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Countdown Germany: Day -38

by jandsm Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 04:04:56 AM EST

Promoted by Colman. Our very own German election news service. Excellent!

Germany is little more than a month away from new elections. The nation is gripped by..... well, a debate why the weather this summer is so bad and how happy anyone is about the start of the Bundesliga session.

This close to the federal, one would to expect more excitement, but so far, it isn't happening. But things may change from now on: campaigns are kicking off next week. The chancellor starts this saturday in Hanover, which happens to be my hometown. Angela Merkel, who managed to lose that all important aura of inevitability, will present her "team of competence" (Kompetenzteam) next week - or what is left of it (more below)

Thus, I want to kick of a daily news round-up in the German elections. Today in the news:

  • Or may be not: Supreme Court won't decide fast
  • Bavaria: Stoiber versus the East
  • Wishful thinking: CDU/CSU aims at 45 percent
  • Germany's exploding deficit
  • Tasteless sausages
  • Funny stuff.

The German Supreme Court

On tuesday, the Supreme Court of the Bundesrepublik heard the oral arguments on the case of two members of parliament suing against the presidents decision to dissolve parliament. Werner Schulz and Jelena Hoffmann are arguing, the chancellor "faked" the vote of no-confidence, thus making the whole process un-constitutional. Hoffmann is represented by my old law supervisor Prof. Hans Peter Schneider. He made a brilliant legal argument for Mrs Hoffmann who for several months now claims she doesn't want to be forced to withdraw her confidence to a chancellor she completely trusts. She already lost any chance to be reelected.

According to several articles, the 2.senate of the Court did not give any clear signal on which way it may decide.

Today however German newspaper report, there won't be a fast decision. According to the FAZ the court announced the earliast day to deliver a judgemenet will be Ausgust 22.

2 more weeks to concentrate on procedural matters instead on policy substance for the public and media.

Bavaria: Stoiber versus the East

In the 1990's, Edmund Stoiber was a phenomenon. He seemed to be inevitable as Germany's first chancellor from Bavaria. Then, he crashed in flames in front of 21 million Germans in the TV debates (the first since 1980). It is hard to explain the experience: After 90 minutes of the second debate, he was finished. The SPD won the elections because of the absentee ballots, send in on the friday after the debate (which was thursday, 9 days before the election). Schröder's anti-war strategy brought him back into the game, but it was really Stoiber who gave him a second chance, which he wasted.

Stoiber never got over it and developed into a nightmare for the conservatives, because he seems to see as the natural leader of the parties (CDU and CSU) and best possible chancellor. Today, he is on the frontpages for two terrible blunders he committed:

  • He gave a speech in which he said that he could not accept Eastern Germany to play a significant role in the next elections, because he didn't want the "frustrated" to chose the next chancellor. This comes a week after another conservative claimed the "prolarization" in East to be responsible for a mother's terrible serial killing of 9 babies of herself. This is the conservative reaction to the success of the LINKSPARTEI in the East - and it backfires. An arcicle from Spiegel: [link]

  • He announces that Wolfgang Schäuble and Günther Beckstein, the home secretary would be in Anagela Merkes shadow cabinet. The things is, she did plan to reveal this next week and on her own.

CDU/CSU aims at 45 percent

The CDU aims at 45 percent. According to the Sueddeutsche the leadership of boths parties set this very optimistic goal. It would be a gain of 6.5 percent in comparison to the last election.

I want to take this opportunity to Introduce you to Wahlrecht.de (Electionl Law.de). Which is the oldest website in Germany keeping track of polls in Germany on the Federal and all state levels. The Federal level can be found here: [here] and the state level [here]. It is a brilliant little site. I like it much better than i.e. Election.de.

Germany's deficit

According to the Suddeutsche and the Bild Zeitung the projected budget deficit for 2005 increased by 10 percent since March 31. The German Federal level debts now stands at 873 billion Euros. As a fiscal conservative socialist this gives me nightmares and I wonder when a German Howard Dean will show up.... Though I love Jêrome's John Maynard Keynes quote.


