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Angela's Pesky Election

by dvx Sun May 9th, 2010 at 07:37:22 AM EST

By now we've all been inundated by mainstream media reporting (quite accurately, for a change) that German chancellor Angela Merkel has been dragging her feet on the Greece bailout out of concern for the elections in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) on May 9th.

Why is this election so important? And why is the CDU/FDP coalition in trouble?

Promoted by Jrme. We'll have a results thread later today
Polls closed at 18h CET, exit polls are out, see comments -DoDo


The first thing we need to consider is that NRW is the most populous single state in the nation, with over 17 million - 20% of the German population, and more populous than either the Netherlands or Belgium. And of those, 22% have what is called a "migration background" (if we include ethnic Germans immigrating from Eastern Europe). Though not the largest state in terms of land area, it is still large for Germany, and contains both rural and urban, both rust-belt and service-industry regions. In short, we might well consider NRW as a 1:5 scale model of the country.

There is also some symbolism involved in this election, as the in the 2005 state elections, CDU and FDP prevailed over SPD/Greens - presaging - and hastening - the downfall of Schröder's coalition in September of that year.

In the five years since then, CDU/FDP government led by Jürgen Rüttgers has been, for a CDU government, remarkably benign (perhaps in part due to the fact that NRW is the traditional center for what passes for a labor-oriented wing of the CDU). Migration issues were raised to Ministry level, While in Duisburg and Fail City, CDU mayors played a key role in building public acceptance for the construction of prominent Turkish-Islamic (DITIB) mosques.

At the beginning of the year, Rüttgers looked like a shoo-in. Merkel and Westerwelle had won their clear majority in the national elections, and the SPD had turned in a lackluster performance in the NRW municipal elections just a couple of months before. None of the inevitable goofs, breakdowns and gaffes that go with politics and governing had caused any more than a minor inconvenience. The smart money was on a renewed CDU/FDP mandate, with CDU/Greens being widely considered as the only remotely conceivable alternative.

And then the wheels came off.

In November, the brand-new coalition enacted a so-called "Growth Acceleration Act" containing numerous unfunded tax breaks. One particularly egregious provision was a reduction of VAT on hotel stays from 19% to 7%. This went over so badly with the electorate in general that Rüttgers and his FDP-copilot Andreas Pinkwart begged Merkel - unsuccessfully - to rescind this tax break.

Nor did it help when it came out in January that a hotel magnate had donated over € 1 million to the FDP over the course of a year.

And then Guido Westerwelle started ranting about "late Roman decadence" after the Constitutional Court ruled the stringent Hartz IV welfare system unconstitutional.

So much for the FDP.

Then the CDU had to go shoot itself in the foot. Apparently, the NRW CDU was inviting corporations to "sponsor" their state party convention, with € 20,000 buying you a space to set up your booth along with face time with Rüttgers.

For their part, SPD and Greens have both been running a professional, screwup-free campaign. The CDU has been trying to paint the SPD galleon figure, Hannelore Kraft, as planning to form a coalition with the Left Party - something she has firmly (and rather convincingly) denied.

Anyway, this is about when commentators started seeing an SPD/Greens coalition within reach.

Up to this point, the downside for Merkel was not so great. True, with NRW, the CDU/FDP coalition would lose its majority in the Bundesrat. That would make it more difficult for the coalition to enact certain legislation, including ambitious fiscal measures. Still, even without NRW the CDU would still participate in the governments of a (voting) majority of states - and Merkel demonstrated amply in the Grand Coalition that she can horse-trade with the best of them. And the upside for her would be that she could blame the loss on the FDP, cutting Westerwelle down to size.

Because it wouldn't be her fault.

And then came Greece.

The bailout is hugely unpopular (a trend helped along by Germany's trashiest newspaper, usually a reliable CDU ally). And state elections in Germany are also to a greater or lesser extent unofficial referendums on the performance of whatever coalition is in power at federal level. So it's no wonder she stalled.

And because she was unable to stall long enough, losing this election will be her fault.

A further casualty of a CDU loss in NRW would be moderation. As noted above, the NRW CDU is astonishingly enlightened by CDU standards. Now, some fear that a loss would be taken by the party as a signal that a moderate, open and relatively accepting course is not a path to electoral success. Which would strengthen the Roland Koch types within the party.

