kandidatenwatch.de (kandwatch)

Published on: 12/09/2008
The main difference between "kandidatenwatch.de" and "abgeordnetenwatch.de" refers to the fact that this platform directs at the candidates and not at the MoPs. So this internet portal offers a possibility for the candidates to use the homepage for their election campaigns. On the other hand it gives information to the electorate which they can use for their individual political decision. The project proceeded in the German free cities Bremen and Hamburg and in federal states like Lower Saxony, Hesse and Bavaria. In Bavaria the project “kandidatenwatch.de” started in the middle of July 2008. In August 2008 49 % of the questions were transmitted to the Bavarian candidates of all German parties. After its big success in Bavaria it is planned to install “kandidatenwatch.de” in every federal state of Germany, above all regarding the next German elections of the federal parliament (Bundestagswahl) in September 2009.

Policy Context

The carrier of both “abgeordnetenwatch.de” and “kandidatenwatch.de” “Parlamentwatch” is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization, whose operation is based on freedom of speech and within the framework of the German constitution.

Description of target users and groups

The internet platform is directed at the German electorate and to the German candidates of all parties.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

In the beginning “kandidatenwatch.de” was run by volunteers only. But with its expansion the work had to be professionalized. In its office in Hamburg there are at present four employees and trainees (the number depends on the amount of work). A team of moderators (usually students on a free lance basis) checks whether questions and answers conform with an ethical codex. "kandidatenwatch.de" is a charity and mainly financed by indivual donations. Currently, 434 donors support "kandidatenwatch.de" on a regular basis. Furthermore, the Munich based foundation Bonventure supports the project with social venture capital. Selling premium profiles to candidates signifies another important source of fund raising. Premium profiles offers the candidates a few extra options. For example it enables them to present a personal photo. The unique costs totally amount to 100 € per candidate.

Technology solution

Technology choice: Proprietary technology

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Lessons learnt

The Internet does bear a huge emancipatory potential. Both politicians and citzens benefit from communication platforms such as "kandidatenwatch.de". While politicians were hesitant in the beginning they have gained trust in the project and do answer citizens' questions. The platform helps citizens to overcome their prejudices against politicians and gives them direct access to politcal decision makers. Thus, citizens' ideas and input enters the parliamentary process on a direct way without being filtered by lobbyists or the media. Last but not least, "kandidatenwatch.de" is turning into a virtual voters' memory and serves as a valuable source for first hand quotes and poltical statements. Scope: Local (city or municipality), National, Regional (sub-national)