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German Elections: Recent Speculation

by Saturday Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 06:31:39 AM EST

Coalitions, no majorities, more votes? This is getting intriguing! From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

This year, the frontiers of election and constitutional law are being pushed like never before. Today, the Leipziger Volkszeitung reported plans within the CDU to head directly for new elections again after the September 18 elections. The plan acknowledges the possibility that CDU/CSU and FDP will not have a majority, and neither will SPD/Greens. Which is probable indeed. FDP has consequently ruled out any cooparation with red/green, and Merkel has become ever clearer about not going into a grand coalition.

The new plan is supposed to evade a grand coalition. It is supposed to work as follows: After the election, the new Bundestag has to choose the chancellor. Given that Schröder will not be supported by the Left Party, there will be no absolute majority for any candidate in the first two ballots. But in the third ballot, relative majority will be sufficient. That means, given that CDU stays in first place (probable), Merkel will be elected. After that, the Federal President (Bundespräsident) has seven days to decide on the governability of the new coalition. If his evaluation of the situation is negative (assumable, since there will be neither a majority nor a toleration-scenario), he can dissolve the Bundestag and call new elections again.

What makes this so attractive for Merkel, is the chance that Schröder, ripped of his chancellorship, will not play a major role within SDP any more. In new elections without Schröder, she seems to see a better chance for winning the elections.

Which is, by the way, the biggest compliment ever for Schröder's campaigning qualities.

More to come today or tomorrow.

Just to throw a monkey wrench in this...I am having the feeling that Schröder is going to win the election. But then in that case, how does your scenario play out? Would it likely be similar, but only with Schröder deciding?

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 05:19:19 AM EST
highly speculative. I still assume that SPD will come in second. But let's play the what-if-scenario (SPD-lead, but no red/gree majority). Various possibilities come to mind:
  1. Despite all reaffirmation against it, Schröder forms a grand coalition. Merkel, as the loser of an election which was a few weeks before a sure win, will be overthrown by her internal enemies (of whom she has many: e.g. Friedrich Merz, Roland Koch, Edmund Stoiber). Her successor (maybe one of the above) will agree to play deputy in a grand coalition under sheriff Schröder, in order to prepare the real takeover for the next elections.
  2. A red/red/green coalition. Highly unlikely, because of reasons (political and personal) I have already named.
  3. Red/green, tolerated by the Left Party. Still unlikely, but not as unlikely as 2. A somewhat awkward model with no real participation for the LP in terms of cabinet posts etc., but with an informal consenus over the issues. The model has been successfully tested on regional state level in Magdeburg (Sachsen-Anhalt). But still, on the federal level, questions of the stability of this combination remain unanswered.
  4. Traffic lights coalition. Let's forget this one quickly. I just can't see how this could possibly work.
  5. Your version, whataboutbob. An interesting one indeed. A weakened Merkel, exposed to her internal enemies, possibly not able to hold grip of the party chair. The CDU/CSU having to find a new candidate quickly, turning the parties into turmoil. I'm waiting for a journalist who asks Schröder your question. I'd really like to hear the answer.
by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 06:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there really are still 30% of people undecided, they will either day, so why bother , which would be bad, I think, higher turnout would certainly help red-green, but definitely hurt the extremists (left and far-right) who usually have a stronger GOTV drive.

Interesting thought really, is there something  like the GOTV in Germany? I never came across it, while living there.

Do you know, Saturday?

by PeWi on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 06:22:13 AM EST
higher turnout

I have not come across any numbers predictiv this year's voter turnout, but I would guess it will be within the average of the last two decades (roughly 75-80 %). Fear of extremists (in Germany, understandably, first of all fear of rightist extremists), has been largely absent - no matter if high or low voter turnout. Which is, by the way, a success that has to be ascribed to the Left Party. (A topic I really want to elaborate on; maybe tomorrow)

is there something  like the GOTV in Germany?

Not like in, say, the US. Simply because there is not the necessity. In the US, you have weak party organisations and low voter turnout, so distinct GOTV actions and organisations become necessary. In Germany with its strong party organisations, GOTV happens along the line of party membership (party members bringing the family to the ballot box, making shuttle services for old people's homes etc). But it is not being called "get out the vote", and there is not a special word for it, at least as far as I know.

by Saturday (geckes(at)gmx.net) on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 07:35:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
During the last elections, the losing right-wing government accused the Socialists here in Hungary of practising GOTV the US Democrat way. I'm not sure why, but that was supposed to be borderline illegal. (However, the claims were groundless, stemming from paranoia: the Socialists hired a US Democrat spinmeister, and our right-wing copiers of Rove's methods thought others do the same.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 09:12:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nosemonkey, in today's edition of Europhobia (the 15th), has a lot of good links to articles regarding German election updates (just scroll down)


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 08:39:32 AM EST
Also this Elections Special, from Sign and Sight:


"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 08:46:49 AM EST
What is going on with these split down the middle elections? The US on a 50-50 split and now a similar situation in Germany...and in New Zealand (info courtesy of IdiotSavant). OK, I know that three elections is not a trend, but something's afoot.
by gradinski chai on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 10:39:18 AM EST
To be fair, Germany is not exactly 50-50 right now. THough we are all hoping the SPD climbs back, the CDU is clearly favored to win the election, so it is not the same as Norway, New Zeland or US, which was 50-50 all the way.

This isn't a landlside and is close by all means, but there is still a clear favorite.

by FrenchSocialist on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 11:40:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
don't forget Ukraine

Join The Community - the voices must be heard Voices In The Wilderness
by The Voice on Thu Sep 15th, 2005 at 03:24:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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