Mon Sep 12th, 2005 at 05:12:15 AM EST
promoted by Jerome. I'll just add a link to the big FT article this morning, using the title in the paper edition: Christian Democrats sideline Kirchhof
As the campaigns are going into the last week, poll numbers are changing wildly and - mostly - in favour of the governing SPD. Distance between both big parties is shrinking, and suddenly the number of possible coaltion alternatives multiplies. I am expecting seven hot days to come.
- What is a Zweitstimmenkampagne?
- Kirchhof is on his way back to the ivory tower
- Fun stuff: Your projections might win you a trip to the Reichstag
Hi DoDo, I see you also have a diary up. Putting this up as a diary, too, because it seems a bit too long to become a comment. Hope you don't mind.
What is a Zweitstimmenkampagne?
I suppose that many of you are not entirely familiar with the German election system, so I am going to explain: "Zweitstimme" means "second vote." On our ballots, we have two votes. With our first vote (Erststimme), we elect the direct candidate of our electoral district by majority vote. With our second vote, we vote for a party list. The percentage of second votes a party achieves, determines the share of seats it gets in the Bundestag. So, strangely, the "second vote" is much more important than the "first vote."
This weekend, the Free Democrats announced a "second vote campaign." That means, they make an appeal to all CDU voters who want a CDU-FDP coalition to vote for FDP instead of CDU. For, in the case the FDP drops below the 5 % threshold, no Free Democrat will become MP, which means: no conservative-liberal coalition. Looks like the emergency bells are ringing among the Free Democrats...
The Social Democrats have already made the logical counter-move: This weekend, Sigmar Gabriel, party executive member and one of the most-discussed figures of a post-Schröder era, announced that a "traffic light coalition" - SPD (red), FDP (yellow), Green - would be a possible alternative. But the question is if anybody believes him. After a campaign in which the SPD drifted to the left, and the FPD made a clear point in saying that they only wanted to form a coalition with the CDU, I am inclined to take Gabriel's all-too obvious move as a bad joke. On the other hand: You cannot know what will go on inside the FDP when there is no black-yellow majority (black is for CDU).
Kirchhof is on his way back to the ivory tower
Now it is common knowledge that the CDU's drop in poll numbers is caused by the appointment of Paul Kirchhof as finance minister-to-become. No wonder that he is running out of supporters. Even the free-market, pro-business, anti-tax FPD now demands from Merkel to distance herself from him. Today, party leader Guido Westerwelle said "that this is not about an academic tax discussion but about the creation of new jobs." One must be deaf to not identify Westerwelle's statement as an echo of Schröder's "Professor from Heidelberg"-rhetoric.
Even Angela Merkel seems to prepare Kirchhof's dropping. This weekend, you could hear her praising her long-standing enemy Friedrich Merz, the CDU's accustomed tax expert.
Fun stuff: Your projection might win you a trip to the Reichstag
If you think you know the outcome of the election, go to Ard-Wahltipp. You can make your guess until September 17. The best three guesses win a trip to Berlin where you can witness the Bundestag's election of chancellor. Click on "Spielstand" reveals the current average of all guesses. By clicking on "hier", you can make your own guess. Enjoy!
There are many more topics of interest in this election campaign that I would love to write about if I had the time. I'm thinking about issues like the role of the Internet or the (very small) role of European topics in this campaign. If anybody wants to step in, he/she is very welcome! (PeWi, you out there?)
By the way: Greetings from jandsm! He had even less spare time in the past two weeks, but is looking forward to post again in the near future.