Ecological Democratic Party

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Ecological Democratic Party
ODP logo
Christian Rechholz
party leader Christian Rechholz
general secretary Claudius Moseler
vice-chairman Peter Schneider
Federal Treasurer Dirk Uehlein
founding 23./24. January 1982
place of incorporation Wiesbaden
Headquarters ÖDP Federal
Office Pommergasse 1
97070 Würzburg
youth organization JÖ – young.ecological
alignment Green politics
Conservatism Criticism of
Colours) orange ( HKS 8 )
Bundestag seats
Government grants 1,284,601.44 euros (2020)
number of members 8,225 (as of September 2021)
minimum age 14
International connections World Ecological Parties
EP Group Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance (Greens/EFA)

The Ecological Democratic Party ( short name ÖDP , 1997–2010 ödp ) is a small party in Germany . The main focuses of the party on an ecologically conservative basis are democracy , environmental policy , criticism of growth and family policy .

The ÖDP was founded in 1982 as a federal party and is the legal successor to the Green Action Future (GAZ), the Green List for Environmental Protection Hamburg (GLU) and the Working Group on Ecological Policy . The party is most popular in Bavaria , where it has received around 1 to 2% of the votes in state elections since 1990 and has been able to increase the number of its seats at municipal level to 486 (+ 48 on other lists as of September 2021). The ÖDP has had one seat in the European Parliament since the 2014 European elections . Klaus Buchner won the mandate. In the 2019 European elections on May 26, 2019, Buchner was re-elected to the European Parliament. Following his decision to resign from the European Parliament, Manuela Ripa took his place on July 16, 2020 .

Content profile

The current version of the basic program was presented at the federal party conferences on 4./5. May 2013 decided in Coburg . The predecessors were those from the founding year 1982 and the basic programs adopted in October 1993, 1997 and 2008. The federal political program , which in contrast to the basic program contains specific demands, was adopted in 2002 and updated in the following years.

The current European policy program of the ÖDP was decided in 2014. According to its own statements, the ÖDP has a post- material orientation and is characterized by Christian - humanistic values. The party describes itself as open to people of different religions and beliefs . According to its claims, it also attaches great importance to the principles of sustainability and the strengthening of direct democracy in Germany . The party is striving for a turnaround in lifestyle and economics: The "abundance and waste economy" is to be abandoned in favor of sustainable use of resources and "real quality of life". This message was spread by the ÖDP in the 1980s and then again for the 2019 European elections with the slogan "Less is more" in election spots and other advertising materials as their core message.

Environmental and energy policy, animal welfare

The central motive of the program is the preservation of the natural basis of life. She advocates refraining from "economic activity if overriding goals of species and livelihood protection require it".

The ÖDP rejects the use of nuclear energy because it represents a "risk for people and nature". The current phase-out of nuclear power is not consistent enough for her. Renewable energies , on the other hand, are to be increasingly promoted and made cheaper. These are to be financed by refraining from expanding airports and the road network. In addition, the party advocates increased taxation of kerosene and the expansion of local public transport.

Furthermore, the party pleads for "nature-friendly agriculture with species-appropriate animal husbandry" and for "natural forestry". The "protection of the natural basis of life" and animal welfare are to be included in the Basic Law as state goals .

According to the ÖDP, the limit values ​​for mobile communications must be lowered, since a "large number of scientific studies from all over the world" have shown that the resulting radiation is harmful to health.

social and family policy

According to the basic program, the “social state requirement of Article 20 of the Basic Law […] should not be shaken”. The social systems should also be financed through taxes on energy waste and capital gains.

Poster of the ÖDP for the introduction of an education salary

According to the ÖDP, the family is the “best proven way of life” and “the foundation of our society”.

The ÖDP also applies the “principle of sustainability” to the social system. Sustainability is to be achieved, particularly in the case of youth and old-age security, by ensuring that every claim is matched with something in return (“principle of performance justice”), so that the system is permanently self-supporting.

The ÖDP criticizes that the contract between generations was designed only unilaterally in favor of the pensioners, while the costs of raising children largely remain with the parents . This "socialization" of the benefit of children resulted in an economic and ideal devaluation of child-rearing and family. Since with this system the next generation has to take care of not only their own parents but also the growing number of pensioners without children, the younger generation is overwhelmed. There is a violation of the fairness of performance between the generations. The consequences are excessive non-wage labor costs and taxes and thus a promotion of unemployment and national debt . Since such a system would not work in the long term, the principle of sustainability would also be violated.

The ÖDP strives for a balanced distribution of burdens both between parents and those without children and between current and future generations. On the one hand, half of the child-raising costs are compensated for by higher child benefits and a child -raising salary. In return, the next generation should finance half of the pensions for everyone. Parents are also entitled to a parental pension in accordance with their higher contribution to child costs. Childless people should finance the second half of their pension themselves with the help of the child costs they have saved through compulsory endowment insurance, thereby relieving the burden on the smaller subsequent generation. Since the pay-as-you-go system is based on bringing up children and this is independent of the employment relationship, statutory pension insurance must be extended to all citizens. Voluntary supplementary insurance should remain possible.

The ÖDP criticizes the Parental Allowance Act, which has been in force since 2007 , because the amount of parental allowance depends on previous income. A tax-financed social benefit, which tends to favor the wealthy, contradicts the requirement of the welfare state. This would disadvantage low-income parents, young parents who are still in education and parents with several children. This contradicts the principle of equality under Article 3 (1) of the Basic Law . The discrimination of families with more children also contradicts the protection of the family under Article 6 (1) of the Basic Law. Therefore, the party supported several lawsuits and constitutional complaints against the income dependency of the parental allowance and also had a legal opinion drawn up on the question of the constitutionality of the parental allowance law, which largely confirmed the opinion of the ÖDP. The Federal Constitutional Court did not accept the complaint for decision at the end of 2011; the structure of the parental allowance is constitutional.

