2021 Rhineland-Palatinate State Election
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2021 Rhineland-Palatinate State Election
2021 Rhineland-Palatinate state election

← 2016 14 March 2021

All 101 seats in the Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate
51 seats needed for a majority
Turnout1,957,990 (64.4%)
Decrease 6.0%
  First party Second party Third party
  WLP RLP 9648 Malu Dreyer.jpg 2016-12-06 Christian Baldauf CDU Parteitag by Olaf Kosinsky-8.jpg 2016-11-17 - Anne Spiegel - 0545.jpg
Candidate Malu Dreyer Christian Baldauf Anne Spiegel
Party SPD CDU Green
Leader's seat Trier Frankenthal List
Last election 39 seats, 36.2% 35 seats, 31.8% 6 seats, 5.3%
Seats won 39 31 10
Seat change Steady Decrease 4 Increase 4
Popular vote 690,962 535,318 179,860
Percentage 35.7% 27.7% 9.3%
Swing Decrease 0.5% Decrease 4.1% Increase 4.0%

  Fourth party Fifth party Sixth party
  2016-11-17 - Michael Frisch - 0210.jpg 2016-11-17 - Daniela Schmitt - 0341.jpg
Candidate Michael Frisch Daniela Schmitt Joachim Streit
Party AfD FDP FW
Leader's seat List List List
Last election 14 seats, 12.6% 7 seats, 6.2% 0 seats, 2.2%
Seats won 9 6 6
Seat change Decrease 5 Decrease 1 Increase 6
Popular vote 160,293 106,809 103,619
Percentage 8.3% 5.5% 5.4%
Swing Decrease 4.3% Decrease 0.7% Increase 3.2%

Winners of each constituency as of 00:45 CET.
Winning candidates in the single-member constituencies, with list seats shown in the top right.

Minister-President and Government before election

Malu Dreyer (SPD)
SPD-FDP-Green

Elected Minister-President and Government

Malu Dreyer (SPD)
SPD-Green-FDP

The 2021 Rhineland-Palatinate state election was held on 14 March 2021 to elect the 18th Landtag of Rhineland-Palatinate.[1] The outgoing government was a "traffic light coalition" of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), and The Greens led by Minister-President Malu Dreyer.

The SPD won an unexpectedly clear plurality of 35.7% of votes cast, less than one percentage point lower than their 2016 result.[2] The opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) finished on 27.7%, a decline of four percentage points, its worst result in the state to date. The Greens moved from fifth to third place with 9.3%. Alternative for Germany (AfD) saw the worst losses of any party, falling to 8.3%. The Free Democratic Party recorded a small decline to 5.5%, but retained their seats. The Free Voters (FW) entered the Landtag for the first time with 5.4%, marking their third appearance in a state parliament overall, following Bavaria and Brandenburg.[3]

Overall, the incumbent government was returned with an increased majority. After the election, Minister-President Dreyer expressed her desire to renew the outgoing coalition.[4] On 30 April, the SPD, Greens, and FDP came to a coalition agreement.[5] Dreyer was re-elected as Minister-President on 18 May.[6]

Election date

The period of the 17th Landtag began on 18 April 2016. Landtag elections may take place between 57 and 60 months after the commencement of the term of the previous Landtag; thus, the election may take place between February and May 2021.[7] On 11 February 2020, the state government announced the date of the election as 14 March 2021.[1] A state election was held on the same day in neighbouring state of Baden-Württemberg.

