After 16 years of Angela Merkel as the political head and face of Germany, the country will elect a new Federal Chancellor:ette on Sep 26.

What, then, might be noteworthy about this, and German elections in general?

For one thing, Germany is a multi-party democracy. Even though the multi was not always as multi as they come.

When I grew up in the 70s, there were only 3 varieties of chocolate, 3 TV stations, and 3 major political parties:

  • CDU/CSU aka “Christian Democratic/Social Union” – think Conservatives, Republicans or Tories
  • SPD aka “Social Democrats” – think Democrats or Labour
  • FDP aka “Free Democratic Party” – think Liberals (not Libertarians).

The world was very clear-cut and minimalistic, a true ADHD paradise (or maybe ADHD did not even exist back then, just because of that).

Election poster FDP

The fate of many an election poster

In the early 80s the Green Party hopped on the political stage, and ever since that decade, things went fractal (as in most Western countries): Enter postmodernity, aka the diversification of literally everything.

Not only do we now have about 3478 varieties of chocolate and TV stations but also a plethora of political parties. Some of which are really a curious bunch, as you will see.

[Let it be said that even if this is a rather light take on politics, I know that I am super privileged to have such a huge choice of parties to vote for. And I really do not understand Germans who seriously allege that we live in a dictatorship. This is a slap in the face for all people who really have to live in a dictatorship, with just one party ruling the complete political agenda and oppressing any kind of opposition.]

Now I have no idea whether other countries boast a similar mushrooming of parties. But we do, so enjoy a glimpse of the German Cabinet of Curiosities.

First up:

The Anarchist Pogo Party (APPD). Yep, you read that right. Founded by a group of punks in 1981 in Germany’s punk capital Hanover, they wanted to reward ppl who voted for them with free beer. The idea is still rampant: Quite recently in the federal state of Thuringia, people who got their Covid jab were rewarded with bratwurst as an incentive (non-ironically this time, though). Seems that we can be quite easily bribed with beer & bratwurst, so in case you ever need to convince a German, you know what to do.

On the Pogo Party’s political agenda was, among others, the right to be unemployed while getting a full salary, drug legalization, and the shift from old age pension to youth pension. Weirdly enough they never provided a Federal Chancellor.

Then there is the party called The Party (PPPeter, this one’s for you). As Volkswagen proclaims to be The Car and the German national railway to be The Railway, logic implies that there also must be The Party.

It was founded by editor in chief Martin Sonneborn of The Titanic, a satirical magazine like The Onion.

So The Party is basically the Weird Al Yankovic of parties, and so many ppl got sick of the real satire of the non-satirical parties that they voted The Party party into the European Parliament. Where they gained a reputation for their activism, which mostly debunks the established parties’ BS. They do have a “real” agenda, though, which resembles the Green Party’s in most ways.

Election poster Onion style

The question is not “What can I do for the environment?” but “What can the environment do for the economy?” (pseudo-quote of the Liberals)

Election poster of The Party

Three satirical election posters of The Party, this one about the Wirecard scandal

Satirical election poster

“Intensive mass animal farming is just green propaganda!” (pseudo-quote of the Conservatives)

Fast forward to 2021. Proudly presenting our ballot paper:

Ballot Paper Election 2021
Party people
Full ballot paper for one federal state

In a federal election we have two votes. The first one is for local candidates, the second one for the federal party, the latter counting for the election of the Federal Chancellor:ette.

Depending on the federal state, we have a different number of parties to vote for, as not every party is present in every federal state. But as you can see from the length of the paper, it’s a balLOT.

Lest you be confused by so much party-ing, there is the Wahl-O-Mat®, a vote-o-matic website for those wondering who on earth they should vote for. You just judge 38 statements from all areas of life and society, and depending on your answers you get a ranking of the parties who most correspond to your values and thinking.


There should be a general speed limit on all autobahns – yes, neutral, no

So here is a (small) choice of what we get to vote for:

The V-Party3, the 3 Vs standing for change (Veränderung), vegetarians, and vegans. Not surprisingly, plant-based food is one of their main topics, besides things like lowering the voting age to 15 years (which the conservative parties want to avoid at all costs, as most under age teenagers would vote for the Green Party)

The Independents support neutral candidates that are not part of a party (the party for non-party ppl so to speak). Their core postulation is that citizens should participate more by way of referendums, petitions, etc. so that “we, the people” have a veto right against decisions of “we, the parliament”

Humane World, a party which was founded by yoga monk Dada Madhuvidyananda (aka slightly more prosaically named Michael Moritz) and is based on the Progressive Utilization Theory, connecting a holistic-spiritual conduct of life with decentralized, ecological welfare economics

The Pirates, boarding digital change more than any other party around

The Party for Health Research which has just one agenda, namely a much more extensive research on all old-age related sicknesses (Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, etc.), arguing that more and more people will be old and older, which sounds legit

Third parties
Election poster Free Voters

Election poster message reduced to the most minimal possibility

Humanist and Animal Protection Party

The Animal Protection Alliance – their name is self-explanatory, as is the name of

The Lobbyists for Children. One of their central demands is that children should be considered preferentially in any political decision

The Humanists, who proclaim to be “rational in action, liberal at heart, progressive in thinking”, i.e. they want politics to be facts-driven, free of any religion, ideology or dogma

The Grey Ones, mostly senior citizens who want more participation in political decisions and social justice

The Garden Party, founded by garden plot holders against construction plans which would have destroyed their garden plots (just wishing they had chosen a more creative name, like the Rent Is Too Damn High Party in the US); they are “dark green”, agenda-wise, i.e. driven by strong ecological goals

LOVE – The European Party, a pro-EU crew that promotes love as the foundation of society

– parties of the extreme right and left from Neo Nazis to Communists/Marxist-Leninists/Trotzkists

aaaand many others.

The HipHop party

Last but not least my new favorite:

you. The Urbana. A HipHop Party. The origin of the parliamental-to-be HipHoppers is Berlin (of course). They embrace the values of the early US HipHop movement and act against racism, antisemitism, and any form of discrimination, fighting for People of Color to be more represented in parliament and being all about diversity and inclusion.

It remains to be seen, then, what kind of parties will be born in the years to come. Here are a few ideas for future founders:

– The Shanty Choir Party

– The Vegan Bowl Suckling Pig Social Union

– Liberals in Labor

– The Prancing Pony Progressives

– The Wedding Party

– CAPOI! (Corrupt And Proud Of It!)

– VoldeSauron – The Thrash Metal Democrats

On a serious note, I love how diverse our political party spectrum is. At the same time, if it becomes too fractal, it will lose direction. Setting up a government with 13 smallish parties might prove quite a challenge, as they will probably never ever manage to agree on a single issue.

So how is the party landscape in your country? Any political unioncorns? Let me know in the comments!