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» GERMAN UPHEAVAL from Peaktalk
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and his Green partners today suffered a major defeat in North Rhine-Westfalia, Germany's most populous province and longtime stronghold for Schroeder's SPD. What's more, it may bring forward national elections schedu... [Read More]

» Oh, man...Germany is crumbling from Murdoc Online
Schroeder's Social Democrats Suffer Major Loss in Key Election I don't really know anything about German politics, but Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats (SPD) just took its worst beating in fifty years in it's traditional stronghold. (I'm... [Read More]

» Deutschland, Deutschland über alles. from The Right Nation. Il blog amerikano di Ideazione.com
Dopo 39 anni i socialdemocratici perdono il controllo di Vestfalia e Nord-Reno. Il governo Schröder, in crisi, annuncia elezioni anticipate per l'autunno 2005. I dettagli su Walking Class e Davids Medienkritik. [Read More]

» German Elections: German Blogs from EU Rota
Strong German blogging on yesterday's elections: DJ Nozem weighs the nobility of politicians vs. the slight possiblity there is a power grab going on in the SPD. One guess as to which side he falls down on. Berlin Sprouts is Surprised!? Nice de... [Read More]

» Germany set for early fall elections. from Narcissistic views on News/Politics
As expected, Schroeder party(SPD) lost in North Rhine-Westphalia election, unexpected is how badly they lost to the CDU (45-37%) This has prompted call for early elections. [Read More]

» This Time, The Well Was Dry from Daily Pundit
Even a vicious anti-American campaign by Germany's largest union couldn't save the Social Democrats in their own back yard. [Read More]

» Said, Schroeder Needs to Go from Fresh Politics
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Meanwhile, here in Germany, things are heating up for the ruling SPD government. They just lost North Rhine-Westphalia in state elections, and Schroeder has called for early national elections to pre-empt a further slide for the party. Ain't 12% unempl... [Read More]

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French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder share a tender moment at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the D-Day landings, 6 June 2004. [Read More]

Comments

What a wonderful day! There is still hope for Germany.

Update: Muentefering announces re-elections in autumn!

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,357076,00.html

"Update: Muentefering announces re-elections in autumn!"

Wonderfull! This must have come just after the moment he said "And we will continue to work for a SOCIAL democracy" when I turned off his babbling. LOL, guess he figures to go really berserk against them evil locusts they MUST be in the opposition - fits the leftist mindset perfectly - that's where they belong: Complain about the world, but don't ever live in reality (or government) where you have to actually work and find solutions.

Does anyone have any thoughts as to why the FDP did relatively poorly? Is it despite or because of their support for economic reform?

This is a great day for Germany !

Now we only need to sweep away the "Gerd-Show" in Berlin and send Joschka back into the jungle !

@ Matt: The FDP did poorly cause they

a) did not succeed to establish a clear profile in the minds of the people - until recently, they did not even make solid coalition proposals to the CDU, but left the option with the SPD open. They also had a major PR desaster a while back, where they defined themselves as "fun party" and made all kinds of idiotic PR - not exactly helpful in tough times.

b) they're a small party, people tend to vote for the big ones

c) the new message of the FDP is really not too popular here

@Matt: In my opinion, the FDP lost, because:

1) The MSM focused on the two canidates for Ministerpräsident ("governor") very much, so the small parties (Greens and FDP) suffered.

2) They had a very good result five years ago because many voters, who normaly vote for the CDU, voted for the FDP, because of the CDU Financial Scandal.

The FDP does poorly for the same reasons Libertarians don't win elections in the US.

They don't appeal to conservatives because of their left wing views on social issues and they don't appeal to the liberals because of their right wing views on economic issues.

They're the party of choice for Christian Democrats , who don't go to Church or for Social Democrats, who drive a Porsche.
They have a very limitd base.

But don't worry about them, they will get their 7-9 % in the general election.

This is a wonderful day.

Couple of questions I hope someone will answer.

What percentage of those who could vote acutally voted?

What were the total number of votes casted?

Thank you.

"Now we only need to sweep away the "Gerd-Show" in Berlin and send Joschka back into the jungle !"