Electoral system

The Landtag is elected via mixed-member proportional representation. 52 members are elected in single-member constituencies via first-past-the-post voting. 49 members are then allocated using compensatory proportional representation, distributed in four multi-member districts.[8] Voters have two votes: the "first vote" for candidates in single-member constituencies, and the "second vote" for party lists, which are used to fill the proportional seats. The minimum size of the Landtag is 101 members, but if overhang seats are present, proportional leveling seats will be added to ensure proportionality. An electoral threshold of 5% of valid votes is applied to the Landtag; parties that fall below this threshold are excluded.[9]

Background

In the previous election held on 13 March 2016, the SPD retained its position as the largest party ahead of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Alternative for Germany (AfD) contested its first election in Rhineland-Palatinate, placing third with 12.6%. The FDP returned to the Landtag after falling out in 2011, winning 6.2% and 7 seats. The Greens narrowly retained their representation with 5.3%, a loss of 10.1 percentage points.

The SPD had led a coalition with the Greens since 2011, but this government lost its majority in the election. The SPD subsequently formed a coalition with the FDP and Greens.

Parties

The table below lists the parties represented in the 17th Landtag.

# Name Ideology Lead
candidate
2016 result
Votes (%) Seats
1 SPD Social Democratic Party of Germany
Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands
Social democracy Malu Dreyer 36.2%
2 CDU Christian Democratic Union of Germany
Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands
Christian democracy Christian Baldauf 31.8%
3 AfD Alternative for Germany
Alternative für Deutschland
Right-wing populism Michael Frisch 12.6%
4 FDP Free Democratic Party
Freie Demokratische Partei
Classical liberalism Daniela Schmitt 6.2%
5 Grüne Alliance 90/The Greens
Bündnis 90/Die Grünen
Green politics Anne Spiegel 5.3%

In addition to the parties already represented in the Landtag, eight other parties contested the election:[10]

# Name
6 The Left (LINKE)
7 FREE VOTERS Rhineland-Palatinate (FREIE WÄHLER)
8 Pirate Party Germany (PIRATEN)
9 Ecological Democratic Party (ÖDP)
10 Climate List RLP (Klimaliste RLP e. V.)
11 Die PARTEI (PARTEI)
12 Human Environment Animal Protection (Tierschutzpartei)
13 Volt Deutschland (Volt)

Campaign

Lead candidates

On 18 October 2019, the state executive of The Greens nominated Anne Spiegel, Minister for Family, Women, Youth, Integration and Consumer Protection, as the party's lead candidate for the election.[11]

On 16 November 2019, leader of the CDU parliamentary group Christian Baldauf was selected as his party's lead candidate for the election.[12] He won 80.25% of votes against challenger Marlon Bröhr, administrator of the Rhein-Hunsrück district.[13]

On 2 December 2019, Minister-President Malu Dreyer announced her withdrawal from the federal executive of the SPD in order to focus on state politics and the upcoming state election. She had served as co-deputy leader of the federal party since 2017, and was joint acting leader from June to December 2019 after the resignation of leader Andrea Nahles. The announcement came after the 2019 leadership election which saw Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans chosen as Nahles' successors. Rhineland-Palatinate state party leader Roger Lewentz stated: "[Dreyer] is the best Minister-President for Rhineland-Palatinate. In the coming year we will do everything we can to ensure that she can continue to hold her post even after the state election in 2021."[14] She was formally confirmed as lead candidate on 7 December 2020.[15]

On 19 August 2020, the state FDP executive chose State Secretary for Economic Affairs Daniela Schmitt as their lead candidate for the election.[16]

On 5 September, AfD announced their list of candidates for the election. State leader Michael Frisch was the lead candidate.[17]

Joachim Streit was the lead candidate for the Free Voters.[18]

Opinion polling

Graphical summary

Local regression of polls conducted.

