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Stoiber goes

by DoDo Fri Jan 19th, 2007 at 06:18:58 AM EST

Edmund Stoiber, PM of Bavaria and head of the right-populist regional Christian Socialist party (CSU), who was the unsuccesful chancellor candidate of the right-wing in the 2002 federal elections, announced his resignation from all posts by 30 September, just ahead of the next party congress for selecting the party head and PM candidate. SPIEGEL photo:

The move followed increasing attacks from within his party, which were fuelled by the power struggle of heir apparents, but were triggered by a scandal: an inner-party critic, representative for Fürth in the Bavarian parliament Gabriele Pauli, learnt that the party headquarters is spying on her, seeking personal data. (Fran had some of it in the 15 January Breakfast.)


The CSU, the sister party of the CDU (which operates in the other 15 states of Germany), is a Catholic-conservative party. At its roots, it is both chauvinistic and socialistic, though its leadership is also industry-bosses-friendly. It was made the quasi-monopolist in Bavarian politics by one of the defining politicians of onetime West Germany (defining in everyone trying to keep him away from federal politics), Franz-Josef Strauß, a baroquely fat jovial über-populist, whose style was a cross between beer-loving peasant, king, mafia don and Cold War warrior.

But on the road to German post-industrialisation, Strauß's Bavaria also grew from poorest to richest state, and when Stoiber inherited Bavaria upon Strauß's death in 1988, he could do almost nothing to not remain in power. In fact, though Stoiber is disliked across the rest of Germany for populist talk and folkish style, at home in Bavaria he was perceived as kind of a 'Prussian' beancounter with no soul, and his attempts to compensate this with appearances at folk fairs and Oktoberfest presence and silly populisms were half-successes at best.

But now his time seems over. Let me introduce his three heir-apparents.

Günther Beckstein is Bavaria's high-profile interior minister. He has a serious image, but is a sour law-and-order conservative. (BTW, strangely enough, not a Catholic but a Calvinist.) In best Stalinist tradition, he was already informally chosen to take over as PM.

The text on the above fake CDU/CSU poster, made by the Rhineland-Palatine local branch of the Jusos (the youth wing of the SPD [SocDems]) reads: "Do You want more police state? More police violence?"

You say my picture selection is biased?... You get one more:

On to the next guy:

Erwin Huber is Bavaria's current economy minister, and will take over the party leadership. At least if things go as the party leadership wanted. Huber is an economic liberal, and would take the CSU towards the neoliberal consensus.

Horst Seehofer is one of the few German conservative politicians I like somewhat. He is currently federal minister for agriculture and consumer protection. He is on the left wing of his party, an elder politician, but with not much of a power base in the top ranks of the party. Nevertheless, he announced that he wants to contest the CSU leadership at the party congress even if Huber was chosen by the kingmakers.

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In other Germany news: Henriko Frank, the jobless man who got into a media war with the boss of the SPD (I reported) and then slumped into depression, finally got a job as expert on punk rock at a small music television. He even can keep his re-grown beard.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 01:35:37 PM EST
By the way, the text of that Beckstein as Dracula poster was adapted from the old children's hide-and-seek jingle "Eckstein, Eckstein alles muss versteckt sein" (= 'cornerstone, cornerstone, everything must be hidden'), which was recently used for a song by shock-rockers and Rammstein inspirators Oomph!.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:24:46 PM EST
DoDo, you are something else. As the saying goes..."En Fuego!!"

"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 Jan 18th, 2007 at 02:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Where on Earth does the saying go 'en fuego'?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 03:25:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In North America.

In 1994, when calling the highlights for a game in which Marv Albert described Sam Cassell as being "on fire", Dan Patrick said he was "el fuego", which he thought was Spanish for "on fire". A few months later, he received a letter from a Spanish teacher in Pennsylvania suggesting that he say that athletes are "en fuego" (on fire) rather than "el fuego" (the fire). Since then, Patrick has used "en fuego" on certain occasions when a player is said to be "on fire". Note that "en fuego" is an Anglicism in Spanish, since it is a literal translation from English, and other translations would be more fitting, e.g. prendido ("lit" or "fired up"). Patrick started using the "en fuego" phrase because he believed the standard "on fire" phrase had become cliché.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 03:54:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The couner of the phrase, Dan Patrick, is an ESPN sportscaster.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 03:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
BTW, I can't believe you haven't heard this in SoCal but I did here in Yurp!

