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:
CDU/CSU aims at 45 percent
- 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.
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.
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)
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