Neck and Neck

Hannelore KraftJürgen Rüttgers

Right now, all the pundits are calling it "too close to call". The conservative FAZ even has SPD and CDU head to head at 37%, Greens at 10%, FDP 6% and the Left at 5% (MoE undisclosed).

This Sunday's election looks to be interesting indeed.

Display:
A lot will depend on just how much people will want to punish "those on top". But I expect Merkel's room to maneuver is about to become severely restricted.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 01:33:26 PM EST
What is your guess or maybe I should ask hunch?

Same question goes for DoDo?

I definitely hope Kraft will win - hope she is not going the way of Ypsilanti.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:05:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At this point, I would bet for a Grand Coalition under Rüttgers... but hope that the SPD's bump in the polls continued over the weekend.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 10:41:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and thanks for a great overview - as I have not been able to really keep up-to-date.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:13:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is also some symbolism involved in this election, as the in the 2005 state elections, CDU and FDP prevailed over SPD/Green

Just to emphasize NRW leaders' importance: the SPD PM who lost that election was Peer Steinbrück, who became Germany's finance minister in the 2005-9 Grand Coalition federal government (the one angering both Sarkozy and Paul Krugman); and Steinbrück's predecessor as NRW PM was none other than the insufferable Wolfgang Clement, economy super-minister under Schröder and later coal lobbyist and SPD backstabber.

The conservative FAZ even has SPD and CDU head to head at 37%, Greens at 10%, FDP 6% and the Left at 5% (MoE undisclosed).

Check all polls here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 01:53:41 PM EST
... not to mention Franz Müntefering.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:13:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is Johannes Rau, too: Clement's predecessor as NRW PM. In the middle of that, in the eighties, he was a (failed) chancellor candidate. And after he gave the NRW government to Clement, he was elected (figurehead) federal president of Germany (1999-2004).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 10:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The CDU has been trying to paint the SPD galleon figure, Hannelore Kraft, as planning to form a coalition with the Greens - something she has firmly (and rather convincingly) denied.

Walking into the Ypsilanti trap, IMO.

Anyway, this is about when commentators started seeing an SPD/Green coalition within reach.

However, the latest polls indicate that a Grand Coalition may be the only option. As usual, that would damage the SPD, but also as usual, they would see no problem with it...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 01:56:06 PM EST
to form a coalition with the GreensLeft Party

Corrected in your diary too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 02:16:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Whoops, thanks!

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:00:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Walking into the Ypsilanti trap, IMO.

I imagine that example was enough of a deterrent to keep her from ever attempting it.

As for the polls, fluctuations within the MoE could radically change the outlook.

I for one am not ruling out a GC with SPD as the senior partner.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:38:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I imagine that example was enough of a deterrent to keep her from ever attempting it.

What I mean is that by declaring that she won't coalition with the Left Party, she narrowed the SPD's post-election options, and allowed herself to be pushed by a red socks campaign out of an IMO baseless fear. The SPD's complex about the Left Party is really sad to watch.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 10:55:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm guessing its not the Ypsilanti, Michigan speed trap?

What is the rule for forming a government in a German state parliament - a majority of votes cast or a majority of seated representatives?

If its votes cast, there may be a policy range where The Left would sit in opposition but abstain on the vote of confidence and, eg, free their deputies to conscience votes on the state budget.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:23:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Majority of votes in parliament that approves the government (and sometimes before that the PM separately). Note that this approving majority is not necessarily a government majority: a party (or individual MPs) might choose to tolerate a minority government.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:33:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So for tactical purposes, it's majority of votes actually cast, while for psychological purposes it's majority of seats.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 07:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... you might ask what legislative body would be daft enough to do something like that based on seats, but the vote to squash a filibuster in the US Senate is not 60% of Senators voting but 60% of Senators in the body.

So its the US Senate that is daft enough to do that.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 09:43:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, majority. By government majority, I mean a majority consisting of the representatives of parties that signed a coalition agreement and have ministers in the government. But you can approve a government without being part of it.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 10th, 2010 at 02:18:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... majority of seats?

