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#partypeople?! Engaging young people in political parties

Report presented by Polis180 and Hertie School students.

Although over 40 percent of German citizens under the age of 25 are interested in politics, political party participation is stagnating at very low levels. Only 8 percent of party members are under the age of 30. Thinktank Polis180, together with Hertie School students and party representatives, came together in a workshop recently to explore the reasons as to why and develop recommendations for political parties in Germany.

A summary of the report is now available for download.

Party image is a problem. Party reputation among young people is much worse than in practice, and too little has been done to change these perceptions. Young people’s initial contact with parties is often disappointing; the process of becoming a party member is confusing and slow. Despite attempts by parties, they have yet to find answers in these three areas: the mobility among young people compared to the static, location-based nature of party membership; digital communication and participation opportunities are lagging behind young people’s lifestyle; the desire to engage on specific issues, but on temporary terms is an issue parties have yet to rectify.

The report offers a series of concrete proposals to tackle these problems. For example, familiarity and interaction with parties could be better achieved through a “Join-O-Mat” online platform. A simple app could bring interested parties with similar party members in their proximity in contact. Or a temporary "federal membership" instead of the connection to a local association could help highly mobile people during their education, studies or otherwise.

"Mobility, digitalisation and new participation needs are the key areas where political parties could improve. In turn, however, we also need more perseverance among younger people. You can’t change everything overnight,” summed up Julian Zuber, Polis180 board member and author of the report.

A summary of the report is now available for download. A presentation and discussion of the report took place at the Hertie School on 27 April. The report was presented by Julian Zuber (Polis180) and Dinah Schmechel (Hertie School student). Henning Otte (member representative of the CDU) gave the keynote address, followed by a fishbowl discussion with Klaus Hurrelmann (Hertie School), Emily Büning (BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN), Hanno Burmester (Das Progressive Zentrum), Frank Niebuhr (CDU), und Dinah Schmechel. More information:

Downloads and links