The ÖDP is largely skeptical about abortions . However, it endorses and supports the legal compromise that has been found and is in force. The ÖDP expects a significant reduction in the abortion rate from its social program, since its implementation would largely eliminate the social motivation to do so.

health policy

The ÖDP rejects the privatization of clinics and sees the state as responsible for a nationwide healthcare system. To this end, it should be oriented towards the common good and not towards business logic and profit orientation. The prosecution of drug-related crimes should be concentrated on trade structures and dealer networks instead of criminalizing consumers. Marijuana is to be decriminalized by allowing purchase and consumption in authorized outlets from the age of 18. Education about the dangers and risks of legal and illegal drugs should be intensified.

In Bavaria, the ÖDP launched a referendum against human cloning .

When it comes to corona policy , the ÖDP relies on precaution and voluntariness. In their "Statements on Corona" it says (quote): " The ÖDP's view of the world and of humanity is characterized by respect for creation and its wonderful mechanisms that hold life together on this planet. " There are doubts about the quality of the approval procedures of the vaccines and concerns about possible long-term damage from the vaccinations. When it came to vaccination, the ÖDP would have preferred to wait for the results of long-term studies. The ÖDP rejects an obligation to vaccinate as well as an obligation to provide information about the vaccination status. The ÖDP speaks out against regulatory measures such as 3G or 2G. The focal points of the ÖDP are the precautionary and voluntary principle with strengthening of resilience , which also applies in the Corona crisis, in addition to pharmaceutically manufactured medicines, natural remedies should also be used. The ÖDP demands that reliable data be finally collected and treatment guidelines developed about the long-Covid complex. This affects patients with a wide variety of symptoms.

When discussing the correct way to deal with the corona pandemic, the ÖDP distances itself from all radical groups such as lateral thinkers or corona rebels and calls on its members not to take part in demonstrations by these groups.

The stance on restrictive measures to combat the pandemic is controversial within the party. There were resignations and open expressions of sympathy due to the close proximity to opponents of corona measures at the lower management level.

education policy

The party rejects tuition fees for undergraduate studies, fearing that they will lead to social selection. The ÖDP is committed to the diversity of the school system. The retention of the three-tier school system is advocated, but at the same time it should also be possible to attend comprehensive schools and school models run by independent sponsors. However, up to the 6th grade, all students should be taught together. In addition, the party intends to significantly increase the permeability between the different school types. Lessons that are as practice-oriented as possible should be given in the Hauptschulen , supported by project lessons and frequent, extensive internships . In addition, contact with the respective local companies should be intensified in order to increase the future prospects of the students. The aim of the ÖDP is also to achieve a uniform minimum level of school leaving certificates that is binding for all federal states. Furthermore, a so-called modular Abitur is advocated, in which the pupils can decide whether they aim for the general higher education entrance qualification after 13 or after 12 years.

economic and tax policy

Information stand at the demonstration "Against the ESM - For Democracy in Europe"
(Munich, June 2012)

In the opinion of the ÖDP, the previous market economy system will fail because it is "oriented towards one-sided material consumption". The basic principle of sustainability should be the basis of every human activity, since the "resources on planet earth" are limited. Energy and raw material consumption and the associated pollutant emissions must be taxed as a priority. Compensation for this is the gradual reduction in non-wage labor costs and a per capita refund of eco -taxes . As early as 1983, the ÖDP called for the introduction of a revenue-neutral ecological tax reform . People who act in an ecologically conscious manner should have tax relief, and conversely, higher taxes should make non-ecological management unattractive. Value added tax is described as "socially and ecologically blind" and should therefore be significantly reduced. the goal is

"A market economy that deals rationally with non-renewable materials, uses and develops renewable sources, organizes itself decentrally, expresses economic damage in the prices for energy and raw materials and is prompted by state frameworks to assume social and ecological responsibility."


In its basic program the party commits itself in essential parts to ideas of growth criticism and calls for an economic form without growth pressure . With less material effort, a higher quality of life should be achieved, which requires a change in consciousness.

"We want to give the economy more incentives to strive for the common good and cooperation instead of profit and competition [...] The ÖDP advocates the ecological and social market economy . This should be [...] environmentally friendly (ecological) and people-friendly (social)."


The ÖDP strives for a "strict separation of political mandate and economic representation of interests". Corporate donations to parties should be banned as they constitute corruption . The MPs of the ÖDP are not allowed to occupy supervisory board positions in order to prevent conflicts of interest. The ÖDP criticizes that the "self-interest of individuals" is the only valid basic assumption in society and politics. This is based on a “radical-liberal school of economics” and has “put itself through almost dogmatically”.

domestic policy

According to the ÖDP, referendums and referendums should be made easier or introduced at local, state and federal level. She also advocates the right to vote from birth, in which the parents should vote on behalf of their children until their children reach the age of 14. 14- to 17-year-olds should already be able to vote independently upon application.

According to the ÖDP, enemies of the constitution must be clearly fought. Parties that sympathize with extremists should be banned.

Furthermore, the democratic state must be able to ward off dangers that arise “from the spread of organized crime”. The increasing crime rate is a "challenge for society and the state" because the "citizens' demands for safety and integrity" are not being met. Therefore, in addition to the police and the judiciary, moral courage is also required, which must replace the "mentality of looking the other way". The ÖDP also advocates crime prevention, which includes, among other things, an "improvement of social framework conditions" and "education for mutual respect and more legal awareness". In addition, there should be no depiction of violence in the media.

