Political center

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The political center is a point of view in the political spectrum that should lie between “ left ” and “ right ”. Where exactly this “middle” is located and by which positions it is characterized, however, is controversial; The use of the expression is correspondingly diffuse.

In the overall political spectrum, the democratic parties see themselves as part of the middle between extreme left and extreme right ideologies . Within the democratic spectrum again, it is obvious that one (in Germany between the major mainstream conservatism and social democracy , represented by the political parties CDU / CSU and SPD to be considered) settled position as a political center.


After the Second World War, the new and re-established parties tried to address broader strata of the population and orientate themselves towards the political center. The so-called people's parties emerged. According to the classic definition, the CDU / CSU, the moderate right-wing people's party as an interdenominational gathering movement, has always claimed the position of the political center. At the Godesberg party congress of the SPD in 1959, the party's change from a socialist workers' party to a people's party was expressed.

Since the left-right scale has become increasingly inadequate and out of fashion in recent times and the right-wing attribute in particular is seen as a stigma by many , democratic parties, especially in Germany, tend to claim the political center for themselves and others as left or right to the right of it. This applies above all to the large popular parties and is reinforced there by the claim to address as large a part of the population as possible, whereby the political center also has the connotation of the “center of society”.

In 1972, Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt used the term Neue Mitte for the first time at the SPD's election convention in Dortmund. This orientation took place against the background of a steadily decreasing proportion of workers in the population from 55 percent (1959) to 27 (1972). Against the traditionalists in the SPD, who wanted to profile the SPD as a workers' party, Brandt sought to open the SPD to a party of the "new center". On the one hand, the word was intended to describe the social-liberal government policy; on the other hand, the term represented a concept for the integration of the student movement.

In his first government declaration in 1982 and in almost all other government declarations, Helmut Kohl described the government alliance of the CDU, CSU and FDP as a “coalition of the middle”. The aim of this formulation was to create a clear political definition of the coalition's position and, with regard to the electorate, to claim the representation of the middle class as a particular concern of the government.

Based on Tony Blair's New Labor or Bill Clinton's New Democrats, the SPD re-established the catchphrase New Center in the 1998 federal election campaign. In 1999 published the so-called Schröder-Blair paper were by Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder under the slogan "New Center" in the context of Thatcherism and the Kohl era and with reference to the structuration of Anthony Giddens new social democratic positions and visions of a third way between formulated by neoliberal capitalism and classical social democracy. Giddens sees an activating welfare state as a central element of the new social democracy . For the individual citizen, this means increasing individualization and thus an increase in obligations.

In 2001, Franz Müntefering (SPD) initiated another discussion about the position of the SPD in the German political party structure: "The center is where the left-wing People's Party is."

In the “Bremen Draft” for a new basic program in January 2007, the SPD was defined as a “party of solidarity center”; in the Hamburg program adopted in 2007, the SPD describes itself as the “left people's party”.

The former SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel does not want the center to be understood as a “fixed place” based on income groups, occupational groups or political attitudes, but as a “place of interpretation of society”. With the “right questions” and the “right answers”, the SPD must assert the middle in order to gain the power of interpretation.

Other countries

In the parliaments of countries with a more polarized spectrum of parties - in which the popular parties also clearly define themselves as left or right - there are often parties with a “centrist” program that expressly define themselves through their middle position. These include the French Mouvement démocrate (MoDem), the Italian Italia Viva (IV) and the Spanish Unión Progreso y Democracia (UPyD). There are also numerous center parties in the Nordic countries (such as the Finnish Suomen Keskusta , the Swedish Centerpartiet and the Norwegian Senterpartiet ), most of which stem from agrarian parties. Furthermore, many minority parties are centrist because they want to integrate both left and right members of an ethnic minority.

At the international level, these center parties mostly belong to the Liberal International and the liberal European party ALDE , without, however, clearly representing liberal positions. Nevertheless, liberal parties can also describe themselves as centrist. There is also a European Democratic Party (EDP), which is dominated primarily by the French MoDem and which expressly sees itself as centrist. ALDE and EDP work together in the European Parliament in the ALDE group .

See also


supporting documents

  1. ^ Rudolf Walther: Die neue Mitte (For Willy Brandt's 90th birthday) Friday , December 19, 2003, accessed on March 11, 2012
  2. Georg Stötzel, Thorsten Eitz, Astrid Jahresling-Marienfeld, Lea Plate: Dictionary of contemporary German contemporary language: keywords and orientation vocabulary, editors: Georg Stötzel, Thorsten Eitz, Astrid Jahresling-Marienfeld, Lea Plate, Georg Olms Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3- 487-11759-2 , ISBN 978-3-487-11759-1 , p. 262 ( online in the Google book search)
  3. Klaus Stüwe: The Chancellor's Speech. Government statements from Adenauer to Schröder, VS Verlag, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14506-1
  4. ^ SPD - election program from 1998. Innovation and social justice
  5. Franz Müntefering, Why there is no longer any space for the CDU in the middle, in: Frankfurter Rundschau of February 5, 2001.
  6. Tobias Dürr: The Left after the Pull of the Middle - On the program debates of the SPD, Greens and PDS in the Schröder era , bpb.de, accessed on October 18, 2009
  7. ^ "Bremen Draft" for a new basic program of the Social Democratic Party of Germany ( Memento from January 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 494 kB)
  8. Hamburg program. Basic program of the Social Democratic Party of Germany ( Memento of the original from December 26, 2008 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / parteitag.spd.de
  9. ^ Sigmar Gabriel new federal chairman - Together for the departure of the SPD local association Bad Krozingen - Hartheim on November 16, 2009