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Germany

Most Political Parties Lost Members in 2004

With the exception of the Greens, all German political parties represented in the German parliament, the Bundestag, suffered defections by party members in 2004. The Social Democrats (SPD) had by far the most serious problem with the overall hemorrhaging, losing 44,000 card-carrying members this year. Many of the SPD desertions were due to the internal party strife around the controversial new welfare and labor market reforms. The conservatives, however, also watched their member rolls shrink. Despite stepped-up efforts to attract new members, by the end of October the Christian Democrats (CDU) lost around 5,000. It sister party, the Bavarian CSU, also saw 4,000 of its members say good-bye. The trend toward shrinkage apparent for several years with the Party of Democratic Socialism, or PDS, continued unabated. The former communists lost some 4,000 in 2004. The Free Democrats, of FDP, also got smaller by about 700. Only the Green Party was able to grow in 2004, adding 160 to their rolls.

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