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* Traditionally a SPD stronghold, home of former chancellor Helmut Schmidt

The seven years with the SPD's absence from power are connected to the turbulent rise and fall of a right-populist, Ronald Barnabas Schill.

(From RotDorn)

Schill was a judge, who made a name with strict sentences handed out in a theatrical way, earning the epithet Richter Gnadenlos ( = Judge Merciless), and at the same time also played for media attention as high-society playboy. Then he formed a party sharing his name (SCHILL), with an 'anti-establishment'  and law-and-order platform, the latter verging on xenophobia.

In the 2001 elections, he achieved a shocking 19.4%. The CDU fell back to a mere 26.2%. Yet, like Schüssel in Austria with Haider, CDU leader Ole von Beust decided against a crodon sanitaire, coalitioned with the right-populists to get into power, and let them destroy themselves once in office (whatever the collateral damage).

That self-destruction first manifested itself in fallouts between members and corruption affairs. Then Schill was accused of snorting cocaine by a party member. Then Schill's promotion of his own girlfriend led to his dismissal, in 2003. Schill then went before TV cameras with a totally disintegrated look (below) and took revenge by making public that von Beust is gay.

(From Dirk Burkhard)

But that backfired on him, conservative CDU voters stood by their man while others got sympathetic. Being in trouble federally, the SPD completely failed to capitalise on the situation, and when von Beust called snap elections, he got that stunning 47.2%.

Meanwhile, Schill was excluded by his own party, at the same time, he fought off the cocaine accusations with the testing of a hair sample. However, later evidence suggested tricksery and a second, secret, positive test.

Then a much more serious accusation surfaced: Schill was implicated in an affair of forced prescription of psychopharmatica and illegal internment of suspected youth criminals at a closed youth facility. He fled to Brazil, returning to Germany only last year.

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

by DoDo on Fri Feb 22nd, 2008 at 12:38:52 PM EST

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