IOW, the sole middle ground between joining the government and voting against that government being formed is voting to approve the government without being in it.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Mon May 10th, 2010 at 10:56:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More or less. But there can be different levels of this, too:
  1. the minority government and the party tolerating it can sign an agreement (this happened in Hessen), an agreement that may specify some crucial laws which the opposition party will approve too (the annual budgets for example);
  2. or there is just a written agreement between the parties about the government approval vote;
  3. or there is no agreement with an opposition party at all, only a vocal agreement with some opposition MPs, who may or may not be rebels within their party (I have now read on Wikipedia that a minority government in West Berlin in the eighties was such a case, with some freewheeling FDP MPs supporting a CDU minority government).


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 10th, 2010 at 02:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the five years since then, CDU/FDP government led by Jürgen Rüttgers has been, for a CDU government, remarkably benign (perhaps in part due to the fact that NRW is the traditional center for what passes for a labor-oriented wing of the CDU). Migration issues were raised to Ministry level, While in Duisburg and Fail City, CDU mayors played a key role in building public acceptance for the construction of prominent Turkish-Islamic (DITIB) mosques.

This despite some anti-foreigner escapades by Rüttgers: a decade ago he coined the slogan Kinder statt Inder ( = children instead of Indians [invited as highly qualified workers]), and more recently he deemed outsourcing stupid on the reason that Romanian workers are lazy.

But, to Rüttgers's credit(?), I can't decide whether these were outings of a real xenophobe or hapless attempts to woo the base (a la Stoiber). I remember him as one of the less social-conservative ideologising ministers of Helmut Kohl (he was minister for education and research).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 02:12:00 PM EST
Yes, and then there were his remarks about the Chinese ("choke them until they find Duisburg beautiful") and Romanians. But I think that's more because he's a provincial boob than because he's an active xenophobe. Certainly a racist would not see the need for a ministry for migration issues, nor tolerate someone like Armin Laschet, who certainly says all the right things.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:11:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for this. A few more of these and I might start to have some comprehension of German politics. I can hope.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat May 8th, 2010 at 10:35:01 PM EST
ARD exit poll:

CDU: 34.5%
SPD: 34.5%
Greens: 12.5%
FDP: 6.5%
Left Party: 6.0%

ZDF exit poll:

SPD: 35.0%
CDU: 34.0%
Greens: 12.5%
FDP: 6.5%
Left Party: 5.5%

If that holds, congrats to dvx for his hunch!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:03:46 PM EST
With those numbers, it might just work out for a thin Red-Green majority, in which case the SPD won't sink further into identity crisis and there will be an opposition pulling the Overton Window from the left.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:06:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Alternatively, we can say it's the Greens' choice. They get to pick the next government of NRW.

Either way, the FDP got their free market-loving asses thoroughly whupped. W00T!

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:15:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Live stream here.

The head of the Greens just said that a coalition with the SPD would be her first choice.

Kraft is speaking to her supporters right now. lots of cheering.

Her message: "The SPD is back!"

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kraft just came out in favor or Red/Green.

... and she addresses her supporters with the traditional "Genossinnen und Genossen" ("comrades").

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:26:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And now back to our regularly scheduled gin and tonic.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:27:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched RTL news. Peter Klöppel seemed depressed...

Now watching ZDF on livestream. Greens rep attacks Rüttgers hard for blaming the federal political situation for the election loss, saying that the Greens fought a campaign with local themes and doubled their votes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:08:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we can say it's the Greens' choice.

Not necessarily, it's very thin. (Also, Özdemir made it quite clear a week ago that Red-Green is first choice.)

The ARD and ZDF seat projections at the moment give the same number of seats to CDU and SPD, but ARD's would make either of them + Greens one short of majority, ZDF's would give those combinations a majority of one. If SPD's advantage in the final count will be worth one more seat, that one seat might make out the coalition majority.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:43:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The current ARD seat projection is just the case I drew up:

SPD 67
CDU 66
Greens 24
FDP 13
Left Party 11

(Total: 181, Majority: 91, SPD+Greens = 91)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:11:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ZDF's is the same picture, but they give one overhang mandate more to CDU and SPD each.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:12:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry, the translation tool doesn't work for me. However it looks like the CDU-FDP lost its majority.

