Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I'm not so happy with your analysis, though I have to admit to be a conservative.

Die Linke is a radical party. Important party members have repeatedly claimed, that the BRD was as responsible for the wall as the DDR, including the shots on people who tried to go over the wall. They glorify the DDR in many ways, not acknowledging, that the DDR has spied its citizens, imprisoned ... (I think you know what as you live in Hungary); and the DDR has economical completely failed. After the fall of the wall the nominally wages increased within some years by 1000% (thousend). Todays wellfare is higher than the average DDR income.

As well I think it is not useful to compare with the last Hesse election, but with the federal election in 2005. I'm pretty sure, that if in the federal election next year the people of Hesse and Lower Saxony decide to vote as they did in the latest state elections, a CDU/FDP coalition would be possible. In Bavaria and BW e.g. people will vote overwhelmingly conservative. The last state elections were under special circumstances dominated by federal policy. The current elections were not dominated by the federal policy.
The most important issue on state level is education, where the federal level has no influence. And Koch had a good friend of him as minister for education who failed to do a good job (I don't live in Hesse, but there were several people refering to it), whereas Wulf (for whom I have voted) did a good job on education. A petition for a referendum initiated by a SPD friedly organisation shortly before the election was a complete failure.

As well I would "deconstruct" the quote from FT, that "It is now unlikely that the Government in Berlin will be able to undertake any important reforms.", because this was unlikely before. How should a result have looked better for the coalition? The CDU was recently so strong on the state level, that the SPD would have been destroyed, if there would not have come more favorable results. Therefore a bigger winning of Roland Koch would not have strengthend the coalition in my opinion.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Sat Feb 2nd, 2008 at 06:29:58 PM EST

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