Germany's new Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a failure in so many respects you can only understand when you actually saw it. Any way, after a long debate wheter people should picknick there or should not jump on top of it - which seems to be fun - and which the architecture invites, now a new crisis emerged: the memorial is set between the Reichstag, the Brandenbug gate and the shopping mall at Potsdamer Platz. So tourists, after takeing photographs at the Brandenbrug gate abd just before shopping, can have their 5 minutes of memorial. This lead somebody to the idea to start to sell sausages right next to it. [An article by the Berliner Zeitung: "memorial with mustard"   This will again cause another round in a never ending debate on Germany's historical consciuosness.

Until the end of it, I recommend you to visit one of the impressive memorials and documentation centers which are decentralized at the placed of the former concentration camps. Especially Dora Mittelbau (English Site)

Fun Stuff

Always a great thing to play with, even for non-German speakers: the BUNDESDANCE.

Turn your speakes up and let them dance.

Note: Most of the links are in German today. That is why I tried to summarize as much as possible. I hope this will change gradually from now on

To my fellow bundesrepublikans here. Does anyone want to participate in this little project? I think a news round-up may be useful for our European (and beyond) friends.
by jandsm on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 03:27:18 AM EST
Count me in.  And thanks for the Bundesdance link, that's a blast. :)
by hesk on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 04:57:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Agreed - especially the Stopiber-dance :-)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 05:53:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Stoiber-dance". Silly typo.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 05:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by jandsm on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 06:14:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]

oooch, you are doing a great job here (-:

 and I have to hand in some funding application for European funding in four weeks time and on top of that organise a Pan-European Arts Project around diversity - multi ethnicity strategies and arts's responses....
Anybody interested?
by PeWi on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 05:01:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will try and contribute as well - I just cannot stay away - I filled in my absentee ballot form in today. Deadline is the 28th of August - the application has to reach the offices by then, so they can send out the postal vote in time. For anybody who wants to vote and does not live in Germany a link to the Bundeswahlleiter is here
by PeWi on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 05:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
send me a copy to my email-adress trench13_at_gmx.net.

I'd like to have a look at it. Sounds great.

by jandsm on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 02:57:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, I'll kick in what I can.

Where I'm at everbody is gearing up for Popestock, er, World Youth Day.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 07:07:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you tell a little bit more about the Stoiber debate episode? I don't remember this and can't think I ever heard about it. When was it? 1998?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 11:28:51 AM EST
This was in 2002. That year, Stoiber became candidate after a long struggle with Angela Merkel and ran a very awkward campaign during which he i.e. called for a suspension for the right fly-over rights of U.S. forces. Something he doesn't want to be reminded of.

Anyway, he challenged Schröder for a debate in TV. Kohl had denied any of his challengers a debate and this tradition ended in 1980. Schröder happily agreed on two debates in September 3 weeks and 10 days before the election. They were both seen by 15 million viewers. Of the 15 million watching the second one, 7 million had not seen the first one.

Stoiber failed completely: he lost himself in details, he sweat, he was wrong on substance and he was permanently inducing "Äh.." between words. It was a gift for comedians - and he has never recovered so far. The second was particularely funny, because at several points we - I was watching it with 10 people across party lines - ended up laughing on the floor. He just couldn't get a sentence out straight.

On the friday after the debate the SPD was at around 44 percent in the internals. And this was the time, absentee ballots poured in. The SPD had a pretty awful last week, with the Justice minister resigning, but ended up 8000 votes ahead. The Greens added several hundreds thousands additional votes to this advantage after the FDP was finished because of illegally funded anti-semitic flyers in Northrhine Westpfalia.

But without the second debate, I believe it would have gone to the right.

by jandsm on Thu Aug 11th, 2005 at 02:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hooray for Bundesdanceparty!  Sent it out to my collegues here at a US Army base in Bavaria.  Good, clean, multipartisan fun.

Oh, great... I just signed myself back up for all the right-wing forwards they'd managed to figure out I wasn't interested in, didn't I?

by Texmandie on Fri Aug 12th, 2005 at 07:41:03 AM EST

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