South Schleswig Voters' Association
|National Secretary||Martin Lorenzen|
|Preceded by||The Schleswig Association|
|Youth wing||Youth in the SSW|
|Ideology||Ethnic minority interests (Danes and Frisians)
|European affiliation||European Free Alliance|
|Seats in the State Parliaments||
3 / 1,857
|Landtag of Schleswig-Holstein||
3 / 69
The South Schleswig Voters' Association[nb 1] (Danish: Sydslesvigsk Vælgerforening, German: Südschleswigscher Wählerverband, North Frisian: Söödschlaswiksche Wäälerferbånd) is a regional political party in Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. The party represents the Danish and Frisian minorities of the state.
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 favouring 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 to gain proportional seats in either the state parliament (Landtag) or the lower house of 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 coalition of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and Alliance '90/The Greens, without joining the coalition itself. This resulted in criticism from the Christian Democratic Union (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 three 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", "rot-grün-blaue Koaltion" or "rød-grøn-blå koalitionsregering" (red–green–blue alliance), "Küstenampel" (Coastal traffic light) and "Nord-Ampel" (North traffic light).
- Other translations include South Schleswig Voter Alliance, South Schleswig Voters' Committee, South Schleswig Voter Federation, South Schleswig Voters Group, South Schleswig Voters League, South Schleswig Voters List, South Schleswig Voters' Union, South Sleswig Electoral Association.
- José Magone (2011). Contemporary European Politics: A Comparative Introduction. Routledge. p. 392.
- Heiko F. Marten (2015). Parliamentary Structures and Their Impact on Empowering Minority Language Communities. Cultural and Linguistic Minorities in the Russian Federation and the European Union: Comparative Studies on Equality and Diversity (Springer). p. 264. ISBN 978-3-319-10455-3.
- "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.