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of a renaissance for red-green. I believe I saw a national poll just recently that had red-green beating the pants off every other constellation, including the actual governing "grand" coalition, as people's favorite model. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that SPD and Greens would actually get a plurality of votes together. Not yet, anyway.

But the Bremen elections will have interesting repercussions. The logic of democracy and the logic of power demand that the social-democrats form a coalition with the greens in Bremen. But if they do, they set a clear signal that the days of the grand coalition in Berlin may be numbered. And if they stick with the christian democrats in Bremen in order to avoid sending that signal, the green and the linke will only continue to swell. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 07:52:08 PM EST
How big (in terms of proportion of the population) is Bremen? Is it big enough to worry the big parties that they're losing representation there?
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the smallest state, with just 664,000 inhabitants, or .8% of the population of the country as a whole. And, just as importantly, it has no rural population. The three city-states - Bremen, Hamburg, and Berlin - naturally lean left.

The significance of these elections doesn't derive from Bremen being representative of the rest of the country. It's largely symbolic (although in case the SPD forms a new red-green coaltion in Bremen, this would mean Merkel looses her two-third majority in the second chamber, the bundesrat, and as a result won't be able to operate there quite as unimpeded).

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:38:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be great if there will be a red-green coalition.

I don't know how much influence Bremen will have, though. But it's in the interest of the SPD not too stick too tight with the grand coalition, they don't want to perpetuate it forever, after all.

So, let's speculate and say there will be a red-green coalition. The next elections in the German states are January next year, in Hessen and Niedersachsen, and after that Hamburg, in the second quarter of 2008, and Bayern, in the third quarter of 2008. That's four more states before the next Federal elections.

I don't see Bayern going to the SPD, and Niedersachsen is going to be tough. The SPD+Greens need to gain 10% in both Hessen and Niedersachsen, and 8% in Hamburg (in Bayern, over 25%). Will we see an end to the grand coalition if the SPD manages to get a coalition with the greens or the linke in Hessen/Niedersachsen?

P.S. In Berlin, the linke were divided, and lost more than they had to. In Bremen, they were united and gained a lot. Of course, in Berlin they were in the government, but I think the story is clear here.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As much as I wish it, I don't see Koch losing in Hessen, unfortunately. Easpecially with those voters from East Hessen...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian Wulff in Niedersachsen is also one of the more popular politicians in Germany, and according to wiki (in German) Ole von Beust won the last elections in Hamburg on personality. The SPD does have a great candidate in Hamburg for the next round. The candidates in Niedersachsen and Hessen still have to prove themselves.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen any polls for Hessen - it's too far out (01/28/08). The state is a traditional stronghold of the SPD, albeit with a pretty conservative streak of social-democratic voters. You're probably right about Koch. We'll see.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 08:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check state polls for Hessen here. From the last poll, if the Left Party would trip over the limit, it would actually prevent a right-wing majority (though probably still only a Grand Coalition under Koch would be the result). However, you are right it is far away, and who knows what populist theme Koch plans to ride until then...

While working-class Frankfurt and the Protestant Northeast may be SPD strongholds, the belt of Frankfurt (where I lived) was mixed, the sides of the Taunus are full of well-off conservatives, and the East (region of Fulda) is dominated by an arch-conservative CDU. (Do you remember the Hohmann affair? "Tätervolk"? He was from there. [Incidentally, one eighth of my ancestry also came from there.])

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:00:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure I remember. My personal memory of Hessian politics goes back to the days of Holger Boerner. It's overall a conservative state, even if "culturally" traditionally pro-SPD. I suspect religion may have something to do with it. I believe the north of the state is mostly protestant and therefore SPD-leaning. Whereas the Fulda area is one of the most intensely catholic spots in the country, and of course staunchly CDU. Beautiful region nonetheless.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe I saw a national poll just recently that had red-green beating the pants off every other constellation

Could you dig that up? I couldn't find anything.

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, I found this pre-election poll:

Agreement with "an end of the Grand Coalition in Berlin would be sad", in Bremen (and in parantheses all Germany):

CDU-voters 78 (64)
SPD-voters 53 (61)
FDP-voters 41 (43)
Greens-voters 32 (53)
Left-Party-voters 30 (36)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here. Once the flash animation has finished loading, click the Wunsch-Koalition-tap. It's 27% for Red-Green, 26% for Black-Yellow, only 23% for the grand coalition, and 13% for Black-Yellow-Green (not gonna happen in a hurry!). It is however true that in the same poll 54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is however true that in the same poll 54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

Maybe that the SPD voters are afraid of Black-Yellow and the CDU/CSU voters are afraid of Red-Green?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's that. But seriously, what the heck kind of question is "Would you regret a collapse of the Grand Coalition?" (Wuerden Sie ein Auseinanderbrechen der Grossen Koalition bedauern?) I think what the responses show above all is that voters are sobbing suckers of sentimentality and stifling stalwarts of stability :-)

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes a lot of courage to answer "no". That's a triple negative.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

Indeed at the same time 62% want to change the government!...

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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