Free Voters (German: Freie Wähler, FW or FWG) in Germany may belong to an association of people which participates in an election without having the status of a registered political party. Usually it involves a locally organized group of voters in the form of a registered association (eV). In most cases, Free Voters campaign only at the local-government level, standing for city councils and for mayoralties. Free Voters tend to achieve their most successful electoral results in rural areas of southern Germany, appealing most to conservative voters who prefer local decisions to party politics. Free Voter groups are active in all German states.

Free Voters
Freie Wähler
AbbreviationFW
ChairmanHubert Aiwanger
Deputy ChairpersonsManfred Petry
Gabi Schmidt
Gregor Voht
Engin Eroglu
Denise Wendt
Federal Managing DirectorArnold Hansen
Federal TreasurerChrista Hudyma
Founded1965; 57 years ago (1965) (as Bundesverband)
24 January 2009 (2009-01-24) (as a party)
HeadquartersMühlenstraße 13, Ganderkesee, Germany
Youth wingYoung Free Voters
Membership (2019)5,682[1]
IdeologyRegionalism
Liberal conservatism[2]
Political positionCentre to centre-right
European affiliationEuropean Democratic Party
European Parliament groupRenew Europe
Colours  Orange
  Azure
  Teal
State parliaments
38 / 1,889
European Parliament
2 / 96
Website
www.freiewaehler.eu

Unlike in the other German states, the Free Voters of Bavaria have also contested state elections since 1998. In the Bavaria state election of 2008 FW obtained 10.2% of the vote and gained their first 20 seats in the Landtag.[3] FW may have been helped by the presence in its list of Gabriele Pauli, a former member of the Christian Social Union of Bavaria.[4][5] Others suggested that the cause and effect might be the other way about.[6] In the state election of 2013 FW repeated its success, gaining 19 seats. Then, in the 2018 Landtag elections, the Free Voters won a record 27 seats. In the 2021 Rhineland-Palatinate state election, the FW entered the Landtag there for the first time, amassing 5.4% of the vote and six seats.[7]

Ideology and politicsEdit

The Free Voters support devolving more power to the local level.[8] The party is in opposition to the European Union's financial policy.[9]

Ideologically, on the left–right spectrum, it has been described by some sources as between the Free Democratic Party and the Party of Bible-abiding Christians,[9] and by others as between the Christian Social Union and the Alternative for Germany.[10] Europe Elects described it as centrist.[11]

European representationEdit

In the 2014 European parliament elections in Germany, the Free Voters list received 1.46% of the national vote and returned a single MEP, Ulrike Müller,[12] who sits with the ALDE Group.[13] The federal Free Voters association joined the European Democratic Party in October 2015.[14]

In June 2017 Arne Gericke, who sits with European Parliament's European Conservatives and Reformists group and was elected in 2014 on the Family Party of Germany list, joined the federal association.[15] He left it 15 months afterward for Alliance C – Christians for Germany.

Currently, in the European Parliament the Free Voters sit in the Renew Europe group with two MEPs.[16][17]

In the European Committee of the Regions the Free Voters sit in the Renew Europe CoR group with one alternate member for the 2020–2025 mandate.[18]

Federal elections resultsEdit

Election Leader Constituency Party list Seats +/– Government
Votes % Votes %
2009 Manfred Ehlert (FWD) 11,243 0.0 (#22)
0 / 622
Extra-parliamentary
2013 Hubert Aiwanger 431,640 1.0 (#10) 423,977 1.0 (#10)
0 / 631
  0 Extra-parliamentary
2017 589,056 1.3 (#8) 463,292 1.0 (#8)
0 / 709
  0 Extra-parliamentary
2021 1,334,093 2.9 (#8) 1,127,171 2.4 (#8)
0 / 735
  0 Extra-parliamentary

State Parliaments (Lander)Edit

The Free Voters does not contest state elections in Brandenburg due to the close cooperation with the BVB/Free Voters, who only compete in the state elections in Brandenburg.

State parliament Election Votes % Seats +/– Government
Baden-Württemberg 2021 146,259 3.0 (#6)
0 / 154
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Bavaria 2018 1,572,792 11.6 (#3)
27 / 205
  8 CSU–FW
Berlin 2021 15,297 0.8 (#9)
0 / 160
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Bremen 2019 14,205 1.0 (#9)
0 / 84
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Hamburg 2020 16,357 0.4 (#?)
0 / 123
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Hesse 2018 85,465 3.0 (#6)
0 / 137
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Lower Saxony 2017 11,348 0.3 (#9)
0 / 137
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2021 10,075 1.1 (#9)
0 / 71
  0 Extra-parliamentary
North Rhine-Westphalia 2017 33,083 0.4 (#9)
0 / 199
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Rhineland-Palatinate 2021 103,619 5.4 (#6)
6 / 101
  6 Opposition
Saarland 2017 2,146 0.4 (#?)
0 / 51
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Saxony 2019 98,353 4.6 (#7)
0 / 119
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Saxony-Anhalt 2021 33,288 3.1 (#7)
0 / 97
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Schleswig-Holstein 2017 7,816 0.5 (#?)
0 / 73
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Thuringia 2019 n/a -
0 / 90
  0 Extra-parliamentary

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Rechenschaftsbericht, Stand 31.12.2019" (PDF). Deutscher Bundestag. 4 July 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  2. ^ Assessing the 2019 European Parliament Elections. Taylor & Francis. 2020. p. 263. As in 2014, seven minor parties with vote shares below 5 per cent gained seats in the European Parliament, ranging from single-issue parties like the Animal Protection Party (one seat) or the Family Party (one seat) to the satirical 'Die Partei' (two seats) or the liberal-Conservative 'Free Voters'.
  3. ^ "Ergebnisse Landtagswahl Bayern 2008". Archived from the original on 30 September 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ s. "Freie Wähler - Sicher nicht Frau Pauli - Bayern - sueddeutsche.de". Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Landtagswahl in Bayern: Ist Gabriele Pauli schuld am Erdrutsch-Verlust der CSU". 28 September 2008. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 July 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Osterloh, Maren (15 March 2021). "Alle Wahlkreise, alle Ergebnisse, alle Sieger in Rheinland-Pfalz". Die Welt. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  8. ^ Judy Dempsey (28 September 2008). "As Bavaria goes, so too all of Germany?". The New York Times. The Free Voters, who won 10 percent, want more power to be devolved to the local level. They may be sought as a coalition partner, though their positions on many issues are unclear.
  9. ^ a b Andranik Tangian (2019). "14: Visualizing the Political Spectrum of Germany by Contiguously Ordering the Party Policy Profiles". In Christos H. Skiadas & James R. Bozeman (ed.). Data Analysis and Applications 2: Utilization of Results in Europe and Other Topics. Vol. 3. Wiley. FREIE WAHLER (Free Voters) founded in 2009, a party of opposition the EU financial policy;
  10. ^ Laurenz Gehrke (27 August 2021). "The thorn in conservative Germany's side". Politico.
  11. ^ EU Elections in Germany: which minor parties will make it?, Europe Elects, May 11, 2019.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2014.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Ulrike MÜLLER - VoteWatch Europe". Votewatch.eu. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  14. ^ "Presse-Detail - FREIE WÄHLER Bundesvereinigung". Freiewaehler.eu. Archived from the original on 11 March 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2017.
  15. ^ Online, FOCUS. "Schwerin: Gericke von der Familienpartei wechselt zu Freien Wählern". FOCUS Online (in German). Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Home | Ulrike MÜLLER | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  17. ^ "Home | Engin EROGLU | MEPs | European Parliament". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  18. ^ "CoR Members Page".{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

External linksEdit