Welcome to the new version of European Tribune. It's just a new layout, so everything should work as before - please report bugs here.

Snap elections in NRW

by Katrin Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 04:57:29 AM EST

The Social Democrat-Greens minority government in NRW (North Rhine-Westphalia) state of Germany did far better than expected. Now they didn't get their budget through parliament, so there will be snap elections. The opposition's prospects don't look very well and it was very surprising that they didn't let the budget pass. That was suicide for fear of death.

[Friday] morning we discussed the polls in the Salon.

Here's an overview of polls since the last elections.

IM contributed these: Two instant polls:
SPD 37%, CDU 34%, Greens 13%, Pirates 6%, Left 4%, FDP 2%.
(ZDF's politbarometer)
and:
SPD 38%, CDU 34%, Greens 14%, Pirates 5%, Left 4%, FDP 2%
(Tagesschau)

front-paged by afew


[German party acronym and colour code: SPD (Social Democrats) is red, CDU (Christian Democrats) is black, Greens is (obviously) green, Pirates are orange, Left (hard left) is red too, FDP (Free Democrats; liberals) are yellow.]

Most likely Red/Green will win the elections. Theoretically possible would be a black and green coalition too. It's unlikely after the experience of Hamburg: both parties were punished hard by the voter.

Hannelore Kraft, the current prime minister, was not involved in the Agenda 2010 programme (the Hartz reforms, among others), which is a huge advantage for her. She was careful to be very cooperative in her coalition with the Greens, refraining from humiliating power play. Everyone assumes that the Greens will continue the coalition. This time it could win a majority of the seats. For the current government elections at this time are the best thing that could happen.

That's not good for the CDU. Their  leading candidate will be Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen. If he remains in office, people will wonder if he can work as minister in Berlin and campaign in NRW without neglecting one of the two. Is he perhaps not taking the election seriously? He must resign in Berlin and tell his voters that he loves being opposition leader in NRW if he isn't elected Prime Minister. Trouble is, he doesn't. :-) He wants to stay in Berlin, but the CDU hasn't got a more convincing candidate.  

The FDP, short for Fast Drei Prozent (almost three percent) :-) will not take the 5% hurdle, Die Linke possibly won't either. The Pirates could be in for the first time. So, the NRW parliament probably goes Zambia: (Thanks gk)


Display:
I hope the Pirates get in and can be in opposition to a majority red-green, that should be a good learning position for Piraten.

Anyway, is the date set yet?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 02:47:09 PM EST
The date is the 13th May.

Yes, I wish the Pirates get in too. They have a good chance, because they "inherit" those FDP voters who have an interest in civil rights, not in economic liberalism.

by Katrin on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 02:56:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Here is what the CDU will probably use as the main topic of their campaign: Das Handelsblatt, not exactly the most progressive paper we have, has an article "Hannelore Kraft, Queen of Debts". Yes, really. They have a lovely little graphic showing that NRW is the state with the highest debt. Sigh. True, and Germany's debt is higher than Greece's. The best joke is that the figures are from 2010. That's not Kraft's sins debts, but the debts of, drumroll, Norbert Röttgen.
by Katrin on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 02:58:44 PM EST
Ypsilanti

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:24:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL. No, Kraft is avoiding that thought crime. No coalition with Die Linke. Not even serious talks.
by Katrin on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:57:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's easier if it doesn't look like they'll get in anyway....
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:00:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Probably more of Jürgen Rüttgers...

5 years to go !
by pi (etrib@opsec.eu) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And Mr. Steinbrück?!

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:17:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congrats on your first diary!

[ET Moderation Technology™]

Fold inserted, NRW spelled out for distracted readers, lazy links corrected.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:12:19 PM EST
Thanks
by Katrin on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:58:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not clear from your diary that the current Government is red/green - which I presume it is from the context of your remarks.  In any case - thanks for the update!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 10:28:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank Katrin, it's her diary!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 10:38:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
[ET Moderation Technology™]

Party acronym and colour code added, some capitalisations corrected, and I NRW spelled out in English.

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

by DoDo on Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 10:37:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
On the federal level there will be no direct change; It doesn't matter for Bundesrat (federal council) purposes if the voting state government is a minority government as now or an majority government as the probable next government. So the size of the red-green block in the Bundesrat won't change.
by IM on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 03:30:18 PM EST
Christian Lindner - Bambi of the FDP - as the new top candidate in NRW makes things a bit interesting again. Maybe it's enough to just get over 5%. Not likely.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:34:43 PM EST
Hopefully not :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:44:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You know who else was once called Bambi?

Tony Blair, that's who!

I think Linder is mostly doing this because he is young enough that it won't hurt him.

by IM on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:48:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Zapatero, too!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:52:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, sometimes first impressions don't lie...
by IM on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:54:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ouch!

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 05:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, wait, different continent.