Landtagswahl in NRW: Schwarz-Gelb verliert Mehrheit | tagesschau.de

Nach nur fünf Jahren an der Macht ist die Koalition aus CDU und FDP in Nordrhein-Westfalen am Ende. Bei der Landtagswahl verlor das schwarz-gelbe Bündnis unter Ministerpräsident Jürgen Rüttgers (CDU) nach der Hochrechnung seine Mehrheit und kommt gemeinsam nur noch auf 41 Prozent.

But the SPD seems to have been loosing too. It seems the big winner are the Greens.

Landtagswahl in NRW: Schwarz-Gelb verliert Mehrheit | tagesschau.de

SPD verliert erneut

[Bildunterschrift: Schlechtes Ergebnis, dennoch Jubel: Wahlparty in der SPD-Zentrale in Düsseldorf ]
Auch die SPD verschlechterte sich noch einmal gegenüber ihrem Ergebnis von 2005, das mit 37,1 Prozent das schwächste für die Sozialdemokraten seit den 50er-Jahren gewesen war. Die SPD kommt der Hochrechnung zufolge auf 34,4 Prozent und liegt damit knapp hinter der CDU.

Gewinner der Wahl sind die Grünen. Sie verdoppelten gegenüber 2005 ihren Stimmenanteil fast von 6,2 auf 12,2 Prozent - das ist das beste Ergebnis, das sie je in Nordrhein-Westfalen hatten. Die Linkspartei schafft mit sechs Prozent erstmals den Einzug in den Düsseldorfer Landtag.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Definitely.

And right now ARD is saying that Red/Green has a 1-seat majority.

Of course, the night is still young.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:22:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They also have CDU and SPD level right now. But by past experience, the SPD shall move up again as counting progresses in the cities.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:30:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now CDU ahead by 0.2%, but seat projection still gives Red-Green a one-seat majority.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:02:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In ZDF's just released next projection, SPD remains ahead by 0.2% and Red-Green retains majority on seats, but SPD and CDU are now level on seats like in ARD's.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How big a shift in seats is this?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:56:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Current ARD and ZDF projections of vote share and (vote share in 2005):
CDU: 34.3-34.7% (44.8%)
SPD: 34.5% (37.1%)
Greens: 12.2-12.4% (6.2%)
FDP: 6.6-6.8% (6.2%)
Left Party: 5.5-5.7% (3.1%)

Current ARD and ZDF projections of seats and (seats won in 2005):
CDU: 67-68 (89)
SPD: 66-68 (74)
Greens: 24-25 (12)
FDP: 13 (12)
Left Party: 11 (0)

It's roughly proportional, its a proportional election after all, save for overhang mandates. But there is some extra shift in the seats because of the Left Party's entry into parliament.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 03:37:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So a loss for the SPD, too, but a definite shift to the left with the Greens and Left Party gains.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 03:41:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. But for the SPD it feels like a gain (and for the FDP like a loss) because of the federal elections in-between.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:01:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ARD, 21:05: now they see the CDU 0.3% and one seat ahead... with that, CDU+Greens would have a majority of one.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 03:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ZDF updated its projection after 1 hour 50 minutes, they still see the SPD ahead by 0.1%, and their seat projection is unchanged.

Meanwhile, I checked the official count, which does not yet post state-wide summary, only the result of constituencies that already finished counting. Most large cities (Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Cologne) are still undeclared, while most rural areas declared. As the cities tend to tilt left, I still suspect the current ARD, ZDF projections (even if with correction factors) uare a bit skewed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:07:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greens above 20% in Bielefeld and Bonn. Left Party above 10% in Düsseldorf III, and near it in -- Bielefeld. Now that in Bielefeld, is not a usual correlation.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:20:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Düsseldorf Duisburg. Also the place where the CDU got least (21.2%).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:25:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Others" are 6.5% at the moment -- the ZDF talking head just said that Pirates are 2%.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:24:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll be interested to see how many votes go to Pro NRW, the right-wing xeno party.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There also seems to be a shift to the left in the national Parliament in Berlin. The CDU is losing its majority.

Schwarz-Gelb verliert Mehrheit im Bundesrat | tagesschau.de

Die Niederlage für Schwarz-Gelb bei der Landtagswahl in Nordrhein-Westfalen hat auch für die Bundesregierung weitreichende Folgen. Union und FDP haben jetzt keine Mehrheit mehr in der Länderkammer.