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 03:57:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'en fuego' means 'in the fire' but whatever.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 03:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Treat it as an (American-)English expression, and you'll feel better :-) Reminds me that when I was in central Germany, I saw that "Gulasch" is a food name everyone knows, except it didn't denote the heavy soup from Southeastern Hungary from which it took its name (gulyás), but a kind of stew (incidentally also a Hungarian dish, but called pörkölt).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 04:23:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't even want to know what "goulash" was in the home I grew up in. (It involved a pack of elbow macaroni, a big can of Hunt's tomato sauce and three or four pounds of hamburger.) And, injury to insult, we actually used to call it "Hungarian goulash" and thought it was a nice change from "Eyetalian spaghetti."
by Matt in NYC on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 04:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No problemo.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 05:05:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh, then there is another one: Alf's "no problemo" became the common phrase "Null Problemo" in German.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 05:13:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The anglicism part reminds me of something I saw the other day. Standing in line at the supermarket I eavesdropped on two clerks teaching each other Spanish - or rather one, presumably an American born Latina, was teaching US spanish, the other, presumably an immigrant, was teaching standard Spanish - como se dice en latina (that was the word she was using), come se dice en espanol). (I don't speak any Spanish, but French is close enough for me to understand some)
by MarekNYC on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 04:07:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New York Spanish has to be one of the biggest arguments against bilingual education in the (so-called) civilized world.
by Matt in NYC on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 05:03:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, Bavarian polls. The ordering is a bit annoying, one should compare the numbers of successive polls by the same pollster, not list all polls in the same list.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 04:53:55 PM EST
So if CSU ends up without a majority what is the likely coalition?

I guess the obvious one would be CSU-FPD, but I ask since long time rule can produce some strange dynamics.

In Sweden, in some local elections the Social democrats held majority for a long time and once they lost it they acted so pompously in the negotiations that the result has been everybody-but-the-soc.dem. coalitions. And that includes every party from the communists to the marketistas.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jan 19th, 2007 at 06:53:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, it depends heavily on how many votes go to parties under the entrance limit. If, say, the Left Party brings up 4% and two far-right parties 2% each, and the rest another 1%, the CSU could still get an absolute majority with around 44% (if I remember the rules correctly). If desertion of the CSU also swells the ranks of at least one dwarf enough, then maybe even a situation with CSU+FDP not enough could result.

But, I don't really expect a permanent dent in CSU's fortunes... except if Huber carries his economic liberalism too far too fast.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 19th, 2007 at 09:24:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
...because he didn´t go to Berlin.
The story of such a demontage in an one-party state like Bavaria with the CSU  is very interesting for the aficionados of politics.
You are right, the polls with the CSU under 50% are prrobably the argument for the putschists.
But in my opinion the trigger was the hesitation-Walz of stoiber between Berlin and Munich after the last national elections, he retreated from the notional challenge for going back to the more secure post of Bavaria Ministerpräsident.  That plus his not leading anything about the health reform, he lost his status of leader in the minds of the bavarian and of his party underlings. The emperor had no clothes .
Thus at least in part the sinking polls and the late revolt.
Like a pack wolf sniffing a weakness.

A funny anecdote: some anonymous opponents internal painted on a bridge over his daily road to home "goodbye Edi" some days before the decisive battle.

It worked. Worth repeating in other countries? ;-)

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.

by lacordaire on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 05:33:15 PM EST
You are currently near Munich, do I remember correctly? If so, what are people around you thinking about the hears-apparent? (Supposing you don't live in a leftist Munich district where they hate 'em all anyway.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jan 18th, 2007 at 05:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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