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 Mar 18th, 2012 at 07:44:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Congrats for your first diary, keep them coming!

The opposition's prospects don't look very well and it was very surprising that they didn't let the budget pass.

It was a result of everyone being ignorant of parliamentary rules:

  1. The government wanted to get the budget passed with the FDP's votes on the third reading, so they dissed the Left Party (who wanted a comprehensive free train ticket for the socially weak).
  2. The FDP wanted to play game, but thought they can force budget cuts by voting against some parts of the budget upon second reading.
  3. Parliamentarians were reminded however in the last hour that by NRW's rules not passing even a part of the budget upon second reading means its failure.
  4. Certain that they will win whatever the outcome, the government went ahead with a budget containing no bones for either opposition party, both of which committed themselves previously.

Hannelore Kraft, the current prime minister, was not involved in the Agenda 2010 programme

Maybe so, but she was a loud supporter even in recent times.

She was careful to be very cooperative in her coalition with the Greens, refraining from humiliating power play.

True, with the exception of pushing new coal, but there the leaders of the Greens folded quickly. What surprises me is that apparently they (the NRW Greens) weren't punished for that in opinion polls. (Either that or such a voter loss was compensated by gains from other parties.)

The Pirates could be in for the first time.

According to what I read, the Pirate competition is one of the main problems for the NRW Left Party, as protest voters turned their way. (The other is internal struggles.) I still hope for both of them making it into parliament as opposition, though.

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

by DoDo on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 04:43:54 PM EST
Modifying my calculation for the seat allocation assuming Die Linke squeezes in:

Allocating 181 seats to 37-38% SPD, 34% CDU, 13-14% Green and 5-6% Pirates 5% Linke one gets

72( +5) SPD
65( -2) CDU
23( - ) Green
11(+11) Pirates
10( -1) Left
0(-13) FDP

The only difference is that Black/Green is no longer a majority.

There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Mar 16th, 2012 at 05:15:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's not forget the other two states with early elections (both of which had their previous elections in 2009):

  • In Saarland, where a CDU-FDP-Greens "Jamaica Coalition" failed on the disintegration of the FDP, and where the vote will be held this Sunday, things seem to head towards a CDU-SPD Grand Coalition: the last polls have CDU and SPD level at 33-34% (a big gain for the SPD, likely mostly from the Left party), the Left Party at 15-16% (a 5-6-point loss), the Pirates at 6%, the Greens (who at least don't run with the leader who made Jamaica a reality and who had too close ties to the FDP) right at the 5% limit, FDP at 2-3% (hopefully failing).

  • In Schleswig-Holstein, where a CDU-FDP coalition (matching the federal one) won elections only thanks to the unproportional elements of the election system, a lawsuit of the Greens and left-leaning Danish minority party SSW won a ruling forcing a change of the election system and new elections. These will be held a week before the NRW one in early May. The latest poll indicates a comfortable red-green majority: CDU 34% (slight gain), SPD 33% (big gain vs. last elections, ultimately at the expense of the FDP), Greens 15% (slight gain), Pirates right at the 5% limit, SSW steady at 4% (but they are guaranteed an exception), FDP and the Left Party would drop out at 4% resp. 3%.

In short, these two elections could further weaken the federal government's sway over the upper house of Germapny's parliament, the Bundesrat, which consists of representatives of the state governments (which are obliged to vote together even if from different parties in a coalition, thus the SPD in a Grand Coalition could at least force an abstaining).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 19th, 2012 at 11:14:06 AM EST
Eurointelligence Daily Briefing: Geithner says European fiscal adjustment policies are futile (20.03.2012)
Impoverished cities in Northrhine-Westphalia don't want to pay for East-Germany any more

The anticipated elections in Northrhine-Westphalia, with 18m inhabitants Germany's largest federal state, put a strain on intra-German solidarity. Several mayors of highly indebted cities in the state have asked to put an end to the intra-German solidarity mechanism that sees billions of euros flow from the West to the East of the country, Süddeutsche Zeitung reports on its front page. ,,The solidarity pact for the East is a perverse instrument that no longer has any justification", Ullrich Sierau, the social democratic mayor of Dortmund told the paper. The solidarity pact foresees that €156bn will have been transferred between 2005 and 2019 between the West and the East irrespective of the financial situation of the payer and the receiver. The mayors of Essen and Oberhausen told the paper similar things. All of these cities are heavily indebted and had to close public institutions while some of the cities in the east were doing better financially.



There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:06:53 AM EST
Oh, the greedy East. It's only a ritual we have before all elections in West Germany, and so convenient. The decay of the infrastructure is not the mayors' fault and not the fault of state or federal policies. Don't take that too seriously.
by Katrin on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 03:46:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]


There are three stories about the euro crisis: the Republican story, the German story, and the truth. -- Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 07:11:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]