Party polling

Polling firm Fieldwork date Sample
size
SPD CDU AfD FDP Grüne Linke FW Others Lead
2021 state election 14 Mar 2021 - 35.7 27.7 8.3 5.5 9.3 2.5 5.4 5.7 8.0
INSA 11-12 Mar 2021 1,354 32 29 10 7 10 3 4 5 3
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 8-11 Mar 2021 1,735 33 29 9 6.5 10 3 5 4.5 4
INSA 1-8 Mar 2021 1,501 30 30 10 6 12 3 4 5 Tie
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Mar 2021 998 33 29 9 7 11 3 4 4 4
Infratest dimap 1-3 Mar 2021 1,186 30 28 9 9 12 3 5 4 1
Infratest dimap 19-23 Feb 2021 1,000 30 31 9 7 12 3 4 4 1
INSA 15-22 Feb 2021 1,304 31 33 9 6 12 3 3 3 2
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Feb 2021 1,022 31 33 7 5 13 4 - 7 2
INSA 13-19 Jan 2021 1,006 30 33 9 6 14 3 3 2 3
Infratest dimap 8-12 Jan 2021 1,001 28 33 8 6 15 3 - 7 5
Infratest dimap 4-8 Dec 2020 1,002 28 34 9 5 15 3 - 6 6
INSA 13-20 Oct 2020 1,013 27 33 10 5 14 5 3 3 6
Infratest dimap 4-8 Sep 2020 1,005 26 34 9 6 17 4 - 4 8
Infratest dimap 20-21 Apr 2020 1,003 27 38 8 6 13 4 - 4 11
INSA 16-30 Mar 2020 1,045 24 30 12 5 19 5 - 5 6
Infratest dimap 27 Feb-3 Mar 2020 1,001 26 27 11 7 18 6 - 5 1
Infratest dimap 5-10 Dec 2019 1,002 26 30 13 7 16 4 - 4 4
INSA 9-16 Sep 2019 1,012 22 28 12 8 20 4 3 3 6
Infratest dimap 5-9 Sep 2019 1,001 23 28 11 8 21 4 - 5 5
Infratest dimap 14-18 Mar 2019 1,000 24 31 11 10 14 6 - 4 7
Forsa 1-8 Feb 2019 1,005 26 31 10 8 14 5 - 6 5
Infratest dimap 10-11 Dec 2018 1,001 24 31 13 7 16 4 - 5 7
Infratest dimap 11-15 Oct 2018 1,003 24 28 13 8 18 5 - 4 4
Infratest dimap 14-18 Jun 2018 1,004 29 31 13 7 11 5 - 4 2
Infratest dimap 5-7 Mar 2018 1,001 37 33 8 7 8 3 - 4 4
INSA 2-8 Jan 2018 1,517 33 34 10 7 7 5 - 4 1
Infratest dimap 8-12 Dec 2017 1,003 38 37 6 7 6 3 - 3 1
Infratest dimap 7-11 Sep 2017 1,001 36 36 8 6 6 4 - 4 Tie
GESS Phone & Field 6-17 Jul 2017 1,002 33 37 8 7 6 3 2 4 4
Infratest dimap 14-19 Jun 2017 1,000 32 37 8 7 7 5 - 4 5
Infratest dimap 2-6 Mar 2017 1,001 40 35 7 6 6 3 - 3 5
GESS Phone & Field 9-19 Dec 2016 1,002 34 36 11 5 5 3 2 4 2
Infratest dimap 8-12 Dec 2016 1,000 32 36 10 9 5 4 - 4 4
Infratest dimap 8-12 Jul 2016 1,004 33 33 10 7 8 4 - 5 Tie
GESS Phone & Field 13-20 Jun 2016 1,004 36 31 12 6 6 3 3 3 5
2016 state election 13 Mar 2016 - 36.2 31.8 12.6 6.2 5.3 2.8 2.2 2.8 4.4

Minister-President polling

Polling firm Fieldwork date Sample
size
WLP RLP 9648 Malu Dreyer.jpg 2017-10-17 Grundsteinlegung Landtag Rheinland-Pfalz by Olaf Kosinsky-79 cropped.jpg 2016-12-06 Christian Baldauf CDU Parteitag by Olaf Kosinsky-8.jpg 2016-11-17 - Anne Spiegel - 0545.jpg None/Unsure Lead

