Die deutsche Version findest du hier.

Berlin’s Bezirksverordnetenversammlung (BVV – local) elections are almost upon us. You can cast your vote on Sunday and decide with other voters who will govern your borough for the next five years.

But who is up for election? Which party or Wählergemeinschaft (association of voters) is close enough to your views for you to support it with your cross on the ballot paper? Depending on the borough, there will be somewhere between eight and 14 parties and association of voters on each ballot paper. They represent a variety of positions on topics such as new home building, transportation, schools and economic development.

The Bezirk-O-Mat helps you to find out which party most closely aligns with your thinking. It asks ten questions on topics relevant to your borough, and compares your answers with each party’s position. Unfortunately, the Bezirk-O-Mat is only available in German.

Many parties and voter associations draw up manifestos in which they state explicitly what they consider to be the relevant borough’s most pressing issues and what they aim to achieve in office. You can normally find their manifestos on the homepage for their regional office (the party’s or voter association’s borough-level office).

The Bezirk-O-Mat was inspired by an app that was created by the Federal Agency for Civic Education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung) for each federal state’s election – the Wahl-O-Mat. There is also a Wahl-O-Mat for Berlin City Parliament’s upcoming elections (also on 18 September 2016). Answering its 38 questions gives you an overview of all participating parties’ different positions. However, non-German EU citizens are not entitled to vote at national elections, and some issues are addressed only in Berlin’s City Parliament, not in the BVV. Nevertheless, it might be helpful to use the Wahl-O-Mat to find out which party is closest to your views. Unfortunately, the Wahl-O-Mat is also only available in German.

In Berlin, people aged 16 and over are entitled to vote in the BVV elections. The German Federal Youth Council (Deutsche Bundesjungendring) has written an overview of Berlin’s largest parties’ positions on nine important topics.

Sadly, there is only minimal information on Germany’s political parties in English. A few have had the most important points of their BVV-election manifesto translated into English. The FindingBerlin blog has put up its own English overview of Berlin’s political parties.

And remember, you can use your vote to influence who governs your borough for the next five years!

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