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CDU, CSU and SPD lose thousands of members

Louisa Wright with dpa
February 26, 2019

Germany's ruling coalition parties, the CDU, CSU and SPD, lost thousands of members in the last year, a survey found. In contrast, the Free Democratic Party, Greens and far-right Alternative for Germany gained members.

Christian Democratic Union leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and Christian Social Union leader Markus Söder
Image: Getty Images/AFP/J. Macdougall

The political parties making up Germany's coalition government have each lost thousands of party members over the past year, according to a survey conducted by the German Press Agency.

The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) — formerly headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and now led by Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer  — was worst hit with a loss of 11,000 members since the start of 2018. Its membership now stands at 415,000.

Membership of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the CDU's sister party in the southern state of Bavaria, fell from 141,400 at the beginning of 2018 to 139,000.

Read more: Germany's political parties CDU, CSU, SPD, AfD, FDP, Left party, Greens - what you need to know

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) also experienced a loss, with membership falling from 443,000 to just under 438,000.

Since the early 1990s, the CDU, CSU and SPD have seen their membership fall by about half. In 1990 the SPD had 943,000 members and the CDU and CSU together had more than 975,000 members.

Far left and right parties gain members

Other major political parties experienced either no major loss of members, or an increase.

On Monday, Greens politician Michael Kellner told German newspaper Die Welt that the Green party had gained 10,246 new members to bring its total up to 75,311.

The Free Democratic Party gained just under 1,000 members, bringing its total almost 64,000.

The Left party numbers remained about the same, with 62,000 members.

The far-right Alternative for Germany party also gained about 1,000 members, bringing its total to 33,615.

Read more: AfD in the Bundestag: Can Germany learn from Scandinavia's far-right problem?


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