-Conservatives (DKP, RFKP, NLP)- On most issues Kaiser and govt could depend on support of three main conservative parties. However their popularity was declining (vote fell from 48% and 220 seats in 1887 to 26% and 102 seats in 1912). → traditional support for imperial govt slowly being eroded → increased problem of finding majority support from other parties to ratify legislation.
The Left Liberals (DFP)- more critical of govt, from 1893 divided into 3 factions and did not have considerable influence in Reichstag (reason for the failure of German liberalism).
-Centre Party (ZP)- importance increased during Bismarck's reign → consistently won between 90 and 110 seats in Reichstag, making it the biggest party until 1912. Despite religious base, members had wide range of political views → led to both govt cooperation and opposition.
-Social Democrats (SPD)- rise due to the spread of socialism in Germany. 1887: 10.1% vote, 11 seats. 1912: 34.8% vote, 110 seats (largest party in Reichstag). Gathered a lot of WC support. However did split into factions due to divisions on whether gradualism (moderate, democratic, social reforms) or revolutionary socialism (radical, opposed other as involved co-operation w/ bourgeoisie) was the best way to create a socialist society.