Thursday, May 22, 2014

European Election 2014 on Germany's Wahl-O-Mat

Elections to the European Parliament are coming up this weekend, and we wanted to find out what party Wahl-O-Mat (Dial an election?) suggests. Wahl-O-Mat is a project of the German Agency for Civic Education and has a big disclaimer saying it is for information only, in no way should the result be interpreted as a suggestion to vote for the resulting top ranking party.

European Union citizens living in another EU country can vote in the EU Parliament election in their country of residence, neat, isn't it? It doesn't help participation rates much, they are way too reminiscent of American elections. It is a safe bet that many people will enjoy a Sunday out and not bother to swing by the polling stations.

Other foreign nationals can not vote, so we could do the Wahl-O-Mat questions with their multiple choice answers (agree, neutral, disagree or skip question) without trying to make our answers match our innate preferences.

Having worked through the some 30 questions ranging from the Euro to the role of banks, from genetically modified plants to expansion of the EU and more, we selected the maximum possible eight parties to check our answers against. The five usual suspects and three smaller ones.

The result was so unexpected that we fess up to it. In case you save this post to be able to go back and check on our political views, we cannot recommend this. You'll be confused.

The algorithm matched us mostly closely with a party we had not heard of before, a party we later swore we had not even picked as one of the eight Wahl-O-Mat candidates.

That party is "Die Partei" (in English "The Party"). Wikipedia has a nice English entry, whose first line explains it was founded in 2004 by editors of the German satirical magazine Titanic.

How did we get into this political box? We do not find Titanic Magazine funny. If our humor appears forced at times, theirs comes with as much force and aim as the magazine name suggests.

Our only explanation at the end of the day: we must have not understood some or any of the questions. At least we now know what the political version of a blind date feels like.

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