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Comparison of the current situation of parties
In the following work, the comparison between the Spanish Socialist Workers Party and the German Social Democratic Party and its tendency or not to the political center throughout its historical tour will be treated. These parties belong to the family of socialist or social democrats, so both originate in the workers’ parties, which advocated the collective property of the means of production and were internationalists. At present, they are supporters of a mixed economy and the acceptance of the principles of liberal democracy.
Research Question: Hypothesis
Why the change of perspective of the German and Spanish socialist parties towards the center?
Hypothesis: A trend can be seen in the most representative socialist parties of the European Union to the political center, which occurs for the maintenance of its high position in the party system.
Historical evolution of the PSOE
The Spanish Socialist Workers Party is one of the first socialist parties that were founded in Europe, exactly in 1879, clandestinely by intellectuals and workers headed by Pablo Iglesias Possé. During the following 100 years a party of the working class, socialist and Marxist will be considered, until 1979, when in the extraordinary congress will abandon Marxism as an ideological definition. In the beginning, its main claims were the emancipation of workers, the establishment of social property and the possession of political power by the working class. Today, the PSOE is visualized as a center -left party in the political spectrum. The ideological basis of the PSOE is established from 4 ideas:
- State model: the PSOE was in favor of a centralist state model, which will leave to adopt a more federalist position in the transition. In the 1974 Congress of 1974, the representatives of the party (Felipe González and Alfonso Guerra) will defend the right of self-determination of the peoples of the Spanish State. Currently an asymmetric federalism is chosen. Also, from the transition, the PSOE adopts a more Europeanist position, which was key to the modernization of the country.
- Economic Policy: The PSOE was founded with the purpose of defending and representing the rights and interests of the working class. In its origins, the Marxist political and philosophical current was committed, with the aim of establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat as a transition period to obtain socialist society. In 1979, Marxist ideas will be abandoned, which will lead to a separation of a part of the party that will join the PCE or an alternative to the PSOE (Popular Socialist Party of Tierno Galván). From the years of the government of Felipe González, which will be when this split arises, the PSOE will adopt more and more centrist measures, becoming more a social democratic party than socialist as in its origins.
- Social policy: the PSOE advocates a secular state since the 80s, in addition to being in favor of abortion in assumptions of danger to the mother, fetal malformation or rape and homosexual marriage. In addition, there was a strong boost to pensions, social security, public health, justice, education … to be accessible to all and the best possible quality.
- State form: The PSOE is defined as a Republican, despite the support they provided to the monarchy after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco in 1978 and also opposed the celebration of a referendum after the abdication of King Juan Carlos I.
SPD Historical Revolution
The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) was born in the Götha Congress in 1875 as a Marxist inspirational political party with the conception of conceiving the State as an instrument to boost social reforms. This contraction generated numerous disputes, ending with the splitting of a part of the party to form the German Communist Party. Little by little, the SPD was developed until it became a social democratic party. Currently occupies the center -left position in German political reality and defends the supremacy of the economy policy. The SPD, like the PSOE, is established on 4 fundamental ideas:
- social justice.
- Strengthening of the social market economy and the fair distribution of its benefits to improve well -being the total population. To maintain a strong welfare state in the future, the SPD bets on a balanced fiscal policy that does not harm future generations.
- Social policy: defends an extension of civil rights, an opening of society and a promotion of citizens’ political participation.
- Foreign policy: seeks to strengthen peace in the world through a balance of interests. In addition, he is in favor of influencing the development of globalization through democratic policy. The SPD defends an intensification of European integration and also the expansion of the EU.
Comparison between parties and hypothesis contrast
It can be seen that both parties arose at the same time, so it can be thought that their origin is an response to workers’ needs after the industrial revolution. Both were born with a Marxist ideology to face the inequalities of the time more radically, but little by little it was reduced until it was eliminated from the ideology of the parties. To continue adding similarities between them, we can see that, the more power they were taking both games, the more they were moderating their position, which is linked to the reduction of Marxist dyes.
In the previous surveys the ideology of the PSOE voters (in the first compared to the rest of the matches) has been collected). In the first one you can see how the vote has been focusing on more center positions, despite the fact that a voter sector is still on the left. In the Spanish case, this may be due to the emergence of Podemos in 2014, which ended up representing more the interests of the Spaniards more located on the left, leaving the PSOE in a position of a very moderate left. Due to this decrease in the number of votes, the PSOE was more adjusted to the center voters, who had no party with which to be able to clearly identify. In the second graph, you can see the change in the ideological position of voters a few months apart (January, April and July 2015). Among those months, we can see that the variation is not very significant, but in July (last month that appears), the PSOE seems to have gained a percentage of votes by the left, but the highest percentage of votes is still located aroundof 4, more moderate position of the center -left sector.
In the German case, if we observe the data collected in 1999-2014 Chapel HILL EXPERT SURVEY (CHES) we can see that the SPD remains in very neutral positions in most aspects, establishing around 4 in those data whose range isFrom 1 to 10, being much of them more central than those related to the PSOE. This can be taken out that the SPD tends even more than the center than the PSOE. This is due to the fact that the problem in Germany is that most matches can be considered relatively center, with dyes to the left or right according to the case. Currently in Germany citizens do not seek a change to improve the situation but, rather, a maintenance of the stability that occurs in the country.
In the Spanish case we can see that, in politically controversial times, the PSOE has chosen to seek the vote of the neutral citizen, avoiding the confrontation of positions such as secondary the ideas of Podemos, of the Popular Party or Citizens. They try to establish options that are a way to intermediate between the parties, a link to achieve political stability in the country. On the contrary, in Germany we do not find these types of problems, but with a different reality: citizens become the comfort that the country offers today, so they intend to maintain social well -being.
In this way, the PSOE and the SPD try to content the silent majority of the country and, thus, maintain its position within the current party system, since, if you opt for a little more position to the left or to the rightThey would lose a lot of votes. In the Spanish case, the further wing of the PSOE ended up opting to give a vote of confidence to Pode. If the PSOE went to opt for a more liberal aspect, it would collide with citizens. If that happened, the PSOE would lose the favorable position that has had in the Spanish political system since the transition. The same would not happen to the SPD. By around almost all current matches through the center, it would not be so much the problem of colliding with another as the loss of faithful voters. The SPD has been and is one of the strongest parties in Germany, so, if they gave an abrupt change in their policies, faithful voters would feel disappointed with the party and seek another one more consistent with them and, therefore, they would lose theposition they have always maintained in the German party system.
In conclusion, we can see, through the different positions that the matches have been taking in recent years, that both the PSOE and the SPD have been focusing politically, each according to the needs of the country. We can verify the hypothesis, then, with the purpose of not losing its position in the respective party system of each country, the SPD and the PSOE have been focusing their positions and, thus, capture the vote of average citizen.