Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Non-Reunification of Germany

The results of Sunday's German election reveal that even 23 years after reunification there are still huge political differences between the old West and East Germany.

Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Union won 311 seats in the 630-seat Bundestag but the Left Party performed quite well in the former East German States. In four of the five former East German states the Left Party came in a healthy second, performing much better here than in most of West Germany and in East Berlin four candidates actually won seats.

The Berliner Morgenpost map of the German Election results in Berlin show that there is till a clear dividing line between east and west. Almost 24 years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall the Berliner Morgenpost map reveals a political wall still exists between East and West Berlin and that political wall runs almost exactly along the line of the old Berlin Wall. To the east the Left Party emerged triumphant, while in the west the CDU and the SPD were the political winners.

But it is not only in how they vote that divides east and west Germany but also whether they vote at all. Mappable has created an interesting heat map of German non-voters. The map reveals that there are significantly more non-voters in east Germany than there are in the west, especially in rural parts of eastern Germany.

Mappable claims that 'the refusal to cast a vote is directly connected to factors like wealth and education'. Obviously the map itself does not prove this, so it is just a supposition. I guess you could just as easily surmise that the trend reflects a dissatisfaction with the democratic process in the east but again we would just be jumping to conclusions. However it is clear from the map that east Germans on the whole were less likely to vote than their western neighbours.

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