are the kinds of very rural, very conservative areas where the AfD excels IOTL. They're big constituencies, but are sparsely populated - overall, the AfD was not that much more successful than IOTL. East Prussia is traditionally a CDU bastion, but similarly to Saxony, they have seen record losses to the AfD. Upper Silesia is the CDU's safest Eastern region, since the AfD has encountered difficulty swaying its primarily Catholic voters.

Die Linke also benefits from the new eastern territories, especially industrial Silesia, where they maintain a strong presence. In 2017, Lower Silesia was a bloody three-way fight between the CDU and AfD (22% each) and Linke (20%), hence the messy map.

Another significant consequence of the border change is not felt in this election, but in the previous: thanks to extra votes in the eastern territories, the AfD was able to pass the 5% threshold and enter the Bundestag in 2013. The FDP, meanwhile, missed it by a larger margin than IOTL. This probably has ramifications, but my exploring them isn't my goal.
 

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(B)XL, EU
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he/him
Do you have the 1925 census numbers at hand by any chance? I'm trying to get an idea of Bavaria's population evolution without the German refugees after WWII so it'd be super helpful.
 

Erinthecute

Well-known member
Location
Australia
Pronouns
she/her
Do you have the 1925 census numbers at hand by any chance? I'm trying to get an idea of Bavaria's population evolution without the German refugees after WWII so it'd be super helpful.
I don't have the census itself, but you can find just about any number you could dream of on this site: https://treemagic.org/rademacher/www.verwaltungsgeschichte.de/laender.html

Any district, city, even municipality, over the course of decades (including post-war). It's kind of amazing. Just a bit archaic to navigate since it's old.
 
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