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Left Swing In Bremen

by DoDo Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:01:43 AM EST

A little good news for progressives from Germany. The 'Free Hansa City of Bremen' is one of Germany's 16 federal lands (which actually consists of the two cities Bremen and Bremerhaven), which has been governed for 12 years by an SPD/CDU Grand Coalition. Today, there were new elections, which produced a clear left-ward shift.

The final results (below):

Promoted by whataboutbob


Partyvoteschangeseatschange
Participation/all57.58%-3.74pp83-
SPD (Social Democrats)36.83%-5.49pp33-7
CDU (Christian Democrats)25.66%-4.10pp23-6
Grüne (Greens)16.43%+3.63pp14+2
Linke (Left Party)8.40%+6.73pp7+7
FDP (Free Democrats, neolib)5.96%+1.75pp5+4
DVU (German Popular Union, far-right)2.75%+0.47pp10
Others3.98%-2.99pp00

Both big parties lost, but while the CDU lost in about equal amounts to the neolib FDP, the two right-populists and elsewhere, the losses of the Social Democrats were more than made up by the gains of the Greens and the Left Party -- which got into a West German regional parliament for the first time.

In seats, the current numbers show an actual right-to-left swing of just two seats, but the entry of the Left Party completely changed political arithmetic.

Despite the losses, the SPD is still in the position to pick a coalition partner: CDU or Greens. The Green Party already announced that it wants to get into government. They do have reason to hope: the SPD might feel that to stem further voter loss to the Left Party, they have to demonstrate more leftishness at least by going Red-Green.

Display:
Voter movements:

Other parties' saldo with CDU:

SPD: -1000
Grüne: 0
Linke: 1000
FDP: 1000
Others: 1000
Non-voters: 8000

Other parties' saldo with SPD:

CDU: 1000
Grüne: 4000
Linke: 6000
FDP: 1000
Others: 0
Non-voters: 6000

Gains by the Left Party:

SPD: 6000
CDU: 1000
Grüne: 3000
FDP: 0
Others: 5000
Non-voters: 2000 (despite reduced participation!)


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:42:14 PM EST
I think we will be seeing a whole trend towards Green this year...I think it will be huge in Switzerland.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 03:52:13 PM EST
The Greens did make impressive gains in Iceland..

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 04:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The greens would have to 1) not run as two separate parties; and 2) get about 3x more vores than last time; in order to get any seats in the Madrid city council.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 06:02:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mostly because there is a vote threshold of 5% to get seats, but due to the assembly consisting of 57 councillors, once you make it past 5% you're guaranteed three seats.

I fail to see the point of a 57-member assembly when the councillors are elected on party lists in a single district with a 5% threshold. They might as well have 19 seats. That's a 3x bloated collection of parasite councillors.

If I were King, I would make each of the 21 districts of the city elect two councillors on personal votes with single transferable voting, and 15 on city-wide party lists to improve overall proportionality.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:55:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An exception is unfortunately likely to be France, where les Verts have just announced they are pulling out of their electoral pact with the PS. Whether that's a wise decision or not I don't know, but it certainly means a long, hard slog to rebuild a credible green party. Either that, or the opponents of an alignment with the left (the supposed "apolitical" greens) will take the party wandering off into the marshes signposted "Neutrality", "the Centre", etc.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 02:44:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The infighting within the Greens has become the stuff of legend - or more to the point, it has been so loud that it has obliterated any message that the Greens might have wanted to get across.

So they are going to get obliterated in next month's parliamentary elections, and will only exist politically locally, in cities where they are in a working alliance with the socialists (like in Paris, where they had a major say in shaping transport policy, for instance).

It's a pathtic waste that their ideas are completely drowned out, mostly for 'purity' reasons (because it makes it easy to caricature them as out of touch).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:49:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There has been a split between the conservative and Left Greens in Switzerland too...which is really too bad. For example, if they were still one party in the recent Zurich election, they would hold something like 29 seats, which is significant. Stil, the Left Greens are making huge gains in Switzerland...though the SP will be feeling the brunt of their growth, I fear...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:30:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because you're "green" doesn't mean you can't have strong opinions on other issues. I imagine the split between "left" and "right" greens is similar to the difference between "social liberal" and "right-liberal" parties. Some countries have no liberal party, some have one with two wings, and some have two.

By "conservative greens" do you mean a hunting/fishing/rural party, or an economic liberal green party?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:37:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, I'm not sure exactly...Lil has been a Green for a long time here in St Gallen, and I will have to ask her...but my sense was that here it was almost a personality/ideology difference, ie., that the Left Greens were more progressive, even radical in how they thought about environmental issues and approaches. The "conservative" side seemed much more cautious and controlled. But surely it is more than this...I'll check it out...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 07:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like Fundis vs. Realos.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:12:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the way the PS behaves in negociations with its allies, with "take it or leave it" proposals, it's easy to understand Les Verts would refuse a proposal once in a while. The vagaries of a non-proportional parliament election. This row was more probably caused by PS's toughness than from any desire of the greens to go to a "neutral center" position.

