|National Secretary||Martin Lorenzen|
|Preceded by||The Schleswig Association|
|Youth wing||Youth in the SSW|
|European affiliation||European Free Alliance|
|Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein|
|Kiel City Council|
The South Schleswig Voters' Association[nb 1] (German: Südschleswigscher Wählerverband; SSW) is a regionalist political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. The party represents the Danish and Frisian minorities of the state.
As a party representing a national minority, the SSW declines to identify itself with a left-right political scale, but it models its policies on those of the Nordic countries, which often means favouring a strong welfare state, but, on the other hand, a more free market labour policy than the German social market economy model. The SSW is represented in the Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein and several regional and municipal councils. The party has not contested any federal elections in Germany since 1965, but the party announced that it would contest the coming 2021 German federal election.
As a party for the national Danish minority in Southern Schleswig, the SSW is not subject to the general requirement of passing a 5% vote threshold to gain proportional seats in either the state parliament (Landtag) or the federal German parliament (Bundestag). In the most recent 2017 state election, the SSW received 3.3% of the votes and three seats.
In the 2005 state election the SSW received 3.6% (two seats). This was enough for the SSW to hold the balance of power between the national parties of the left and right, and the SSW chose to support a coalition of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and The Greens, without joining the coalition itself. This resulted in criticism from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and from German national conservative circles, who asserted that since the SSW had been granted a special status, it was obliged to defend only minority interests, and that its status should be revoked if the SSW behaved like a "regular" party. The SSW representatives, however, insisted on the full value of their parliamentary seats and their equal rights as German citizens. One particular point was that the SSW had taken a strong position on educational principles in the state (abolishing the traditional German system of dividing pupils according to academic ability already after the 4th grade into different types of secondary schools). The CDU argued that since there were separate Danish-language schools, it was unreasonable for the SSW to involve itself in the affairs of the public schools.
As the planned SPD-Greens coalition did not make it into office after the 2009 state election, a centre-right coalition was formed between the CDU and Free Democratic Party (FDP), and the SSW joined the opposition.
In the 2012 state election, the SSW gained 4.6% of all votes and three seats in the state Landtag. A coalition of the SPD, Greens and SSW was concluded in June 2012, and the former parliamentary leader, Anke Spoorendonk, was appointed Minister for Culture, Justice and European Affairs. This was the first time in German history that a minority party had participated in a state government. The new coalition government has plenty of nicknames, for instance "Dänen-Ampel" ("Dane-traffic light"), "Schleswig-Holstein-Ampel", "rot-grün-blaue Koalition" or "rød-grøn-blå koalition" (red-green-blue alliance), "Küstenkoalition" (Coastal alliance) and "Nord-Ampel" (North traffic light).