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.