As a political center is called a point of view of the political spectrum, which should be between "left" and "right". Where exactly is this "center" is and what positions they will be characterized, however, is controversial; accordingly diffused is the use of the expression.

In overall political spectrum, the democratic parties understood as part of the middle between the extreme left and extreme right-wing ideologies. Within the democratic spectrum again, it is natural to consider a between the major mainstream settled ( in Germany conservatism and social democracy, represented by the major parties CDU / CSU and SPD) position as a political center.


After the Second World War and the newly re-established parties attempted to address broader layers of the population and to orient themselves to the political center. It came to the emergence of the so-called mainstream parties. The according to the classical definition, actually moderate right-wing Popular Party CDU / CSU as interdenominational coalition movement, has always claimed the position of the political center. On the Godesberg SPD Party Congress of 1959, the change in the party of a socialist workers party came down to a People's Party expressed.

Since the left-right scale has become increasingly inadequate in recent times and gone out of fashion, and in particular the right attribute many to be stigma -democratic parties have a particular tendency in Germany to for themselves to claim the political center and left as others or. the right to classify it. This is especially true for the major political parties and there is additionally reinforced by the claim to address the largest possible part of the population, the political center here also has the connotation of " mainstream society " adheres.

1972 Chancellor Willy Brandt used the first time the expression Neue Mitte on Dortmund's election congress of the SPD. This orientation was made against the background of a steadily declining proportion of workers in the population of 55 percent ( 1959) to 27 (1972). Against the traditionalists in the SPD, the SPD wanted to profile a workers' party, Brandt sought the opening of the SPD to a party of the "new middle " to. On one hand, should the word the social-liberal government policies are described, on the other hand, presented the concept of a concept for the integration of the student movement dar.

In his first policy statement in 1982 as well as in almost all other government statements Helmut Kohl described the coalition government of CDU, CSU and FDP as a " coalition of the center ". The aim of this formulation either been to create a catchy political positioning of the coalition as well as to claim the representation of the middle class as a special concern of the government with regard to the electorate.

Following Tony Blair's New Labour or Bill Clinton's New Democrats, the SPD established in the federal election campaign in 1998 again the buzzword New Center. In published in 1999, so-called Blair-Schröder paper new Social Democratic positions and visions of a third way was by Tony Blair and Gerhard Schröder under the slogan " Neue Mitte " against the backdrop of Thatcherism and the Kohl era and with reference to the structuration theory of Anthony Giddens between the neo-liberal capitalism and classical social democracy formulated. As a central element of the new social democracy Giddens sees an activating welfare state. This would mean for individual citizens, an increasing individualization and thus an increase of commitments.

Initiated in 2001 Franz Müntefering ( SPD) again a discussion about the position of the SPD in the West German party landscape: " middle is where the left People's Party SPD is. "

In the " Bremer design " for a new policy statement in January 2007, the SPD was defined as " the solidarity center party"; adopted in 2007 in Hamburg, the SPD program called "leftist People's Party ".

The current SPD chairman Sigmar Gabriel does not want the center to be understood as an after income tax or professional groups or political settings orienting " fixed place ", rather than " Deutungsort of society." The SPD must contend with the " right questions " and the " right answers " in the middle, to conquer the sovereignty of interpretation.

Other countries

In the parliaments of countries with a more polarized political spectrum - ie in which the major parties clearly define themselves as left or right - there are often parties with a " centrist " program, which explicitly defined through its center position. These include the French Mouvement démocrate ( MoDem ) or Unión Progreso y Democracia Spanish ( UPyD ). In the Scandinavian countries there are numerous center parties (such as the Finnish Suomen Keskusta, the Swedish and Norwegian Centerpartiet Senterpartiet ), which mostly caused by agrarian parties. In addition, many minority parties are centrist because they want to integrate both left and right members of ethnic minorities.

At the international level, this center parties belong to most of the Liberal International and the European liberal party ELDR, without, however, clearly represent liberal positions. Nevertheless, liberal parties can be described as centrist. In addition, a European Democratic Party (EDP ), which is mainly dominated by the French MoDem and himself explicitly sees itself as centrist exists. ELDR and EDP work together in the ALDE group in the European Parliament.