South Schleswig Voter Federation
|South Schleswig Voters' Association
Südschleswigscher Wählerverband (German)
Sydslesvigsk Vælgerforening (Danish)
|National Secretary||Martin Lorenzen|
|Preceded by||The Schleswig Association|
|Youth wing||Youth in the SSW|
Ethnic minority interests
|Political position||Centre to Centre-left|
|European affiliation||European Free Alliance|
|Seats in the Regional Parliaments|
|Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein|
The South Schleswig Voter's Association (German: Südschleswigscher Wählerverband, Danish: Sydslesvigsk Vælgerforening, North Frisian: Söödschlaswiksche Wäälerferbånd) is a regional political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. It represents the Danish and Frisian minorities.
As a party representing a national minority, the SSW declines to identify itself with a left-right-scale, but it models its policies on the Scandinavian countries, which often means favoring a strong welfare state, but, on the other hand, a more free-market labour policy than the German model. It is represented in the diet (Landtag) of Schleswig-Holstein and several regional and municipal councils. It has not contested in federal elections since 1965.
As a party for the national Danish minority in Southern Schleswig, the SSW is not subject to the general requirement of passing a 5% vote threshold in order to receive proportional seats in either the state parliament (Landtag) or the Federal German parliament (Bundestag). In the most recent 2012 election, the SSW received 4.6% of the votes and four seats.
In the 2005 election the SSW received 3.6% (two seats). This was enough for the SSW to hold the balance of power between the national parties of the left and right, and the SSW chose to support a SPD-Green coalition, without joining the coalition itself. This resulted in criticism from the CDU and from German national conservative circles, who asserted that since the SSW had been granted a special status, it was obliged to defend only minority interests, and that its status should be revoked if the SSW behaved like a 'regular' party. The SSW representatives, however, insisted on the full value of their parliamentary seats and their equal rights as German citizens. One particular point was that the SSW had taken a strong position on educational principles in the state (abolishing the traditional German system of dividing pupils according to academic ability already after the 4th grade into different types of secondary schools). The CDU argued that since there were separate Danish language schools, it was unreasonable for the SSW to involve itself in the affairs of the public schools.
As the planned SPD-Greens coalition did not make it into office after the 2009 elections, a CDU-FDP coalition was created and the SSW joined the opposition.
In the 2012 state election, the SSW gained 4.6% of all votes and 3 seats in the state diet. A coalition of SPD, Green Party and SSW was concluded in June 2012, and the former parliamentary leader, Anke Spoorendonk, was appointed Minister for Culture, Justice and European Affairs. This is the first time in German history that a minority party is part of a state government. The new coalition government has plenty of nicknames, for instance "Dänen-Ampel" ("Dane-traffic light"), "Schleswig-Holstein-Ampel", "Küstenampel" (Coastal traffic light) and "Nord-Ampel" (North traffic light).
- "Landtagswahl in Schleswig-Holstein am 6. Mai 2012" (in German). Statistical Office for Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg. 7 May 2012. Retrieved 14 May 2012.
- "Dänen-Ampel steht – Albig regiert in Kiel". Die Welt (in German). 12 June 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2012.