Spatial Realignment of German Voters and Germany’s Regional Cleavage

The Case of the Green Party in the 2019 European Elections


  • Ilia Viatkin Higher School of Economics



European Parliament Elections, German Party System, Green Party, Regional Cleavage, Voters' Realignment


This article seeks to explain the increase in the German Green party votes in 2019 European elections through the East-West cleavage. Using the 2018 German General Social Survey data, it identifies and compares the Green Party electorate in both regions in terms of conventional and supposed determinants of Green voting. Results of the multivariate analysis equally support both models, indicating left-wing voters as the main source of the Greens’ electoral gains across Germany. However, while in the East the Greens were supported primarily by the electorate of the Social Democratic party dissatisfied with the activity of this party, Western Germans exhibited a trend of left-leaning voters’ backlash against the rise of the radical right party Alternative for Germany through Green voting. This realignment is explicated by the persistent specifics of German regional party politics combined with intrinsic value distinctions of their dwellers, and recent shifts in party-voters ties.

Author Biography

Ilia Viatkin, Higher School of Economics

Born in Russia in 2000, Ilia Viatkin is an undergraduate student in Political Science and World Politics with a minor in Data Science at the Higher School of Economics (Saint Petersburg), having undertaken a study stay at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. He participates in a research project that examines German political parties’ behavior in municipal elections, and interns with another project studying the models of Russia, the EU and China’s leadership in Greater Eurasia. His research interests are centered around European party politics, EU-Russia relations, and neoliberalism in authoritarian regimes.


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How to Cite

Viatkin, Ilia. 2020. “Spatial Realignment of German Voters and Germany’s Regional Cleavage: The Case of the Green Party in the 2019 European Elections”. Politikon: The IAPSS Journal of Political Science 45 (June). Online:31-58.



Research articles