Hehehe. Too bad that "Big Brother" freakshow where they were sitting in some jungle camp is over (or is it?) - Joschka should get a second chance to be voted out from somewhere, and I bet he - being green and all - would enjoy the stay while it lasts. ;)

Conservatives and Liberals will govern together. That's how we like it.

The FDP loss may also be explained in the person of Jürgen Mölleman. The last election was a "Personality Wahl".

I don't know about you, but I am truely surprised by the prospect of new elections this fall. I am relieved. The German economy will start to flourish again, albeit slowly at first, but the Bloodsucker discussion is in my opinion no longer relevant, the CDU will win this fall and it will be sink or swim, I believe the Germans will choose to swim. Merkel, I believe she will be the next Kanzler(in), will do much to repair our relationship and Chirac is going to be very lonely (unless of course he has been replaced by then).

The next months will truly be interesting!!!

This is just wonderful ... but I would have hoped the FDP to do better ...

i don't like that result
why? the greens are still in the landtag...

@ Matt,

The FDP didn't do that poorly, they just did very well four years ago.

Great Day!

Cheers from everyone over at Iraqi Bloggers Central!

*

I also wonder why the SPD have decided to call early elections. Given how unpopular they are, it's hard (at least for an outsider like me) to see how this is to their advantage.

Matt

It's like committing suicide because you're afraid to die.

Makes no sense at all. They Can't win this election in four months if they can't win a SPD stronghold like NRW today.

If you are interested in a live feed of the election analysis go to www.wdr.de

German newpapers are reporting that Merkel will announce her candidacy this evening. Lets see if their information is correct. In my opinion the governours will remain where they are, and it is the CDU who is winning the elections, not CSU. I do not have a crystal ball, but I am pretty sure that the C parties are going to come out strong with one message and one candidate and that will be the CDU Vorsitzende.

Happy day? Perhaps. CDU and FDP would have needed some more preparation. It will be interesting.
I'm not a fan of red-green, on the contrary, but I have to say that I'm shocked about that style. They are elected for a full term. In our constitution, you don't have the right to give up earlier, just because you decide to give up. Again, that's typical for Schröder. He doesn't cares for the parlament and the constitution.

does this mean that Schroeder will finally go back to the playing piano like he shouldve been all along!!!!

Congrats D-land, you deserve much better than Canada's government...

I'm very surprised by the call for general elections by the SPD.
Next year they would have won, right now they are doomed to lose.

The surprising part of this result was that the CDU had such a good result, the allied FDP didn't do as well as expected.
Four years ago Rüttgers blew a large lead in the last weeks before the election, he is not such a smart fighter.
The election strategy of Merkel and her new Karl Rove seems to have paid off.

Oh happy day...... Ahhh, it's wonderful.

I don't think it is political suicide that Chancellor Schröder announced advanced national elections: They would never do it if there wasn't an advantage.
For more coverage about the election in NRW in English, check out http://grabic.blogspot.com

A new map of Germany
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/0,1518,grossbild-472679-357076,00.html

11 Christian democratic led governments
2 SPD-CDU governments, 1 SPD-FDP
2 states red-bloodred SPD-PDS

@Grendel:

maybe he just wants to do it because it would have happend anyway. The left in the SPD becomes stronger every day, even more after the defeat in NRW, and he might not have the support of the SPD Members of the Bundestag.

Now he's the one calling for early elections and doesn't get humiliated by his own folks.

And another reason may be that he wants to save the "alte Tante" SPD, and hopes that they get at least more than 30% in the upcoming election.

Maybe the SPD/Green government wants to realize early national elections in 2005 instead of 2006 because they fear the economy/unemployment and debt results would be worst in 2006 and this would result in an election defeat of unseen dimension, eventually resulting in a destruction or division of the SPD. By scheduling 2005 and possibly combining that move with the focus on a new popular message like Heuschrecken-fight/Anticapitalism, I think the SPD leadership tries to limit the damage of SPD strength and unity in the country.

I have written a comment on my new blog, an english "daughter" of kosmoblog:
kosmoblog-english.blogspot.com/2005/05/comment-new-elections-new-government.html

@Ulrich: "In our constitution, you don't have the right to give up earlier, just because you decide to give up. Again, that's typical for Schröder. He doesn't cares for the parlament and the constitution."

