South Schleswig Voters' Association

The South Schleswig Voters' Association[nb 1] (German: Südschleswigscher Wählerverband; SSW) is a regionalist political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. The party represents the Danish and Frisian minorities of the state.[3][4]

South Schleswig Voters' Association
German: Südschleswigscher Wählerverband
Danish: Sydslesvigsk Vælgerforening
North Frisian: Söödschlaswiksche Wäälerferbånd
ChairmanFlemming Meyer
Vice ChairmenSybilla Lena Nitsch,
Christian Dirschauer
National SecretaryMartin Lorenzen
Founded30 June 1948 (1948-06-30)
Split fromSouth Schleswig Association
HeadquartersNorderstraße 76
24939 Flensburg
NewspaperStimme des Nordens
Youth wingYouth in the SSW
Membership (2016)3,394[1]
Danish minority interests
Frisian minority interests
Social liberalism[2]
European affiliationEuropean Free Alliance
Colours  Blue and   Yellow
Bundestag (Schleswig-Holstein seats)
1 / 35
Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein
4 / 73
Kiel City Council
2 / 49
Flensburg City Council
8 / 43

As a party representing a national minority, the SSW declines to identify itself with a scale of left–right politics but models its policies on the Nordic model, which often means favouring a strong welfare state, while favouring a more free-market labour policy than the German social market economy model.[2] The SSW is represented in the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein and several regional and municipal councils. The party contested federal elections in Germany until 1961, before returning in 2021,[5] where it obtained one seat.

As a party for the national Danish minority in Southern Schleswig, the SSW is not subject to the general requirement of passing a 5% vote threshold to gain proportional seats in either the state parliament (Landtag) or the federal German parliament (Bundestag).[3] In the most recent 2022 state election, the SSW received 5.7% of the votes and four seats. In the 2021 federal elections, the SSW stood in a federal election for the first time since 1961; the official final result gave them one seat, making Stefan Seidler a Member of Parliament, their first such member since the 1953 federal elections.[6]


In the 2005 state election the SSW received 3.6% (two seats). This was enough for the SSW to hold the balance of power between the national parties of the left and right, and the SSW chose to support a coalition of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and The Greens, without joining the coalition itself.[2] This resulted in criticism from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and from German national conservative circles, who asserted that since the SSW had been granted a special status, it was obliged to defend only minority interests, and that its status should be revoked if the SSW behaved like a "regular" party. The SSW representatives, however, insisted on the full value of their parliamentary seats and their equal rights as German citizens. One particular point was that the SSW had taken a strong position on educational principles in the state (abolishing the traditional German system of dividing pupils according to academic ability already after the 4th grade into different types of secondary schools). The CDU argued that since there were separate Danish-language schools, it was unreasonable for the SSW to involve itself in the affairs of the public schools.

As the planned SPD-Greens coalition did not make it into office after the 2009 state election, a centre-right coalition was formed between the CDU and Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the SSW joined the opposition.

In the 2012 state election, the SSW gained 4.6% of all votes and three seats in the state Landtag.[7] A coalition of the SPD, Greens and SSW was concluded in June 2012, and the former parliamentary leader, Anke Spoorendonk, was appointed Minister for Culture, Justice and European Affairs.[8] This was the first time in German history that a minority party had participated in a state government. The new coalition government had plenty of nicknames, for instance "Dänen-Ampel" ("Dane-traffic light"), "Schleswig-Holstein-Ampel", "rot-grün-blaue Koalition" or "rød-grøn-blå koalition" (red–green–blue alliance), "Küstenkoalition" (Coastal alliance) and "Nord-Ampel" (North traffic light).

In the 2017 state election, the SSW backed to 3.3% of the votes, but retained three seats in the Landtag. However, since the government coalition parties lost their Landtag majority, a new government was formed without the SSW, which again joined the opposition.

Election poster for the 2022 state election in Danish, in Fleckeby/Flækkeby.

