Germany's minor parties: in their own words

From Communists to pensioners to non-voters, there's a party for Germans of almost every political stripe.

    Germany's minor parties: in their own words
    Thirty-four parties will take part in the elections, but only a handful are likely to win seats in the Bundestag [EPA]

    What do Germany's Communists, pensioners, Bavarian nationalists, non-voters, and Dadaists have in common? They each have their own political party.

    Many voters are aware only of Germany's largest half-dozen parties - but many more smaller groups have also been cleared to run candidates in the September 22 polls.

    Al Jazeera contacted all 27 parties that are competing in the federal elections, but that have been flying below the radar of Germany's public opinion pollsters. Here's what some of them had to say:

    Party for Social Equality, Section of the Fourth Internationale

    Christoph Dreier, candidate: "We are an international party that goes back to Leon Trotsky and the foundation of the Fourth International in 1938. We have a large number of supporters. We formulate a revolutionary programme for the working class. We formulate the socialist perspective for the workers in Germany, and that found a very strong response. It was not difficult to get [enough] signatures to come on the ballot.

    "[If elected to the Bundestag,] we would start with revealing all the secrets about the secret service in Germany, its connection to the NSA [the United States' National Security Agency], all the secret contracts that were made with the banks. We would make this public.

    "The EU is the main instrument of the ruling elite to attack the democratic and social rights of the workers. And that is why we are in a strong opposition to this formation. There is no way to unify Europe on a capitalist basis. But our election campaign is very much a European campaign. We want to unify the European workers, and we want to unify the whole continent on a socialist basis."

    Alliance for Innovation and Justice

    Haluk Yildiz, chairman: "We are a political party founded by people from different cultural backgrounds, formed out of the need to reflect and support the changes in our multicultural society in the political area. Our stated goal is to enable all people in our country with equal opportunities, [and] fair treatment… in all areas of life. [We are] the first party in Germany with a background in migration to be in an election.

    "I'm living in Bonn, the former capital of Germany… about 27 percent of the population here are migrants. In the Bonn government… under three percent are [of migrant origin].

    "We are family-oriented... we are against equal treatment between normal marriage and gay marriage. Left parties, they want to equalise it and use the same words for it.

    "About 60 percent of our members are from Turkey or [are of] Turkish origin… The other 40 percent are from 24 different countries. Twenty-five percent are Germans, or of German origin… Many of them are from northern Africa, like Morocco and Tunisia, then many from Syria, Iraq."

    Family Party of Germany

    Heinrich Oldenburg, deputy chairman: "[There's a] tremendous problem that Germany is facing right now: lack of children… It's about 1.35 children per wife. And the problem is our social system. About 30 percent of Germans have no children… and in general they get better pensions than parents. It's a great advantage if you have no children: it's easier that both partners can have a job, and later on they get pension for it.

    "From 1950 up to 1965-70, we had a very high birth rate, more than is necessary to maintain the population. We have hit slack since 1970… and now we have very low numbers who start in jobs… and lots of people who [receive] pensions. I think the only solution is to let people work until 70 or even 75 if they can, in the next 10 or 20 years.

    "The country should pay the costs for children… starting with about 1,500 or 1,700 euros a month and going down [as the child ages]. A mother does the same work, like a teacher or somebody in a kindergarten. Why not pay for her job?"

    Ecological Democratic Party

    Klaus Buchner, candidate: "In 1982, we [the Ecological Democratic Party] separated from the Green Party because the Green Party was influenced very much by communists. That's the reason why we have in our name the word 'democratic'. We have in common still the idea of ecology, but the Green Party has made very many compromises with industry.

    "For example, what we call energiewende ["energy transition"] - the Green Party has agreed to it, but in practice it reduces very much [installations of] new solar panels.

    "We want to help families; the Green Party not at all. They want mothers go to work shortly after birth and bring their children to a daycare facility. We want to give money to mothers who want to stay at home with their children.

    "The mass media simply ignore us, even if we have important things [to say]… We do some actions that are seen at least by the local press. We make, for example, a tour by bicycle through all different parts of Bavaria, and talk to the people and ask them about their problems."

    Bavaria Party

    Florian Weber, chairman: "We believe Bavaria [should be] a state in the European Union. There are 28 members, and given the numbers of people, Bavaria would be the ninth-largest. Bavaria pays a lot of money [to the federal government], without getting anything in exchange for it.

    "Secondly, the people in Bavaria have less influence than other peoples all over Europe because they do not have any representation on the European level. It's a problem that people are not represented in the European parliament.

    "There's a big finance and euro crisis right now. People are looking for other ways to get out of this crisis, and one, we believe, is to get more power in the regions, to get more independence."

    Party of Non-Voters

    Werner Peters, chairman: "We are calling ourselves the Party of Non-voters, but actually it's a party for the non-voters - trying to get them… to express their disappointment in a positive way. We would like to have more direct democracy - people's initiatives and people's decisions, like in Switzerland.

    "We want to have term limits for members of the Bundestag... we would like to limit it to two periods. And then we are against the… coalition treaties in which the governing parties decide four years in advance what they are going to do… This perverts the idea of parliamentary discussion.

    "In 1998 [when the party was founded]… we were kind of considered to be a little bit exotic, because people at that time thought that non-voting was a really bad habit… It wasn't considered to be good behaviour.

    "Now the situation is completely changed. There are now people - well-established philosophers and political scientists - who say: 'I admit and I'm proud to admit that I'm not voting, because I'm not willing to legitimise this kind of politics.'"

    Mountain Party/The Uber Party

    Benjamin Richter, general secretary: "We don't accept other people ruling other people. We think if someone has power over another man, he will abuse the power. If you're elected, you have some responsibility. [If I were elected], I would not personally accept any of this. Maybe I would make a speech, and say that this is bullsh*t - but I would not take it so seriously.

    "People who believe in this party system, they of course don't vote for us… And people who don't believe in [the party system], they don't vote. So everybody that's going to vote for us makes me happy - very happy.

    "We're going to have a big election party when the date of election is near… we won't win, so of course we make the election party before the election. Every year we organise a fight with vegetables [in Berlin]. It might sound like a waste of food - which is very condemnable - but it is, of course, very old food. It's a very ugly thing to do, and very nasty. It's very, very bad. But we don't have much money. We have to pay for the cleaning of the road [after the fight].

    "[The Mountain Party/Uber Party] is not a joke party. But it's also not too much serious."

    Follow Sam Bollier on Twitter: @SamBollier



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