The paper argues that without a broad elite consensus on democratic institutions and practices new democracies remain fragile. The paper will study if and how support for democracy in the general population is associated with the degree of elite consensus on democratic values and procedures across party lines.
This special issue of the journal German Politics, jointly edited by Thomas Poguntke (University of Düsseldorf) and Thomas Saalfeld (University of Bamberg) includes a number of articles on the outcome of the 2009 general election in Germany and analyses of voting behaviour in that election
This contribution examines how links between citizens and Members of the Bundestag have evolved since 1949. The focus will be on institutional incentives relating to the electoral system and the rules of procedure in the Bundestag. In addition, new incentives arising from technological developments (especially internet and Web 2.0 applications) will be explored in their effect on individual parliamentary behaviour vis-a-vis citizens and in the Bundestag’s ‘corporate’ links (i.e., links not based on electoral incentives in the constituencies and the chamber) with citizens. In particular, the development of petitions and electronic petitions will be assessed. While the evidence presented suggests that Bundestag Members have enhanced communication with citizens, this has not halted the decline in popular support for the House. In line with other advanced liberal democracies, trust in parliament is declining as a result of a more critical, less deferential citizenry.