Hermann Schmitt, Andreas M. Wüst
The Extraordinary Bundestag Election of 2005: The Interplay of Long-term Trends and Short-term Factors

German Politics and Society, 2006: 24, issue 1, p. 27-46

When Chancellor Gerhard Schröder went public and announced his plan for early elections on the evening of 22 May 2005, the SPD and the Green Party had just lost the state election in North-Rhine Westphalia. It was the last German state ruled by a Red-Green government, which left the federal government without any stable support in the Bundesrat. The chancellor's radical move resulted in early elections that neither the left (SPD and Greens) nor the conservative political camp (CDU/CSU and FDP) was able to win. While the citizens considered the CDU/CSU to be more competent to solve the country's most important problems, unemployment and the economy, the SPD once again presented the preferred chancellor. The new government, which has been built on a grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD, might be able to solve some of the structural problems of the country. While this will be beneficial for Germany as a whole, it will at the same time weaken the major German parties, which are running the risk of becoming politically indistinguishable.