North Rhine-Westphalia: CDU and SPD are losing members: the Greens and FDP are growing

The state elections have produced a new government alliance in NRW with black-green.

North Rhine-Westphalia: CDU and SPD are losing members: the Greens and FDP are growing

The state elections have produced a new government alliance in NRW with black-green. While the mainstream parties CDU and SPD are losing more and more members, the Greens are gaining slightly. And the FDP - now in opposition - continues to grow.

Dusseldorf (dpa / lnw) - The decline in membership in the large parties CDU and SPD in North Rhine-Westphalia has not been stopped with the state election campaign. In the middle of the year, the number of members in the two people's parties fell further. The Greens - now government partners of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia - have been gaining members since the beginning of the year, but the growth has been more modest than in previous years. The FDP, which crashed in the state elections in mid-May, can also look forward to an increase.

According to party information, the number of members of the NRW-CDU has fallen by more than 2,400 since the end of November 2021 to 114,743 members at the end of May. The Christian Democrats are still the only party in North Rhine-Westphalia to have more than 100,000 members. In the election month of May, the NRW-CDU recorded 231 entries and 203 exits. As with the SPD, one reason for the general decline in membership is that many older members are dying.

The number of SPD members in North Rhine-Westphalia fell by 1,500 from around 95,000 in December to 93,500 in June. General Secretary Nadja Lüders predicts declines in the coming years due to the age structure of the party. As a positive development, however, she emphasized that several younger people had joined the SPD for the state elections. "With them, it is important to make society even stronger."

The Greens - now government partner of the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia - increased their membership from 25,865 in December 2021 to 26,127 at the end of June. That is a slight six-month increase of 262 members. Since the state elections in mid-May alone, 150 new members have joined the eco-party. However, the growth seems to be slowing down after the big jumps of the past few years. After all, the number of Greens members in NRW has more than doubled since the 2017 election defeat.

"Of course we are very happy about our further increasing membership numbers," says the new party leader Yazgülü Zeybek. The Greens also wanted to "offer a place for debate" during government periods, she announced. "For us, open and transparent decision-making within the party is not just a marketing gimmick, but the core of our DNA."

On May 15, the CDU emerged as the clear winner from the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia with 35.7 percent. The Greens were able to almost triple their share of the vote compared to 2017 to 18.2 percent and ended up in third place behind the SPD (26.7).

The FDP had to accept heavy losses in the NRW elections and was thrown out of the government with only 5.9 percent. Since mid-December, the Liberals in NRW have been able to increase the number of their members from almost 20,000 to around 20,200 at the end of June - an increase of around 200. For the NRW Free Democrats, this is still the highest membership level in 30 years. Even after the state election, the number remained constant, it said.

"The FDP NRW has a strong membership base, which has continued to grow this year," says General Secretary Moritz Körner. Many people who came to the FDP wanted to be politically active, especially at this time. The members would also be involved in the process of reorganizing the FDP after the state elections.

At the beginning of July, the number of members in the AfD NRW was around 5,000. That was about 300 fewer than in mid-December. Since the state election, the AfD has recorded a barely noticeable minus of 35 members, it said. In the summertime, however, membership numbers always declined somewhat and recovered again in the autumn.

"I am pleased that in times of less and less voluntary commitment in society, our AfD state association in North Rhine-Westphalia is stable in terms of personnel and that we are increasingly receiving membership applications from all sections of the population," said AfD state head Martin Vincentz. The AfD had reached 5.4 percent in the state elections.

The NRW Left Party, which was not elected to the state parliament again, has had to cope with a wave of resignations since the beginning of the year. 684 party members left the party in the past six months, but 255 new members were also added. Overall, the number of members of the North Rhine-Westphalia Left since January has fallen from 8,583 to 8,124 in early July - a drop of 459. The two party leaders, Nina Eumann and Jules El-Khatib, call the reason for this that the left has non-paying members this year have deleted. "However, we also had resignations due to the war in Ukraine."

However, the number of members has been stabilizing again for a few weeks. The left is said to be close to Russia and Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. In the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the party leadership had spoken out in favor of a negotiated solution.