The party rejected the policies of the former interior minister Wolfgang Schäuble – especially in the course of the fight against terrorism – because, in their opinion, they represent an erosion of fundamental rights.

The Bavarian ÖDP is aiming for the direct election of the Prime Minister of Bavaria . According to the party, there is no real separation of powers between the Bavarian state government and the state parliament . Therefore, the ÖDP Bavaria started a referendum in 2012.

foreign policy

From the perspective of the ÖDP, globalization is rejected in its existing form, since in their opinion only a few in the world benefited from it. Furthermore, "the safeguarding of human rights and the creation of a high degree of welfare and justice in all countries of the world" is demanded. The party rejects the content of the Lisbon Treaty because, in its view, it undermines democracy and is too neoliberal . In addition, according to them, the adoption of the treaty had no democratic legitimacy whatsoever. The ÖDP called for referendums on the treaty in all EU countries, including Germany. This is one of the reasons why she complained about the ratification of Germany in 2008 before the Federal Constitutional Court. In terms of foreign policy, the party is also calling for a “worldwide ban on ABC weapons ”.



Claudius Moseler, General Secretary of the ÖDP
Federal board of the ÖDP 2018

federal party convention

The highest decision-making body of the party is the federal party congress, which takes place at least once, often twice a year. The Federal Party Congress is responsible for the election of the Federal Executive Committee, the Federal Arbitration Court, the Federal Auditor and the candidates on the federal list for the election of the Members of the European Parliament. It decides on the statutes, the rules of procedure and programs. It includes the delegates of the state associations and the members of the national board.

Federal Main Committee

The Federal Main Committee is the highest body between the federal party conferences. The members of the federal commissions are elected there. It is made up of the delegates of the state associations and the executive national board.

Federal Board

The federal board, elected for two years, consists of nine members: the federal chairman, the two deputies, the federal treasurer, the federal secretary and four assessors. The first four named form the executive federal board. The federal executive board is supported by a general secretary who, however, is not elected by the federal party congress and is therefore not entitled to vote on the federal executive board. The position of Secretary General was created in September 2001 and has since been occupied by Claudius Moseler.

chairman vice-chairman treasurer secretary assessor
Christian Rechholz Peter Schneider Dirk Uehlein Christine Stancus Klaus Buchner , Charlotte Elizabeth Schmid, Günther Brendle-Behnisch, Thomas Schiffelmann

Ecological Council, commissions and federal working groups

The Ecological Council is an advisory body made up of scientists and experts whose members are appointed by the federal party congress for four years at the suggestion of the federal executive board. Its task is to provide scientific advice to the party's organs and elected representatives.

The development of draft programs is the task of the federal program commission, while the federal statute commission makes proposals for the further development of the statute. Arbitration courts exist at federal and state level, which are responsible for settling internal party disputes and deciding on party exclusion procedures.

Discussions on content are held in the federal working groups, which are open to all members and are structured by topic.

At the beginning of 2017, the following federal working groups existed:

  • BAK Christians and Ecology
  • BAK women
  • BAK local politics
  • BAK human-ecological basic income
  • BAK Asylum and Integration
  • BAK participation
  • BAK Democracy, Foreign Policy and Europe
  • BAK Family, Social Affairs and Health
  • BAK climate and environmental protection, transport, energy and radiation protection
  • BAK Agriculture, Animal Welfare and Genetic Engineering
  • BAK Economy and Finance

Federal associations and related organizations

The federal associations are independent organizations that are not subject to the arbitration of the party. Membership in a federal association does not require party membership. There are two federal associations in the ÖDP:

  • the Federal Association of Women,
  • the Young Ecologists, founded in 1992 as a youth organization of the ÖDP; this was also registered as an independent association until 2011.

Until August 2005 there was a student association of the ÖDP called Ecological-Democratic Students , or öds for short.


The ÖDP has regional associations in all federal states. There are more than 200 regional associations at municipal level, with a focus on the regional associations in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, which have a large number of members.

Bernhard Suttner (2017), Chairman of the Bavarian State Association of the ÖDP from 1991 to 2011
national association chairman Result of the last election of the state parliament Results of the 2021 general election
Baden-Wuerttemberg Baden-Wuerttemberg Baden-Wuerttemberg Guido Klamt 0.8% ( 2021 ) 0.3%
Bavaria Bavaria Bavaria Klaus Mrasek 1.6% ( 2018 ) 0.7%
Berlin Berlin Berlin Andrea Brieger (acting) 0.1% ( 2021 ) 0.2%
Brandenburg Brandenburg Brandenburg Thomas Lob 0.6% ( 2019 ) 0.2%
Bremen Bremen Bremen Kara Tober well ( 2019 ) 0.1%
Hamburg Hamburg Hamburg Tobias Montag 0.7% ( 2020 ) 0.2%
Hesse Hesse Hesse Daniel Spier 0.3% ( 2018 ) 0.1%
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Katrin Streek 0.1% ( 2021 ) 0.1%
Lower Saxony Lower Saxony Lower Saxony Yorck Müller-Dieckert 0.1% ( 2017 ) 0.1%
North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia North Rhine-Westphalia Martin Schauert 0.2% ( 2017 ) 0.1%
Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate Rhineland-Palatinate John Schneider 0.7% ( 2021 ) 0.2%
Saarland Saarland Saarland Jorgo Chatzimarkakis well ( 2017 ) 0.4%
Saxony Saxony Saxony Jens Gagelmann 0.3% ( 2019 ) 0.2%
Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt Saxony-Anhalt Michael Freisleben 0.1% ( 2021 ) 0.1%
Schleswig Holstein Schleswig Holstein Schleswig Holstein Thomas Weber well ( 2017 ) 0.1%
Thuringia Thuringia Thuringia Martin Truckenbrodt 0.4% ( 2019 ) 0.2%
Legend: na - not started, NN - office currently vacant

members and voters

Development of the number of members of the ÖDP

Membership formalities

According to the statutes, any person who “has German citizenship or permanent residence in the Federal Republic of Germany, is at least 14 years old and recognizes the statutes and basic program” can become a party member. According to the statutes, female members are automatically members of the Federal Association of Women in the ÖDP , provided they do not object. Since August 2002, the ÖDP has been offering a “taster membership”, which allows you to be a party member for a year free of charge.