My first reaction too, when I read, that early elections would have to go to the German Supreme Court. Ridiculous. I was in California, Jerry Brown was Governor and Proposition 13 passed to cut taxes. Gov Brown had 3 years left in his term. The next day, Brown announced he would follow the will of the people, implement Prop 13, cut taxes, cut spending. Why doesn't Schroeder do something similar?

Nothing says electoral victory like pictures of protest babes. Where are the hot CDU madchen pics?


A wonderful day!! To see the left dissolve all over the world.

Greetings to all my American friends from a Pro-Bush CDU voter in Germany!

Johan

My heart goes out to Franka Potente at this moment. No doubt there will be plenty of flag waving in Germany in the next few months and we all know how she feels about that. If some of you would be so kind to mention Marx and Engels once or twice, it should help her through these coming dark and difficult times. Clearly there is a little room for compassion amist the gloating, and she is probably in it. Time to L'chaim.

Greetings from Florida, USA, Johan... nice to meet you :D.

And it IS a great day! :D

This is good, but it's not perfect. It's definitly good for the sleezy Anti-American tactics, but Germany's economy requires tough economic changes , one that will be deeply unpopular in Germany. Shroeder, I felt, took baby steps in this direction with Agenda 2010 and Hertz IV. Maybe he'd have done better if he weren't such a populist. Unfortunatly the CDU/CSU also strikes populist tones.
Will Merkel be better? This is completely non-obvious to me. An unhappy electorate is a prickly beast, will it tame Merkel or will Merkel tame it?

Still this is good news. The only thing better would have been an FDP sweep, but there I'm really dreaming.

Greetings from Montevideo, Uruguay.
It is a good day but ...
Someone in this post said "wonderful to see the left disolving all over the world" that is not exactly true, think Uruguay, Argentina, Brasil and worse of all Venezuela and Spain the most repulsive leftist governments those countries could have.

Participiation in this poll was higher than five years ago: 63,0 vs. 56.7 % (source: http://www.nw-news.de/nw/news/nachrichten/?sid=accc00cc9a90eaf6c44db83c2445566c&cnt=484037)

That's great because it means that the CDU didn't just win because disappointed SPD voters stayed home. On the contrary, many newspapers are speculating that Münterferings anti-capitalist rhetoric alarmed quite a few people who then voted for the CDU. If this can be confirmed by polls, it's great news!

Frank, you wrote "Will Merkel be better? This is completely non-obvious to me."
That's the question, indeed. Germany needs a structural reform, to set free fresh energies. A transformation: from a Fordist economy to a highly flexible economy, from a social state who guarantees a pension to everybody who doesn't (want) to work, to a state who gives only help for those who are in need. Short, more America.
I guess that CDU is in a much better position than SPD to do that. The problem of Schröder was that he didn't achieve to convince the unions and the traditional social democrat who sees economy still in the categories of class struggle. He did not invent a new social democratic party. Schröder is clever, but not intelligent. He failed.
Merkel has not this heavy weight at her feet. CDU-people are much more in favor to market economy (not capitalism, to be sure).
That does not mean that Merkel will be successful. What she needs to show is leadership. There are many voices, many interests in CDU. Some of them are very conservative - they don't want any change.
So it will be anything than easy for Merkel. But she will be in a much better position than Schröder has been.
(For a comment on the new election see: kosmoblog-englisch.blogspot.com)

"On a lighter note, our American friends might want to know that Chirac will have to leave his office next year anyway because he's served his max terms. His prison terms are still to come."

THAT will be a happy day, indeed!

Actually there is no limit on the number of terms for the french president. So jacko could once again lead france after 2007.

There will be an internal fight within his own party, the UMP, as to who will have the nomination jacko or Nicolas Sarkozyr.

So the idea of a new president of france is a pleasant thought, it is possible there will not be one.

Somewhat off topic: I understand "Red-Green" in the context of the SDP/Greens, but what do the colors black and yellow represent as applied to the CDU and the FDP?

I know we are not "allowed" to criticize the press, but I have a question:

Why is the FPD referred to as a "small" party when they rec'd more votes in NRW than the Greens did? Each article I have seen does not refer to the Greens as "small," just the FPD.

