Professor of Public Health and Education says young people gave “change vote” to Greens and Free Democrats.

Following the German elections, young voters’ political interests could have a major impact on government formation, Klaus Hurrelmann, Professor of Public Health and Education at the Hertie School, says in an article on 3 October in the New York Times. Young voters predominantly gave their ballots to the Greens and Free Democrats, two smaller parties that will be decisive in forming the next government coalition.

“Young people want change and these two parties got the change vote,” Hurrelmann says. The big question now is whether both parties, which differ on a number of issues, will paralyse each other or whether they will manage to build the novelty and innovation they represent into the next government, he says.

According to Hurrelmann, their polarisation over the best strategy to fight climate change can be seen as a metaphor for the polarisation of German society. “We have a generational rift, a very stark polarisation that didn’t exist before,” he says. “It’s the under-30s vs. the over-50s.” A government the Greens and Free Democrats will be part of has to tackle this divide: “The balancing act will be: You get climate, we get freedom,” Hurrelmann says.

The full article is available here.

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