Event Reports

Final Workshop of the 7th Batch of the Konrad Adenauer School for Young Politicians (KASYP) in Germany

by Dr. Frederick Kliem

Modern Election Campaigning in Times of Populism

“Even in the digital age, door-to-door campaigning and local canvassing remain as important as ever – perhaps more than ever.” Those remarks by Connect 17 representatives, a CDU election campaign project, were among the most important take-aways for the 7th batch of the Konrad-Adenauer-School of Politicians (KASYP) during their final workshop in Germany, bringing home the still important personal engagement and localism of national politics.

The Regional Programme Political Dialogue Asia brought 18 young political leaders from eight Asian countries to Germany. From 10 to 16 September 2017, the “KASYP-ers” experienced German election campaigning in Berlin, Erfurt, and Jena. The final workshop of their two-year training programme provided young, future political leaders of the Asian region the opportunity to come together with a diverse group of German dialogue partners from the political and media community as well as civil society. The aim was to share experiences and best practices with regards to modern party politics and campaigning, especially in times of social media and digitalisation. With their field trip right before the national election this year, the KASYP group experienced German campaigning first-hand. In addition to their on-the-ground experience, the 7th batch of KASYP-ers also learned the theoretical details in a number of talks, lectures, and site visits.

The training kicked-off with a thorough introduction to German politics and its party and electoral system, the Social Market Economy concept as well as the use of social media in German election campaigning. Participants met with appropriate experts, such as Dr. Karsten Grabow of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, and got the chance to enjoy a guided tour through the German parliament and committee buildings by Ms Eva Majewski of the CDU. Here the KASYP-ers also got the opportunity to lunch with six staff members of different German MPs in order to discuss German politics and their busy work schedules in the run-up to the elections.

Certainly one of the highlights of the Berlin part of the programme was a visit to the so-called #fedidwgugl Haus. The in Germany infamous hashtag is an acronym for the CDU campaign slogan: ‘Für ein Deutschland In Dem Wir Gut und Gerne Leben’ (‘For a Germany in which we can live well and gladly’) and stood name for a walk-in center, where themed rooms bring the CDU manifesto to life. Participants also thoroughly enjoyed a very engaging presentation by Danny Freymark MdL, member of the Berlin state parliament, on his role, his use of social media and his constituency work. Great interest aroused a presentation by two developers of the CDU campaign app for MPs and their associates, Connect 17. Among other helpful support, it allows more specific targeting in door-to-door canvassing, relying on specific social and statistical local data.

During the second part of their training, participants experienced the local political scene in Erfurt and Jena in the German state of Thuringia. KASYP-ers met state and city level political stakeholders, such as politicians, public service providers, and media representatives to discuss politics and public organisation on the local level. The group was taken great care of by long-standing programme partner Dr. Mario Voigt MdL, member of the Thuringian state parliament. Dr. Voigt gave the group the chance to enjoy political meetings with the President of Thuringian Parliament, Christian Carius MdL, the CDU Councillor Guntram Wothly, and the young Major of the town of Bürgel, Johann Waschnewski. At the height of campaigning to keep his seat at the national parliament, the Bundestag, Albert Weiler MdB took time off his busy schedule to introduce his strategies to be successful.

We congratulate our participants! Through hard work, an open and sharp mind, and most of all a great passion for politics, they successfully completed the 7th KASYP training programme and will become active members of the KASYP Alumni network. We are looking forward to follow their career progression and wish them all the best for the great things lying ahead.

We would like to thank all our speakers for their time and their valuable input and for making this programme as successful as it is. We are already looking forward to the Germany workshop 2018.

For more details about KASYP under www.kasyp.net and please be sure to stay connected on facebook.com/KAS.PDA