Simultaneous membership in Scientology is incompatible with membership in the ÖDP .

Since the ÖDP advocates a strict separation of business and politics, Article 14 of its statutes prohibits its MPs and board members from paid supervisory board memberships "at a profit-oriented company" as well as consultancy contracts.

Origin and composition of membership

The members come predominantly from the bourgeois camp. Many students and academics were among the candidates for the 1990 Bundestag elections , so that the ÖDP was characterized as “a clearly academically shaped party of the new middle classes”.

The number of members of the ÖDP in June 2020 was 8,002. Almost two thirds of the members come from Bavaria .


In addition to the federal office in Würzburg , the ÖDP maintains a local political office in Mainz , which is headed by ÖDP Secretary General Claudius Moseler. The party newspaper is called ÖkologiePolitik . It appears quarterly with a circulation of 6,700. Günther Hartmann is responsible for the editor-in-chief.

The ÖDP awards the Golden Swallow to selected people who are committed to ecology or democracy . Prizewinners include Franz Alt , Hans Herbert von Arnim , Harry Rosin and Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker . However, the latter expressly did not accept the prize because of the ÖDP, but only in appreciation of the former federal chairman Herbert Gruhl.

political activity

parliamentary activity

ÖDP poster against the Temelín nuclear power plant

At the end of 2018, the ÖDP had around 470 mandates at the municipal level, more than 380 of them in Bavaria. In the district councils in Bavaria, it has a total of five members. The ÖDP has not yet been represented in state parliaments and the Bundestag. In 2014 and 2019 Klaus Buchner was elected to the European Parliament. On July 16, 2020, Manuela Ripa took his place.

There is a very strong south-north gradient. At the level of the districts and urban districts, the party has so far achieved its best election results in the districts of Ravensburg and Rottweil as well as in the cities of Passau , Memmingen , Ansbach , Straubing and Bottrop .

The ÖDP's parliamentary work focuses on the topics of "environment" and "direct democracy". The ÖDP most frequently enters into list connections as well as committee and parliamentary groups with the Greens, electoral groups and the FDP , less frequently with the CDU, CSU, SPD or the Bavarian Party .

There are and have been coalitions at local level, both under the leadership of the Union and with the SPD and the Greens. Previously existing coalitions of SPD, Greens, ÖDP and other groups were e.g. B. in Munich and Augsburg referred to as the "rainbow coalition".

extra-parliamentary activity

Representatives of the ÖDP at the demonstration We're fed up! 2013

ÖDP members and associations take part in campaigns on environmental issues, e.g. B. against genetic engineering , cloning , particulate matter , construction of nuclear power plants and local citizens' petitions.

In 1996 and 1997, the ÖDP in Bavaria initiated the referendum “Lean state without a senate” . In the referendum on February 8, 1998, 69.2% of voters voted for the abolition of the Bavarian Senate , which was then dissolved on January 1, 2000. The ÖDP then announced a referendum, according to which the state parliament should be reduced from 204 to 145 seats. After the Bavarian state parliament had decided to reduce the state parliament to 180 members, the ÖDP refrained from doing so.

The ÖDP also did not bring in the referendums to downsize the state government and to cancel four planned sites for nuclear power plants in Bavaria, since the state parliament partially or fully met the demands in advance. On May 6, 2005, the Bavarian Constitutional Court did not approve the people's initiative to save justly, even at the top . The referendums on human cloning and mobile communications did not reach the required number of support signatures, in contrast to the successful referendum for genuine non-smoker protection! . In addition, the ÖDP has repeatedly had laws checked for their conformity with the Basic Law and other existing laws with the help of lawsuits. The party has achieved that the amount of the book allowance for Bavarian schools introduced by the Bavarian state government must be regularly checked by the state parliament, after which it was abolished by the state government. Furthermore, the ÖDP has successfully sued against the fact that public companies (e.g. municipal waterworks) can hide information about public goods, citing confidentiality obligations, since this contradicts the principle of freedom of information .

The ÖDP participates in the alliance "Europe needs more democracy" founded in April 2012 by the Mehr Demokratie association, in which the Association of Taxpayers , the Pirate Party Germany and the Federal Association of Free Voters Germany also take part.

external perception


The ÖDP is generally perceived as a bourgeois-conservative part of the environmental movement. Initially, there were programmatic differences to the Greens in questions of foreign policy (ÖDP approval of NATO and the EC ), the relationship to parliamentary democracy (ÖDP approval of the state monopoly on the use of force ) as well as to the family (rather traditional understanding) and abortion (tendency skeptical attitude).

At the time when Herbert Gruhl , the first federal chairman , was active, the ÖDP was mentioned in the same breath as right-wing parties such as the REP , DVU and NPD , especially in left-wing circles from the mid-1980s . This intensified with the result of the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 1988 , when the party was able to achieve a significant result at a national level with 1.4% for the first time. The accusations of right-wing bias gradually calmed down after Gruhl's resignation from the federal presidency in 1989, although some of them are still raised by the political left , for example by the former Green Party politician Jutta Ditfurth . Prominent right-wing extremists soon withdrew, like party co-founder and deputy federal chairman Baldur Springmann after just a few months, or were later expelled from the party, like Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck . After leaving the party in 1991, Gruhl saw the ÖDP as very close to the Greens.