And the French greens aren't only active in cities ; they have strong positions in the regions and European Parliament... (I think many here would like, say, Alain Lipietz, one of the Green MEPs)

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:26:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
this time is the natural result of absolute weakness of the Greens in this election. It almost looks like charity at this point.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:55:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This kind of behavior from the PS (who isn't any nicer after a good showing from the greens, anyway) means the next time, vote utile will be that much less attractive...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 11:24:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The PS is in a position of awesome strength, these days, too...

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 11:28:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Les Verts have their reasons to complain about the PS, I agree, and not just on electoral matters. There's still a strong productivist streak in the PS old base, and considerable suspicion of green stuff. That's one of the reasons (and has been for sooo long) why the PS needs to change.

All the same, it seems some of the Green political neutralists won out in this decision - according to Noël Mamère, anyway.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 11:39:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's actually the best result the Green Party EVER got in Germany. Impressive 37% in Bremen- Mitte. And with the left now in a Western parliament for the first time, we're moving to a 5-party-system.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 06:05:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A 5-party system wouldn't be a bad thing.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends on the parties involved. If it was the extreme right that came out this strong, I would be worried. But Lafontaine's Left becoming part of coalitions in the West (and de-radicalising itself in the process) would be a good thing.
I predict 20% for the Left in the next Saarland elections.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu
by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Tue May 15th, 2007 at 10:34:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
of a renaissance for red-green. I believe I saw a national poll just recently that had red-green beating the pants off every other constellation, including the actual governing "grand" coalition, as people's favorite model. Unfortunately that doesn't mean that SPD and Greens would actually get a plurality of votes together. Not yet, anyway.

But the Bremen elections will have interesting repercussions. The logic of democracy and the logic of power demand that the social-democrats form a coalition with the greens in Bremen. But if they do, they set a clear signal that the days of the grand coalition in Berlin may be numbered. And if they stick with the christian democrats in Bremen in order to avoid sending that signal, the green and the linke will only continue to swell. Pressure, pressure, pressure.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 07:52:08 PM EST
How big (in terms of proportion of the population) is Bremen? Is it big enough to worry the big parties that they're losing representation there?
by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 09:29:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the smallest state, with just 664,000 inhabitants, or .8% of the population of the country as a whole. And, just as importantly, it has no rural population. The three city-states - Bremen, Hamburg, and Berlin - naturally lean left.

The significance of these elections doesn't derive from Bremen being representative of the rest of the country. It's largely symbolic (although in case the SPD forms a new red-green coaltion in Bremen, this would mean Merkel looses her two-third majority in the second chamber, the bundesrat, and as a result won't be able to operate there quite as unimpeded).

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Sun May 13th, 2007 at 10:38:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be great if there will be a red-green coalition.

I don't know how much influence Bremen will have, though. But it's in the interest of the SPD not too stick too tight with the grand coalition, they don't want to perpetuate it forever, after all.

So, let's speculate and say there will be a red-green coalition. The next elections in the German states are January next year, in Hessen and Niedersachsen, and after that Hamburg, in the second quarter of 2008, and Bayern, in the third quarter of 2008. That's four more states before the next Federal elections.

I don't see Bayern going to the SPD, and Niedersachsen is going to be tough. The SPD+Greens need to gain 10% in both Hessen and Niedersachsen, and 8% in Hamburg (in Bayern, over 25%). Will we see an end to the grand coalition if the SPD manages to get a coalition with the greens or the linke in Hessen/Niedersachsen?

P.S. In Berlin, the linke were divided, and lost more than they had to. In Bremen, they were united and gained a lot. Of course, in Berlin they were in the government, but I think the story is clear here.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:18:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As much as I wish it, I don't see Koch losing in Hessen, unfortunately. Easpecially with those voters from East Hessen...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 04:41:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Christian Wulff in Niedersachsen is also one of the more popular politicians in Germany, and according to wiki (in German) Ole von Beust won the last elections in Hamburg on personality. The SPD does have a great candidate in Hamburg for the next round. The candidates in Niedersachsen and Hessen still have to prove themselves.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:26:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't seen any polls for Hessen - it's too far out (01/28/08). The state is a traditional stronghold of the SPD, albeit with a pretty conservative streak of social-democratic voters. You're probably right about Koch. We'll see.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 08:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Check state polls for Hessen here. From the last poll, if the Left Party would trip over the limit, it would actually prevent a right-wing majority (though probably still only a Grand Coalition under Koch would be the result). However, you are right it is far away, and who knows what populist theme Koch plans to ride until then...

While working-class Frankfurt and the Protestant Northeast may be SPD strongholds, the belt of Frankfurt (where I lived) was mixed, the sides of the Taunus are full of well-off conservatives, and the East (region of Fulda) is dominated by an arch-conservative CDU. (Do you remember the Hohmann affair? "Tätervolk"? He was from there. [Incidentally, one eighth of my ancestry also came from there.])

