Bavaria has voted – at least a part of the state. Overall, 55 per cent of the citizens participated at last the elections of the local governments. However, compared to 2008 the participation declined by 5 per cent.
Even the captial Munich reached a new bottom. Only 41 per cent voted – most likely, this data will worsen at the ballots, when the new mayor is going to be elected. In 2008 this has already happened in Dresden. At the first turn 42,2 per cent of the voters participated. At the ballots only 34 per cent. There may be a range of different reasons for the declining interest. Nonetheless, the future mayor of Munich must question himself: On which political legitimation is his mandate based?
Furthermore, the constant participation drop at the elections influences also our current system, based on representative democracy. Never before there has been such a strong demand on direct democracy and political involvement of the citizens. Isn’t this a paradox: on one hand, at almost every election the number of participating voters diminish. On the other, people demand more direct participation. Maybe we assist at a generalization of the “not-in-my-backyard-principle”: I only participate at political decisions only if I am imminently affected.
Another aspect can be observed by analyzing the phenomenon of declining participations more deeply. In a recent survey, the Bertelsmann Foundation came to an alarming conclusion: the poorer and less-educated, the more unlikely the members of a household will participate at political elections. This result is based upon a comparison between the parameters education, income and the participation at elections.