In 1989, the ÖDP adopted a “fundamental resolution on the differentiation of the ÖDP from the right-wing parties”, which is still valid today and which states, among other things: “Nationalism is the exaggerated, intolerant manifestation of national consciousness. He sharply contradicts the basic program of the ÖDP, which is committed to global solidarity, peace and democracy.

In “ new right ” magazines, the party is classified as “ left ” or “left Catholic” after its split.

Due to the fact that the party in Bavaria initiated numerous referendums , it was characterized by the world in 2001 as "a kind of Bavarian APO ".

Scientific reviews

To date, the assessment of political scientists has remained inconsistent as to whether the ÖDP after 1989 can be described as more "right of the center", which the Heidelberg political scientist Jürgen Wüst affirmed in 1993. In this regard, he mentioned a similarity to the positions of the philosopher Robert Spaemann . Due to the repositioning of the party in terms of personnel and content, a clear “shift to the left” is sometimes emphasized for the ÖDP and it is also positioned as “centre left”.


The journalist Franz Alt was a prominent advocate of the ÖDP for some time

For a long time, the journalist Franz Alt , to whom Gruhl confided his growing differences with his party at the time, the CDU, at the end of the 1970s, was considered one of the most prominent supporters of the ÖDP outside the party . Since the founding of the party, Alt, who himself remained a member of the CDU until 1988, has repeatedly spoken positively about the ÖDP, for example in the run-up to the 2002 federal election . When Alt wrote an open letter to the then CDU general secretary Heiner Geißler on the occasion of his departure from the party, he recommended that his former party supporters read the basic program of the ÖDP.

The idea of ​​an ecological tax reform developed by the Swiss economist Hans Christoph Binswanger was taken up by the party. The party critic Hans Herbert von Arnim represented the ÖDP in its constitutional complaint against the reform of party financing.

relationship with other parties

The party founders of the ÖDP were also partly involved in the formation of the Greens. They left the party because they felt the Greens were too “leaning to the left” and accused them of “pink-red utopianism”, among other things. In addition, the ÖDP rejected the radical grassroots-democratic party structure of the Greens at the time (rotation of elected representatives, separation of office and mandate , etc.).

After the repositioning of the ÖDP from 1989, there were efforts within the party to merge with the Greens and Alliance 90 in the following year. At the municipal level, there were faction groups and joint lists with the Greens, as in 2004 in Zweibrücken and in the district of Biberach .

After the failed attempts at federal level to persuade the ÖDP to join forces with the Greens, the differences were increasingly emphasized. The ÖDP accused the Greens of “lazy compromises” when it came to phasing out nuclear power . The ÖDP also criticizes the fact that the Greens bow to the interests of business because they accept company donations. Programmatic differences between both parties exist in the legalization of drugs, in the abortion debate and in relation to the Lisbon Treaty .

In the middle of 2004 there were cooperation talks with the family party of Germany (FAMILIE). In the Saarland state elections in 2004 , ÖDP members ran on the lists of the family party, which achieved 3.0 percent. In the federal elections of 2005 , the ÖDP decided not to run in favor of the family party. In the state elections in Baden-Württemberg in 2006 and in Rhineland-Palatinate in 2006 , the family party gave up in favor of the ÖDP.


GAZ program

history and origin

The founding of the ÖDP goes back to Herbert Gruhl . In 1969 he moved into the Bundestag for the CDU and became environmental policy spokesman for his parliamentary group. In the early 1970s, he was the first member of the Bundestag to give a speech on the subject of the environment. In 1975 he gained greater notoriety with his book A Planet Is Destroyed - The Terrible Record of Our Politics . In the years that followed, the differences between him and the CDU grew, especially in environmental policy : he was the only opponent of nuclear energy in his parliamentary group and his goal of anchoring the topic of “environment” in the CDU program met with only minor opposition resonance in their own party.

On July 12, 1978 he finally left the party and parliamentary group. The following day he founded the Green Action Future (GAZ). He then read an open letter to the CDU chairman Helmut Kohl in the political magazine Report of Südwestfunk . In it he accused him of a lack of sensitivity to the survival of humanity and declared his withdrawal from the CDU. The GAZ, of which Gruhl became chairman, was the first nationwide party to focus on ecology . On March 17 and 18, 1979, on the occasion of the forthcoming European elections on June 10 of the same year in Frankfurt am Main , the GAZ participated in the formation of the joint electoral list of the Other Political Association (SPV)-The Greens . Gruhl and the later Green politician Petra Kelly were chosen as the top candidates. In the European elections, this association obtained 900,000 votes and 3.2%.

In 1980, GAZ participated in the founding of the Green Party , but formally retained its independence. However, with its conservative and post-material positions, it soon fell behind and lamented that the influence of politically far-left forces had become too strong. When at the party conference in Dortmund on 21./22. On June 1, 1980, when the left wing of the party finally gained the upper hand, GAZ withdrew from the party alliance.

She then formed with other environmental groups such as the Schleswig-Holstein Green List and the Bremen Green List , which the Greens also felt were too left-wing, the Green Federation , which was a loose association with the aim of founding a party and was later renamed the Ecological Federation would.

The time under Herbert Gruhl (1982–1989)

Party logo from 1982 to 1997

On January 23rd and 24th, 1982, the ecological-democratic party was founded by the ecological federation in Wiesbaden . The party congress also decided on the party's first basic programme. The first regional associations were founded in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg as early as October 1981 . At the first public federal party conference, which took place on March 6th and 7th in Bad Honnef , Gruhl was elected the first federal chairman. At the time of its founding, the ÖDP had around 1,750 members. In February 1987, the student organization of the ÖDP, Ecological-Democratic Students (ÖDS) later Ecological-Democratic Students (öds), was founded in Bonn , initially as a pure university group. The umbrella organization of the same name was founded at the Saarbrücken party conference in 1989.