[Bildunterschrift: Nicht nur in Düsseldorf, auch im Bundesrat in Berlin gibt es neue politische Mehrheitsverhältnisse. ]
Bislang verfügten die sieben von Union und FDP geführten Bundesländer über 37 der 69 Stimmen in der Länderkammer. Die in der Regel erforderliche absolute Mehrheit liegt bei 35 Stimmen. Mit der Abwahl der CDU/FDP-Landesregierung in Düsseldorf verliert Schwarz-Gelb die sechs Stimmen des bevölkerungsreichsten Bundeslandes und kommt nur noch auf 31 Sitze.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:33:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The upper house of the federal parliament, that is.

The Bundesrat is composed of representatives of the state governments. That is, if there is a coalition government in a state, the state's representatives will have to represent all coalition parties, which means abstaining in case of conflict.

It's not CDU but CDU/CSU+FDP that is losing a majority: with the representatives of states with CDU+SPD, CDU+Greens and CDU+FDP+Greens governments, the CDU/CSU will continue to influence the vote of a big majority in the Bundesrat, regardless of what coalition forms in NRW now.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:44:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Upps, your right, my mistake I meant the upperHouse and federal just couldn't think of the english words. :-(
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - German coalition 'suffers key regional poll loss'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party and its coalition allies have been defeated in regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, exit polls suggest.

If confirmed, this could see Mrs Merkel's national coalition lose its majority in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat.

The campaign has been overshadowed by the government's decision to contribute to a huge rescue package for Greece.

Meanwhile many cities in NRW are on the brink of bankruptcy.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany Is Doomed.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 03:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... and remember that it was already the case that Europe.Is.Doomed.

This therefore of course implies that Europe.is.SO.FRACKING.Doomed.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:29:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Merkel's coalition suffers defeat in key state election | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 09.05.2010
Exit polls show that Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right coalition parties have suffered huge losses in elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, robbing her government of a majority in the upper house of parliament. 

Exit polls by public broadcaster ARD showed Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) won 34.3 percent of the vote, down 10 percentage points from the last vote in 2005 and their worst showing in the state ever. The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) didn't do much better with some 34.4 percent of the vote. 

However, with the market-friendly Free Democrats, the CDU's current coalition partner, coming in with only 6.6 percent of the vote, the SPD could form a coalition with the Greens. According to the exit polls, the Greens almost doubled their showing from the last state election and secured 12.5 percent. The Left Party won 6 percent.

It was the first test for the Chancellor Angela Merkel's six-month-old coalition CDU and FDP government. A victory for the SPD and the Greens would cost the ruling government its majority in the Bundesrat, the upper house of parliament which represents the 16 federal states.

by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:51:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Rüttgers is on camera right now, admitting defeat.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:44:31 PM EST
He's blaming his defeat on "a bunch of causes", assumes "political responsibility".

Will conduct coalition negotiations so as to keep "extremist parties" out of government.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 12:46:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greens rep attacks Rüttgers hard for blaming the federal political situation for the election loss, saying that the Greens fought a campaign with local themes and doubled their votes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:09:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ZDF "web politics expert" opines that it's not that bloggers influenced the election (by exposing the CDU's small scandals), more that leakers with an agenda now used them instead of tradmed to place damaging news.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:08:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FDP yuppie in ZDF's studio. He gives off standard neolib tirade about releasing the potential of mid-tier companies by reducing their loads, meaning tax cuts. Reporter attacks him, what does he want to cut? They guy was prepared: he instantly names coal subsidies. But the reporter (a young woman) presses on, it's a bigger sum, gets a more bland answer without specifics.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:29:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now a young Green in the studio; she hopes for a left-wing coalition, with the Left Party if necessary, says the left Party is no issue for them, it's SPD and Left Party that must get along.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 02:32:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
At least cleavage isn't an issue....



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 01:12:24 PM EST
I've started a new results diary here.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt t gmail dotcom) on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 04:19:46 PM EST
Thanks, all

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anas Nin
by Crazy Horse on Sun May 9th, 2010 at 08:05:02 PM EST


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