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These elections are not only a marker for the Federal elections in terms of the race, they will determine the composition of the Bundesrat, something like the upper house of the German parliament, which gets to vote on around half the laws that any government can make.

Currently, a potential CDU/CSU-FDP coalition has 36 out of 69 votes in the Bundesrat (coalitions at the state level vote as blocs in the Bundesrat and votes need to pass with aboslute majority, so one coalition partner can block a piece of legislation). As per the early returns, these elections could shift 7 votes away from the CDU (Saarland and Thuringia, where it had an absolute majority), but 4 from the CDU-SPD coalition in Saxony to a CDU-FDP coalition.

33 out of 69 is a minority, meaning that the left can form a block on a lot of legislation if it manages to hold together. However, the game isn't over yet. The Bundestagwahl coincides with elections in the state Schleswig-Holstein, which also has 4 votes. Those elections might end up deciding the future coalition, if the CDU and FDP manage to eke out a slim majority in the Bundestag.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 12:52:21 PM EST
Thinking quick. Would for example a renouncement of the Atomausstieg need to pass the Bundesrat? What about changing the EEG? (IIRC both.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 01:57:23 PM EST
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Even the FDP has given up its opposition, officially (some friend at a lobbying arm of a major solar company here in Berlin told me). Of course, they might still gut it by cutting back the rates aggressively. But that's going to be a fight.

Will have to look at the Atomausstieg

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 02:01:09 PM EST
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IIRC the two times the EEG feed-in rates were changed, that had to pass the Bundesrat, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 02:02:23 PM EST
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Ah, well remembered. In 2004, the debate in the Bundesrat even went to the Vermittlungsausschuss. In 2008, as part of Klimapaket I.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 02:18:47 PM EST
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The Atomausstiegsgesetz was also passed by the Bundesrat. At the time, Schröder threatened that he would pass by the Bundesrat if needed. It is not clear to me that he would have been able to, constitutionally. As it is an existing law, it should be more difficult now.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Aug 30th, 2009 at 02:25:03 PM EST
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