Politicizing migration: opportunity or liability for the centre-right in Germany?

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Series Details Vol.15, No.3, April 2008, p331-349
Publication Date April 2008
ISSN 1350-1763
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Abstract: Centre-right parties have by and large been keen to mobilize support by adopting relatively restrictive approaches on immigration and multiculturalism. However, such mobilizing strategies carry a number of costs: centre-right parties risk losing support from more moderate supporters, and they may lose legitimacy by pursuing policies that conflict with more liberal approaches, or which prove difficult to deliver. This contribution develops a typology of these risks and applies it to analyse the behaviour of the CDU in Germany. While many features of the CDU are well suited to more restrictionist immigration policies, such approaches have at times conflicted with the more Christian and communitarian ethos on which the party was originally founded. Moreover, when in government the CDU has found it difficult to deliver on more restrictive pledges, and is likely to find it increasingly difficult to reconcile restrictiveness with a business-friendly approach.

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