17 September 2011

Berlin Election Posters

For my political science readers out there, I've put together a short slide show of election poster photos I've taken recently (scroll down and click). These are for the upcoming Berlin state elections (Battle for the Rotes Rathaus). 

A few things I thought were interesting:
  • The top poster in the first photo is for current SPD mayor Klaus Wowereit. Though the SPD is a social democratic party, in Berlin it is in coalition with Die Linke ("The Left" party created from pieces of the old East German Socialist Unity Party), and this is Berlin which votes pretty strongly for left parties, they only have a small blob of red on their poster. The major colour is blue? I asked a German coworker (and a researcher for an SPD MP) about this. She explained "they chose blue because they want to look cool". Oddly, the centre-right CDU (bottom picture 3 and 5) use read for their letters, but stick to blue otherwise.

  • The second poster is for a Pirate Party candidate. I was a little confused about why Pirate party candidates would even run in a local election (they mostly care about federal-level internet regulation issues). 

  • The yellow top poster in picture 3 is for the (european-style) liberal FDP party. The main message of the poster is 'your government can do more for you than just give parking tickets'. This is an interesting appeal considering the discussion on the role of government in the US.

  • The bottom CDU poster in picture 3 is basically the Obama "Change" slogan. This is clearly an appeal to change the local government SPD-Die Linke coalition rather than Merkel's federal CDU-led government. However, I would imagine that state elections in Germany are just as much second-order elections as in other sub-national contests and the CDU will do just as badly as in other recent state elections.

  • Finally, I've always thought it was weird that US contests, which are supposed to be very candidate-centred, rarely feature campaign posters with the candidates photo, but many places where there is proportional representation and, supposedly less focus on candidates, most posters will have candidates' photos. 


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