tions and to extend and improve their infrastructure. This leads to a somewhat controversial result: On the one hand, there are now more municipal activities in the countryside, and, on the other hand, the municipalities and districts lose their freedom in decisionmaking; that is, although the parties have less ability to define priorities, they have to deal with more problems yet have fewer resources with which to solve them.
Professionalization and party politicization are prerequisites to realizing the postulate of equal living conditions in rural regions in West Germany. In this context, the new states still have a considerable backlog. In municipalities in West Germany, the emphasis is, at present, placed on internal organization, meaning that communal voters' associations have growing significance. Hence, today's rural municipalities and districts have, contrary to former times and compared to the federal administration and to the states, attained a higher degree of political pluralization. In this setting, parties of different political coloring are competing with "old" voters' associations and "new" voters' groups to get the approval of voters, who are meanwhile more diversified and who no longer depend on agriculture alone.
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