German parties: More members

Membership in Germany's political parties in 2017 showed the strongest growth in many years.

German parties: More members

Berlin (dpa) - For the first time since German reunification in 1990, the country's political parties have registered a clear growth in membership. Last year the number of party memberships rose 22,000 or 1.8 per cent higher than those in 2016, according to a study by Berlin political scientist Oskar Niedermayer that the Free University of Berlin pulbished Thursday.

"The reasons (for the rise in party membership) were found in short-term developments that led to a mobilization of the citizenry," Niedermayer told the weekly magazine Focus, which was the first to report on the Free University study. He noted such factors as the election of Donald Trump in the United States and Germany's national elections last year. His study focused on the parties currently represented in the Bundestag, or national parliament.

Niedermayer said one cannot speak of a turning point. Since the start of the 1990s, parties had on average lost half of their members. For example, in 1990 the Social Democrats (SPD) had 943,402 members. The Union parties - CDU and CSU - had a combined total of 975,000 members then.