Exempt from the threshold of 5%, it won a seat in the 2021 German federal election with 0.1% of the vote nationwide, its first federal seat since the inaugural 1949 West German federal election.[9][10] Though unlikely to change the balance of power in any way, Stefan Seidler will sit as its Member of the German Bundestag.[11]


The Youth in the SSW (Danish: SSWUngdom, German: Jugend im SSW) is the youth wing of the South Schleswig Voter Federation. The current chairman is Maylis Roßberg.

Electoral resultsEdit

Bundestag election resultsEdit

Election Leader Constituency Party list Seats +/– Status
Votes % Votes %
Germany Schleswig-
Germany Schleswig-
1949 Hermann Clausen 75,388 0.3 (#12) 5.4 (#5)
1 / 402
1953 44,339 0.2 (#13) 3.3 (#6) 44,585 0.2 (#13) 3.3 (#6)
0 / 509
  1 Extra-parliamentary
1957 33,463 0.1 (#10) 2.5 (#6) 32,262 0.1 (#11) 2.5 (#6)
0 / 519
  0 Extra-parliamentary
1961 24,951 0.1 (#8) 1.8 (#5) 25,449 0.1 (#9) 1.9 (#5)
0 / 521
  0 Extra-parliamentary
Did not run (1965–2017)
2021 Stefan Seidler 35,027 0.1 (#17) 2.0 (#7) 55,578 0.1 (#17) 3.2 (#7)
1 / 736
  1 Opposition

Landtag election resultsEdit

Election Leader Votes % Seats +/– Status
1987 23,316 1.5%
1 / 74
  0 Opposition
1988 26,643 1.7%
1 / 74
  0 Opposition
1992 28,245 1.9%
1 / 89
  0 Opposition
1996 38,285 2.5%
2 / 75
  1 Opposition
2000 60,367 4.1%
3 / 89
  1 Opposition
2005 Anke Spoorendonk 51,920 3.6%
2 / 69
  1 Opposition
2009 69,701 4.3%
4 / 95
  2 Opposition
2012 61,025 4.6%
3 / 69
  1 SPD-Greens-SSW
2017 Lars Harms 48,968 3.3%
3 / 73
  0 Opposition
2022 78,969 5.7%
4 / 69
  1 Opposition


  1. ^ Other translations include South Schleswig Voter Alliance, South Schleswig Voters' Committee, South Schleswig Voter Federation, South Schleswig Voters Group, South Schleswig Voters League, South Schleswig Voters List, South Schleswig Voters' Union, South Schleswig Electoral Association.


  1. ^ Deutscher Bundestag: Rechenschaftsbericht der Partei (PDF; 37,9 MB)
  2. ^ a b c José Magone (2011). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. p. 392.
  3. ^ a b Heiko F. Marten (2015). "Parliamentary Structures and Their Impact on Empowering Minority Language Communities". In Heiko F. Marten; Michael Reißler; Janne Saarikivi; Reetta Toivanen (eds.). Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union: Comparative Studies on Equality and Diversity. Springer. p. 264. ISBN 978-3-319-10455-3.
  4. ^ Jörg Mathias; Anne Stevens (2012). "Regions and Regional Politics in Europe". In Richard Sakwa; Anne Stevens (eds.). Contemporary Europe. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-230-36719-7.
  5. ^ "Der SSW will den Minderheiten und der Region eine Stimme in Berlin geben". (in German). Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  6. ^ "Mit 0,1 Prozent: Dänen-Partei Südschleswigscher Wählerverband wieder im Bundestag". (in German). Retrieved 22 October 2021.
  7. ^ "Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein am 6. Mai 2012" (in German). Statistical Office for Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Dänen-Ampel steht – Albig regiert in Kiel". Die Welt (in German). 12 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Social Democrats Narrowly Beat Merkel's Bloc In German Elections". NPR. The Associated Press. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  10. ^ "Stefan Seidler (SSW): "Die ersten Zahlen sind sensationell"" (in German). NDR. 26 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  11. ^ "Danish minority gets representation in German parliament". The Local. 27 September 2021. Retrieved 27 September 2021.

External linksEdit