SPD

CDU

CDU

Grüne
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Mar 2021 998 59 - 28 - 13 31
Infratest dimap 1-3 Mar 2021 1,186 53 - 29 - 18 24
Infratest dimap 19-23 Feb 2021 1,000 56 - 28 - 16 28
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Feb 2021 1,022 59 - 23 - 18 36
Infratest dimap 4-8 Dec 2020 1,002 54 - 18 5 9 36
Infratest dimap 4-8 Sep 2020 1,005 55 - 15 3 11 40
Infratest dimap 27 Feb-3 Mar 2020 1,001 57 - 17 4 11 40
Infratest dimap 5-7 Mar 2018 1,001 56 31 - - 5 25
Infratest dimap 8-12 Dec 2017 1,003 56 30 - - 6 26
Infratest dimap 14-19 Jun 2017 1,000 50 31 - - 9 19
Infratest dimap 2-6 Mar 2017 1,001 52 34 - - 6 18

Preferred coalition

Polling firm Fieldwork date Sample
size
Assessment SPD
Grüne
CDU
Grüne
SPD
Grüne
FDP
CDU
Grüne
FDP
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Mar 2021 998 Positive 40 31 30 21
Negative 39 47 45 53
Forschungsgruppe Wahlen 1-4 Feb 2021 1,022 Positive 40 37 30 26
Negative 35 37 45 46

Results

Map of results by constituency (Wahlkreis)
2021 Rhineland-Palatinate state election - composition chart.svg
Party Constituency Party list Total
seats
+/-
Votes % Seats Votes % Swing Seats
Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) 618,176 32.2 28 690,962 35.7 Decrease 0.5 11 39 Steady 0
Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) 604,088 31.4 23 535,318 27.7 Decrease 4.1 8 31 Decrease 4
Alliance 90/The Greens (GRÜNE) 210,022 10.9 1 179,860 9.3 Increase 4.0 9 10 Increase 4
Alternative for Germany (AfD) 145,383 7.6 0 160,293 8.3 Decrease 4.3 9 9 Decrease 5
Free Democratic Party (FDP) 115,530 6.0 0 106,809 5.5 Decrease 0.7 6 6 Decrease 1
Free Voters (FW) 143,940 7.5 0 103,619 5.4 Increase 3.2 6 6 Increase 6
The Left (LINKE) 54,139 2.8 0 48,206 2.5 Decrease 0.3 0 0 Steady 0
Human Environment Animal Protection - - - 32,527 1.7 New 0 0 New
Die PARTEI 8,402 0.4 0 20,519 1.1 New 0 0 New
Volt Germany 1,497 0.1 0 19,286 1.0 New 0 0 New
Climate List RLP 9,477 0.5 0 13,681 0.7 New 0 0 New
Ecological Democratic Party 8,198 0.4 0 13,406 0.7 Increase 0.3 0 0 Steady 0
Pirate Party Germany 1,820 0.1 0 10,393 0.5 Decrease 0.3 0 0 Steady 0
Grassroots Democracy Party of Germany 229 0.0 0 - - - - 0 New
Independents 1,678 0.1 0 - - - - 0 Steady 0
Total 1,922,579 100.0 52 1,934,879 100.0 - 49 101 Steady 0
Invalid/blank votes 34,770 1.8 - 22,470 1.1 -
Registered voters/turnout 3,042,414 64.3 - 3,042,414 64.3 Decrease 6.1
Source: State Returning Officer
Popular vote
SPD
35.71%
CDU
27.67%
GRÜNE
9.30%
AfD
8.28%
FDP
5.52%
FW
5.36%
LINKE
2.49%
Other
5.67%
Landtag seats
SPD
38.61%
CDU
30.69%
GRÜNE
9.90%
AfD
8.91%
FDP
5.94%
FW
5.94%

Aftermath

The result was considered a victory for the SPD, contrasting a long string of losses in other state, federal, and local elections since 2018.[4] Their success was attributed to the popularity of incumbent Minister-President Dreyer during the COVID-19 pandemic.[19][20] After the election, the SPD's federal Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz voiced his support for a "traffic light" coalition on the federal level.[2]

