New article on the issue strategies of political parties during the 2021 German federal elections

A new article by Katja Demler has just been published in Zeitschrift für Parlamentsfragen. In the article, the author investigates the political parties’ handling of COVID-19 in their manifestos for the German federal elections 2021. The Corona pandemic and its consequences, which had a significant impact on social, political, ecological, and economic life over the past two years, was also said to have a significant impact on the 2021 federal elections.

Based on theoretical assumptions of saliency theory, issue ownership theory and issue framing, Demler examines the issue competition strategies of political parties represented in the German Bundestag during the 19th legislative period regarding the Corona pandemic. For this purpose, she analyzes their programmatic space for the Bundestag elections in 2021 by means of content- and frequency-analytical methods, focusing in particular on examining party-specific differences and commonalities with regard to issue strategies.

The analysis shows that the Corona pandemic as a valence-issue was given great importance in the party platforms. Here, it is evident that the established parties prioritize emphases on Corona issues in areas of their own Issue Ownership. Finally, the results also show that the Corona crisis is apparently not only to be understood as a valence issue, but also as a positional issue – an aspect that future work could take up and examine in more detail.

Katja Demler