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Facts and Findings

Christian democrats in crisis?

Status and perspectives of Europe‘s Christian democratic parties

From the 1980s onwards, Christian democratic parties began to decline. While some parties came down rather steeply, others went through a succession of ups and downs. However, Christian democratic parties are still widely spread. They exist in 25 European countries. When this study was concluded, they formed part of the government in twelve of these countries, and in five, they furnished the head of the government. Contrary to the general trend in this family of parties, some Christian democratic parties were able to effect a recovery, albeit to a widely varying extent. The climbers were successful because they laid greater stress on subjects like internal security and migration control, liberal positions, new candidates, and personalised campaigns. On the other hand, concentrating on the imagination of groups holding conservative values is of no avail because the groups that once formed faithful reservoirs of Christian democratic voters are now dying out. Having several wings and using these to mobilise different milieus is helpful to a Christian democratic party. Especially in times of growing societal pluralisation, this is crucial for a party to remain successful or become successful again.

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The study by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung examines the reasons for these fluctuations and the current electoral successes of Christian Democrats. It shows that the upstarts owe their successes more to conservative and liberal viewpoints or a combination thereof. The study's recommendation to all Christian Democrats is not to get bogged down in wing discussions. Those who have wings should also use them to influence many social milieus. Especially in times of growing pluralisation, this is a prerequisite for remaining successful or becoming successful again.


You can download the entire publication as a pdf.

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Dr. habil. Karsten Grabow

Dr. habil

Policy Advisor for Asia and Pacific (Political Dialogue, Media Programme, Rule of Law Programme, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia) +49 30 26996-3246 +49 30 26996-53246


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About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


Dr. Kristin Wesemann


Head of Strategy and Planning +49 30 26996-3803

Sophie Steybe

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