In the first few years of its existence, the ÖDP was viewed critically by the political left and was accused of not being able to differentiate itself from right-wing forces. In this context, the ÖDP was often accused of eco-fascism . Gruhl was accused of moving more and more towards nationalistic ideas because, among other things, he believed that uncontrolled immigration would cause ecological problems. Gruhl himself denied having changed his positions since the founding of GAZ in 1978 and refused to allow a “directional dispute” to be imposed on him, for which “ammunition […] partly came from the Greens, but mostly from the ridiculous far left standing groups”. However, since most members of the ÖDP shared these accusations and carried them into the party, they passed a "basic resolution of the ÖDP on the differentiation from the right-wing parties", which, according to the minutes, was accepted "with a large majority" at the federal party conference in Saarbrücken in February 1989. The decision made a specific demarcation from the Republicans, NPD and DVU and was basically directed against the political occupation of topics such as "national consciousness", which Gruhl and some members saw as a rejection of Germany's reunification option. Herbert Gruhl resigned because of these events and because of personal differences. Hans-Joachim Ritter became the new federal chairman of the ÖDP .

The time under Hans-Joachim Ritter (1989–1993)

Hans-Joachim Ritter , federal chairman of the ÖDP from 1989 to 1993

Shortly after the federal elections in 1990 , Herbert Gruhl left the ÖDP, which for him was just a “Christian fundamentalist party”. A group of around 300 members also left the party and joined the newly founded Association of Independent Ecologists in Germany (UÖD) . In 1991 the incompatibility of simultaneous membership of UÖD and ÖDP was decided.

Under the new ÖDP chairman Hans-Joachim Ritter, a merger with the Greens and Alliance 90 was sought. While parts of Alliance 90 were open to the ÖDP, the "tripartite alliance" failed primarily because of the resistance of the West German Greens.

The youth organization Die Junge Ökologen (jö) was founded in Backnang on September 5, 1992 , after various youth initiatives close to the parent party had previously existed at regional level.

ÖDP logo from 1997 to 2007
ÖDP poster from 1999

Intra-party conflicts (1993–2000)

After Hans-Joachim Ritter had founded the ÖDP-related Foundation for Ecology and Democracy in 1992, of which he has been chairman ever since, he decided in 1993 to give up his position as ÖDP federal chairman in order to avoid conflicts of interest with his new job. His successor was Bernd Richter .

In the Bavarian state elections on September 25, 1994 , the ÖDP achieved its best state election result to date with 2.1%. After that, however, the party went into a downward trend and suffered losses in many elections. Outside of Bavaria, the ÖDP also lost many of its municipal mandates. While membership numbers increased in Bavaria in the 1990s, they declined in the other federal states. In addition, the federal presidency has changed frequently since 1993: in 1995 Richter was defeated in a contested vote by Hans Mangold , who was in turn replaced by Susanne Bachmaier in 1997 .

In 1997 a new logo was created, the abbreviation of the party was written in lower case and a new basic program was adopted.

In 1996 and 1997, the ÖDP in Bavaria successfully initiated the referendum “Lean State without Senate” . At the end of 1998, the number of members reached its all-time high of just under 7,200. In 1999, the ÖDP successfully sued the state constitutional court in North Rhine -Westphalia against the five-percent blocking clause in the municipal elections law, which was subsequently abolished without replacement.

Consolidation (2000–2004)

At the end of 2000, Uwe Dolata became the new federal chairman. In 2001, through its mobilization in Lower Bavaria (mainly in the form of citizens' petitions), the ÖDP caused E.ON to terminate the supply contracts with the nuclear power plant in Temelín in the Czech Republic .

At the ÖDP federal party conference on March 8th and 9th, 2003 in Coburg , there was a vote between federal chairman Uwe Dolata, who has been in office since 2000, and his deputy Klaus Buchner , which Buchner won with 120:68 votes. While Dolata advocated the ÖDP concentrating on Bavaria , Buchner advocated the continuation of the party's nationwide engagement. Dolata then belonged to the federal executive board for another year and a half as deputy federal chairman. On November 29 of the same year, the party alliance WEP was founded in Mainz on the initiative of the ÖDP , in which the ÖDP and its partner parties from other countries have been members ever since.

The ÖDP brought together against the adopted law on party financing, which stipulated that only parties that received more than one percent of the votes in at least three federal states would benefit from election financing and which would have come into force on January 1, 2005 with the constitutional lawyer and party critic Hans Herbert von Arnim , who represented and still represents the party in this legal dispute as a lawyer, an organ dispute before the Federal Constitutional Court , which the GRAY had joined. With the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of October 26, 2004, the application of the ÖDP was considered justified and the law was declared unconstitutional.

Development since 2004

ÖDP information stand at the beginning of 2006 in Karlsruhe-Durlach for the state elections in Baden-Württemberg

There were cooperation talks with the Family Party of Germany in view of the Saarland state elections in 2004 and the early federal elections in 2005 . The ÖDP and the Family Party filed a lawsuit against the federal elections in 2005 before the Federal Constitutional Court, since the deadline for collecting support signatures had been drastically shortened. The Federal Constitutional Court dismissed this lawsuit in August 2005. As part of the agreement, the Family Party waived its candidacy in the state elections in Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate on March 26, 2006 and supported the ÖDP. Cooperation between the ÖDP and the family party ended at federal level after the latter withdrew its resolutions for a merger at the end of 2006.