The CDU's poorer-than-expected result was attributed in part to local factors, such as Dreyer's popularity and the difficulty faced by the opposition when campaigning during pandemic conditions.[20][21] Commentators also pointed to federal factors, such as the unpopularity of newly-elected federal CDU chairman Armin Laschet, poor management of the pandemic by federal government, and particularly the "mask scandal" which broke a few days before the election.[19][4] The result was perceived as harming the CDU/CSU's standing ahead of the September federal election, and damaging Armin Laschet's chances of being selected as the Union's candidate for Chancellor.[19]

Government formation

Minister-President Malu Dreyer quickly voiced her desire to continue the coaliton between the SPD, Greens, and Free Democrats. State FDP chairman Volker Wissing made similar comments.[4] The three parties began exploratory talks on 18 March.[22] On 30 April, they announced they had agreed to renew the coalition.[5]

On 18 May, Dreyer was elected as Minister-President for a third term by the Landtag. She won 55 votes, more than the 51 needed for an absolute majority. The new ministry was sworn in the same day, comprising six SPD, two Green, and two FDP ministers.[6]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Mainz Termin für Landtagswahl festgelegt". Südwestrundfunk. 11 February 2020.
  2. ^ a b "SPD chancellor candidate Scholz open to traffic light in the federal government". Der Spiegel. 15 March 2021.
  3. ^ "This is how Rhineland-Palatinate voted - current results". Der Spiegel. 15 March 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d "Rhineland-Palatinate: Dreyer wants to continue the traffic light coalition". Mdr.de. 15 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Red-green-yellow state government traffic light coalition in Rhineland-Palatinate continues". Südwestrundfunk (in German). 30 April 2021.
  6. ^ a b "Landtag re-elects Dreyer as Prime Minister". Südwestrundfunk (in German). 18 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Wahltermin/Terminkalender". Rheinland-Pfalz Landeswahlleiter.
  8. ^ "Publication - Electoral Districts". Rhineland-Palatinate State Returning Officer.
  9. ^ "The Electoral System" (PDF). Rhineland-Palatinate State Returning Officer. 20 April 2020.
  10. ^ "13 nominees apply to join the Rhineland-Palatinate state parliament". Rhineland-Palatinate State Returning Officer. 6 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Landtagswahl 2021 Grüne nominieren Anne Spiegel als Spitzenkandidatin". Südwestrundfunk. 18 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Liveticker: Wer wird CDU-Spitzenkandidat 2021 in Rheinland-Pfalz?". Volksfreund.de. 16 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Landtagswahlen in Rheinland-Pfalz im Jahr 2021 Will Hunsrück-Landrat Bröhr CDU-Spitzenkandidat werden?". Südwestrundfunk. 29 October 2019.
  14. ^ "Malu Dreyer (SPD) konzentriert sich auf Rheinland-Pfalz und Wahl 2021". Volksfreund.de. 2 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Rhineland-Palatinate: SPD Minister-President Malu Dreyer top candidate - but another party leads in polls". 24vest.de. 7 December 2020.
  16. ^ "FDP executive committee proposes Schmitt as the top candidate". N-tv.de. 19 August 2020.
  17. ^ "AfD is going to the state election with 25 candidates". N-tv.de. 5 September 2020.
  18. ^ "State election in Rhineland-Palatinate in the final spurt". Free Voters Rhineland-Palatinate. 11 March 2021.
  19. ^ a b c "Shot across the Union's bow". Mdr.de. 14 March 2021.
  20. ^ a b "Election in Rhineland-Palatinate: the success of the Dreyer traffic light". Der Spiegel. 15 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Celebrate, lick wounds, focus on Berlin". Südwestrundfunk. 15 March 2021.
  22. ^ "SPD, FDP and Greens begin exploratory talks". Der Spiegel. 18 March 2021.

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