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:00:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure I remember. My personal memory of Hessian politics goes back to the days of Holger Boerner. It's overall a conservative state, even if "culturally" traditionally pro-SPD. I suspect religion may have something to do with it. I believe the north of the state is mostly protestant and therefore SPD-leaning. Whereas the Fulda area is one of the most intensely catholic spots in the country, and of course staunchly CDU. Beautiful region nonetheless.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:35:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe I saw a national poll just recently that had red-green beating the pants off every other constellation

Could you dig that up? I couldn't find anything.

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:05:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meanwhile, I found this pre-election poll:

Agreement with "an end of the Grand Coalition in Berlin would be sad", in Bremen (and in parantheses all Germany):

CDU-voters 78 (64)
SPD-voters 53 (61)
FDP-voters 41 (43)
Greens-voters 32 (53)
Left-Party-voters 30 (36)



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:39:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Here. Once the flash animation has finished loading, click the Wunsch-Koalition-tap. It's 27% for Red-Green, 26% for Black-Yellow, only 23% for the grand coalition, and 13% for Black-Yellow-Green (not gonna happen in a hurry!). It is however true that in the same poll 54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:09:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is however true that in the same poll 54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

Maybe that the SPD voters are afraid of Black-Yellow and the CDU/CSU voters are afraid of Red-Green?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 09:18:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, there's that. But seriously, what the heck kind of question is "Would you regret a collapse of the Grand Coalition?" (Wuerden Sie ein Auseinanderbrechen der Grossen Koalition bedauern?) I think what the responses show above all is that voters are sobbing suckers of sentimentality and stifling stalwarts of stability :-)

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)
by brainwave on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:16:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It takes a lot of courage to answer "no". That's a triple negative.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:18:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
54% said they would regret a collapse of the grand coalition. Whatever that means.

Indeed at the same time 62% want to change the government!...

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 10:40:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw this news last night and it was some consolation for the Sarkozy win. At least there doesn't seem to be an inevitable Europe-wide slide to a brainless rightwing Zeitgeist.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 02:49:22 AM EST
Election-defining themes:

social justice 32%
economic policy 30%
job market policy 22%
education 20%

No wonder with news like this:

Unterschicht hat nichts vom Aufschwung (=Lower class gets nothing of the upswing)

Eine wachsende Unterschicht bleibt nach Ansicht des Jenaer Sozialwissenschaftlers Roland Merten vor allem im Osten vom derzeitigen wirtschaftlichen Aufschwung ausgenommen. «Vom Aufschwung profitieren nur die Begüterten und Qualifizierten, nicht aber die schlechter Qualifizierten und Empfänger von Arbeitslosengeld II», sagte der Sozialpädagoge von der Universität Jena. «Um das Ausmaß der Misere zu begreifen, muss man sich deutlich machen, dass das so genannte abgehängte Prekariat in den alten Ländern vier Prozent, in den neuen aber ein Viertel der Bevölkerung umfasst.»

(A social scientist says that only the privileged and people with good qualifications profit from the upswing, but not the less qualified or receivers of the lower ('reformed') jobless benefit; the left-behind are 4% in Western and 25% in Eastern Germany.)

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:17:15 AM EST
Social justice was also the leading motive for voters leaving the CDU (32%, with the internal-security-concerned second at 28%), SPD voters, and sky-high motive for Left Party voters (69%) and new Left Party voters (71%)

It's no surprise that economy and internal security are the leading themes for CDU and FDP voters, but that the first mattered more to CDU voters (51%) than FDP voters (43%) is strange.

Again no surprise that environmental concerns lead (ahead of social ustice) with the Green (64%) and new Green (56%) voters, but it's sad that among others, it is not in the top four even for Left Party voters.

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:24:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm, interesting. There was also a poll on the competences of the parties.

What stands out to me is the Greens. While only the 5% of the resumable core voters see the FDP to be competent on the economy (vs. 43% granting that to the CDU), and a similar 7% see the Left Party competent on social justice, 20% see the Greens competent on integration and a whopping 55% on the environment! That's much more than the party base, in fact it probably includes a not insignificant part of even CDU voters.

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:45:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also found age polls. The strongest trends are the very strong showing of the CDU among the 60-plus (34%, all other age groups around 20%) contrasted by a very weak showing of the Greens (just 8%, it's 20%-plus in all other age groups).

There is also the thing people surmised to explain the 25-34-year vote in France: the neolib FDP got most votes in that age group (8%, vs. 5-6% in other age groups). Meanwhile, the Left Party seems to have a clear '68er domination: 13% of the 45-59 old group, vs. 6% of older and 8-9% of younger voters. Sadly, the far-right has a clear young voter domination (6% for the youngest and 1% for the oldest), though I suspect the poll is not reliable here (older far-righters may refuse to reply or lie more often).

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

by DoDo on Mon May 14th, 2007 at 05:31:25 AM EST


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