In the state elections in Saxony-Anhalt in 2006 , the ÖDP participated with the Animal Welfare Party , the GRAUEN and electoral communities in the Justice, Environment, Animal Welfare list . The alliance received 0.8% of the votes.

On March 27, 2008, the ÖDP filed a complaint against the EU Reform Treaty before the Federal Constitutional Court . According to Federal Chairman Buchner, "[the contract] contradicts our German Basic Law in many aspects . " By means of an interim order , the ÖDP had the Bavarian Youth Council prohibited from activating the Wahl-O-Mat for the state elections, since the ÖDP wanted to be taken into account. The Bayerischer Jugendring only provided for the consideration of parties that are already represented in the state parliament or that had achieved more than 3% in the last Sunday questions. Since, on the basis of the reasoning of the Munich Administrative Court , seven other small and very small parties could have forced participation, the Bavarian Youth Council decided not to publish the Wahl-O-Mats.

At the beginning of December 2009, the popular initiative "For real non-smoker protection!" initiated by the Bavarian ÖDP attracted around 1.3 million signatures (13.9%). Since the required 10% hurdle was cleared, a referendum on this issue was held on July 4, 2010, which was accepted with 61% of the votes and a turnout of 37.7%. Since May 2010, the old spelling ÖDP has been used again instead of ödp. In November 2010, Sebastian Frankenberger was elected Federal Chairman; he replaced Buchner, who had no longer run for reasons of age.

At the 48th federal party conference on November 15 and 16, 2014 in Erlangen, Sebastian Frankenberger was not re-elected as federal chairman. He lost in the first ballot against challenger Gabriela Schimmer-Göresz. Frankenberger announced his resignation in spring 2015 due to internal party quarrels and attacks; in the period that followed, three other members of the former Federal Executive Committee left the party.

Gabriela Schimmer-Göresz was confirmed as Chair in November 2016. For the 2017 federal election , the party put together a detailed national political program under the motto "People before profit". and competed in 13 federal states with a state list. In addition, 75 direct candidates were nominated. The party set up its own campaign website for the federal election, . Gabriela Schimmer-Göresz resigned as party leader at the end of 2017 for health reasons, after which Agnes Becker acted as acting leader until the next election. At the federal party conference on May 5, 2018, the previous treasurer Christoph Raabs was elected as the new federal chairman.

In 2018, the ÖDP in Bavaria initiated the referendum on biodiversity , which ended in February 2019 with the registration of 18.4% of those eligible to vote as the most successful of all previous referendums in Bavaria.

election results

Since the 1980s, the ÖDP has taken part in federal, state, European and local elections. The ÖDP achieved its best election results mainly in rural areas and medium-sized towns in southern Germany, but it has little anchoring in large cities. In contrast to the Greens, there is no urban-rural, but rather a rural-urban divide.

federal election results

In the federal elections of 1983 , the ÖDP ran with only one state list in Bavaria . Only in the federal elections of 1990 and 1994 could the ÖDP be elected in all federal states with a state list. In 1990, the ÖDP achieved its best ever federal election result with 0.44%. At the same time, this meant overcoming the 0.5% hurdle in the West constituency and thus the reimbursement of election campaign costs . From 1990 to 2002, the results of the ÖDP in federal elections were declining; the party did not compete in the 2005 federal elections in favor of the family party . The ÖDP ran in eight federal states for the 2009 federal elections . The number of votes was thus more than doubled to 132,249 compared to the last election participation at federal level in 2002 (56,898). It was able to roughly maintain this result in the 2013 federal election (127,088).

Results of the ÖDP in federal elections (1983 to 2017)
federal election results
year number of votes vote share
1983 11.028 0.0%
1987 109.152 0.3%
1990 205.206 0.4%
1994 183,715 0.4%
1998 98,257 0.2%
2002 56,898 0.1%
2005 n / A n / A
2009 132,249 0.3%
2013 127,088 0.3%
2017 144,809 0.3%
2021 112,314 0.2%

European election results

The ÖDP has contested the European elections since 1984 with a nationwide list. In the 1989 and 1994 European elections, the ÖDP cleared the 0.5% hurdle for reimbursement of campaign costs, which it did again in 2004 (0.6%) and 2009 (0.5%). In the 2014 European elections , she succeeded, aided by the fact that the blocking clause was lifted after a lawsuit, e.g. the ÖDP was declared void, with 0.6% entering the European Parliament , where she is currently represented by Manuela Ripa .

ÖDP results in European elections (1984 to 2019)
European election results
year number of votes vote share mandates
1984 77,026 0.3% 0
1989 184,309 0.7% 0
1994 273,776 0.8% 0
1999 100,048 0.4% 0
2004 145,537 0.6% 0
2009 134,893 0.5% 0
2014 185,244 0.6% 1
2019 370,006 1.0% 1

state election results

The ÖDP achieved its first notable result at state level in the 1988 state elections in Baden-Württemberg with 1.4%, which it was temporarily able to increase slightly. In 2011, the ÖDP in Baden-Württemberg achieved 0.9%, in 2016 it was 0.7%. In Bavaria , the ÖDP achieved its best result in 1994 with 2.1% and was then able to stabilize by 2 percent. In the last state election in the Free State on October 14, 2018, it reached 1.6%. In the other federal states, the ÖDP often did not take part in state elections or, since 2007, has only achieved results of less than 0.5%.