@AS: "Participiation in this poll was higher than five years ago: 63,0 vs. 56.7 %"

Question: Did the number of votes for FDP, Green and others stay the same, while the number of voters grew? Or did they actually lose percentage points?

Black = CDU
Yellow = FDP

Johan (pro-Bush CDU voter;) Congratulations! Ohio, U.S.A.

I'm an idiot, I know, but I wanted to clarify:

Does a new Bundesland government, such as that now in NRW, appoint new reps in the Bundesrat immediately? Or are the Bundesrat seats themselves considered non-partisan, and they just start taking orders from the new CDU government?

Hope someone more versed in German politics than I am can help me out...

<>


I always though that the main reason Kohl didn't institute welfare reform was that he'd have all of the SPD against him (and some of his own).

The advantage of having an SPD gov't in place was that they could do these things with only half the SPD fighting against it.

Being conservative and "anti-social" by definition, I don't see how the CDU can even continue the reforms Schroeder started (at least not for long, i.e. without immediate vote losses everywhere).
Obviously, CDU voters aren't going to turn SPD because of conservtive policies, but it should be noted that much of Schroeders popularity decline came from the things he did right (or at least in the reight direction). Stupid tax, industrial, economic, and foreign policies wer quite alright with the SPD voters, it seems.

But any step away from the left is a step in the right direction. And I've been waiting for the SPD to be booted out of NRW as long as I remember back...

@Ernie:
"Does a new Bundesland government, such as that now in NRW, appoint new reps in the Bundesrat immediately?"

Yes. The representatives of a Bundesland (state) in the Bundesrat are members of the goverment of the state. Usually these representatives are Staatssekretäre (under-secretaries) or Minister (secretaries) of the goverment of the state, sometimes, if there is an important topic on the agenda, the Ministerpräsident (governor) themselve chooses to represent his/her state. These representatives also cannot split their vote, so every state has to vote en bloc. The new state parliament has not convened jet. It will do so in the next month and elect the new state goverment.

@Jabba the Tut:
"Question: Did the number of votes for FDP, Green and others stay the same, while the number of voters grew? Or did they actually lose percentage points?"

They actually lost voters (2005/2000):
votes 8,243,372 7,336,411
CDU 3,695,806 2,712,176
SPD 3,059,074 3,143,179
Greens 509,219 518,295
FDP 508,354 721,558

@Cousin Dave:
"Somewhat off topic: I understand "Red-Green" in the context of the SDP/Greens, but what do the colors black and yellow represent as applied to the CDU and the FDP?"

The CDU's color is black because of their clerical roots (priests wear black dresses) (this is mainly traditional and not very important anymore). The FDP's color is yellow (sometimes also blue and yellow) for no particular reason. They just also wanted to have a "party color".

While the turn out is impressive, one has to wonder just what it would have been had these Germans been under the same threat of death as the citizens of Iraq were when they went to the polls.


While I think that the SPD getting a black eye is probably a step forward in German politics, I don't think its a big one. Unfortunately, it seems that most Germans agree with IG Metall's and the SPD's caricature of capitalism. So I think that the CDU will beat the SPD in the next election, but only by offering up a pretty tame package of reform in order to mollify the German electorate.

Since radical restructuring is pretty much off the table, one can only hope that Germany, which is still a land of considerable intellectual power, can find a way out of their current troubles that doesn't involve a complete overhaul of the state and social policies.

I belive that was a good decision and everybody should honor Schröder to prevent our country from a complet wasted year against a even higher majority in the Bundesrat.

The prsent federal system is our main problem based on the reforms of coalition between the CDU and SPD in the lat 60s.

We will see that the CDU will start to loose the state elections after gaining the power in the upcomming federal election. That has always been the case in the last decades. Anybody remembering the time in the 90s where the CDU even in baden-würtemberg lost the majority and only Bayern remain conservative in wetsern Germany with Sachsen and Thüringen in the east. All other states where ruled by the SPD and no reforms could pass the Bundesrat as we saw in the last years with the CDU having the majority. The only difference is that Schröder has more courage and seems to feel more responsibilaty for our country than Kohl in his last years.

The CDU has perhabs two years and then everything starts again until both sites can agree on a reform of our federal system. This would be a great day for our country.
To be honest both sites ruin our country with their politicle games and the unwillingness to work together to the benefit of our country and the people.

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