SH SH th th
1982 0.4 0.2
1986 0.7
1987 0.1 0.4 n / A
1988 1.4 0.1
1989 0.7
1990 1.7 0.3 n / A n / A 0.1 0.5 n / A n / A n / A n / A
1991 n / A n / A n / A 0.9
1992 1.9 n / A
1993 0.1
1994 2.1 0.1 n / A 0.1 0.2 n / A n / A 0.2
1995 0.3 n / A 0.2 0.3
1996 1.5 0.5 0.1
1997 0.0
1998 1.8 n / A 0.1 n / A
1999 n / A n / A n / A 0.1 0.3 n / A n / A
2000 0.0 n / A
2001 0.7 0.2 n / A 0.3
2002 n / A 0.1
2003 2.0 n / A 0.1 0.1
2004 n / A 0.1 n / A n / A 0.2
2005 0.2 n / A
2006 0.5 0.1 n / A 0.2 0.8
2007 n / A
2008 2.0 0.1 n / A 0.1
2009 n / A n / A n / A n / A n / A 0.4
2010 0.1
2011 0.9 0.1 n / A 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.2
2012 0.1 n / A n / A
2013 2.0 0.1 n / A
2014 n / A n / A n / A
2015 n / A 0.4
2016 0.7 0.0 n / A 0.4 n / A
2017 0.1 0.2 n / A n / A
2018 1.6 0.3
2019 0.6 n / A 0.3 0.4 1
2020 0.7
2021 0.8 0.1 0.1 0.7 0.1
Legend: na – didn't show up; orange – best election result (in the respective federal state); Election results in percent

1) In alliance with family .

local elections

ÖDP poster for the 2002 local election campaign

The ÖDP holds around 480 municipal mandates nationwide (as of June 2020). Therefore, the ÖDP describes itself in its self-portrayal as the "most successful non-extremist small party in Germany". Most of the mandates were obtained in Bavaria. Above the district level, the ÖDP is represented after the most recent elections in the district assemblies of Upper Bavaria , Lower Bavaria , Swabia and Middle Franconia as well as in the regional assembly of the Stuttgart Region Association.

Municipal mandates of the ÖDP (as of September 2020)
federal state ÖDP mandates ÖDP members
on other lists
mandates in large cities
Baden-Wuerttemberg 49 Regional representation in Stuttgart
Bavaria 388 32 Munich, Augsburg, Nuremberg, Regensburg, Würzburg, Ingolstadt, Erlangen
Hesse 4
Lower Saxony 2 3
North Rhine-Westphalia 11 0 Munster, Bottrop
Rhineland-Palatinate 28 5 Mainz
Saarland 0 2
Thuringia 7 2
total 485 48

In the 1990 local elections in Bavaria, the ÖDP received a number of mandates for the first time that exceeded individual local successes. Since 1996 it has been represented in the majority of rural districts and urban districts in Bavaria. The Lower Bavarian municipalities of Kößlarn and Niederalteich have had mayors for several years who were elected on the joint proposal of the ÖDP and a voters' association, but are not themselves members of the ÖDP. In 2008 , ÖDP members emerged victorious from the mayoral elections in the Bavarian communities of Burkardroth , Emskirchen and Pfreimd for the first time. In May of the same year, Urban Mangold (ÖDP) was elected second mayor of Passau . On March 30, 2014, Rolf Beuting (ÖDP/Bürgerforum Murnau) was elected first mayor of the Murnau a. Staffelsee and took office on May 1, 2014. On March 29, 2020, Rolf Beuting was re-elected in a run-off election and began his second term on May 1, 2020. The 2014 and 2020 elections were also successful for the party. In 2020, it achieved 2.6 percent of the votes and 141 seats nationwide at the level of district councils and urban districts.

In Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate , the ÖDP won several municipal mandates in 1989 and 1994. In 1999 some of these mandates were lost. With Denzlingen , she now has a mayor there. In the local elections of 1999, 2004 and 2009 in North Rhine-Westphalia , the ÖDP benefited from the abolition of the threshold clause and was able to increase the number of seats significantly. In Bottrop and Mainz , the ÖDP has since had its largest influx outside of southern Germany, plus seats in the independent city of Münster (1 seat) and in the cities of Lüdenscheid (1 seat), the municipality of Herscheid (1 seat) with 6.41% of the Voter votes, as well as Bad Driburg , where the ÖDP has entered the council for the sixth time with currently two mandates. In the other federal states, the ÖDP has so far only achieved a few municipal mandates, most of which could not be maintained over a longer period of time.

See also


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  • Volker Kempf: Herbert Gruhl - pioneer of environmental sociology. In the field of tension between scientific knowledge and political reality . Ares-Verlag , Graz 2008, 348 pages, ISBN 978-3-902475-47-3 .
  • Uwe Kranenpohl : Ecological Democratic Party (ödp). In: Frank Decker / Viola Neu (ed.) Handbook of the German parties. Publisher for Social Sciences, Wiesbaden 2007, pp. 351-357.
  • Uwe Kranenpohl: The "Christian Greens". Social structure and political attitudes of the members of the Ecological Democratic Party (ödp). In: Historical-Political Communications, vol. 15, 2008, pp. 47-61.
  • Raphael Mankau (ed.): 20 years ödp - Beginnings, present and perspectives of ecological-democratic politics . dolata verlag, Rimpar 1999, ISBN 3-344-70790-6 .
  • Andreas Schulze: Small parties in Germany. The Rise and Fall of Non-established Political Associations . Deutscher Universitätsverlag, Wiesbaden 2004. ISBN 3-8244-4558-1 (on the ÖDP p. 137 to 174)
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  • Jürgen Wüst: Conservatism and ecology movement. An investigation in the field of tension between party, movement and ideology using the example of the Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP) . IKO - Publishing House for Intercultural Communications, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-88939-275-X .

web links

Commons : Ecological Democratic Party  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Ecological Democratic Party  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
 Wikinews: Portal:ÖDP  – in the news


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