Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Fünfparteiensystem

by DoDo Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 03:50:09 AM EST

This is now the buzzword all across the German media. After the Left Party success in all of the last three regional elections, the beginning of a new era is finally dawning on everyone, with the need to create new types of coalitions.

In the prior four-party system, the basic options were:

  • right-wing camp: Christian Democrats (CDU) (+ liberal Free Democrats (FDP))
  • left-wing camp: Social Democrats (SPD) (+ Greens)
  • Grand Coalition (CDU+SPD)

First in 2001 in Berlin, then after the 2005 federal elections, new options were in discussion, and now seriously at the table in Hessen and Hamburg:

  • Black-Green: CDU+Greens
  • Jamaica: CDU+FDP+Greens
  • Traffic lights: SPD+FDP+Greens
  • Red-Red-Green: SPD+Left Party+Greens

Though such complexities aren't exactly new to Scandinavian democracies and the Netherlands, with Germany's influence, the ideological frames of reference may change all across Europe.


The effect on the parties, more or less from right to left:


CDU

The conservatives are in a very paradoxical situation in the new system. While their loss of direct domination is the most apparent, it is just them who are in the most comfortable and safest situation in coalition pokers.

The Right long hoped that after Reunification, there'll be a right-wing structural majority. But the painful realisation that, to the contrary, there may be a left-wing structural majority, came swiftly after the Hessen elections. And the CDU indeed quickly adapted to the situation: Grand Coalition and Jamaica was advocated in Hessen; now in Hamburg, playing with the Black-Green option (alongside Grand Coalition again) already got Merkel's approval; and the CDU does everything to undermine the SPD's new options.

The CDU could face problems on the longer term: conservative voters' dissatisfaction with too many concessions to leftist coalitioners, and their longing for a clear conservative platform (see Martin's diary) which IMO may lead to another party on the right.

One way for this to happen may be an end to the regional separation of the Union parties. Presently, the CDU doesn't run in Bavaria, and its more socially conservative sister party, the CSU, only runs in Bavaria. The CSU repeatedly threatened to go federal.


FDP

In the three-party system preceding the rise of the Greens in the eighties, the FDP was a swing party, it drifted right and turned neoliberal only later. The CDU-only orientation will ensure irrelevance in opposition -- which was a good opportunity for FDP members advocating change to speak up.

In a SPIEGEL op-ed, long-time FDP member Gerhard Baum argues that the party should move on themes -- thematising not just Leistungsgerechtigkeit (c. 'performance justice', or "to each according to his performance"), but Verteilungsgerechtigkeit (distributive justice), too. For Hessen, while he doesn't think positively about traffic lights, he advocates working towards Jamaica -- by pushing the CDU to drop controversial outgoing PM Roland Koch.

Earlier this month, in a debate with Daniel Cohn-Bendit, MEP Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, a German-Greek double citizen and champion of reforming the FDP, discussed both Jamaica and traffic lights. He also reiterated his view that contrary to the current party leadership, young liberals are pro-environmentalist (his somewhat self-contradictory slogan is Porsche fahren und Umwelt schonen = dirve a Porsche and protect the environment), and would the FDP realise that, he predicts it could draw away a good part of the Greens.

As yet there is no move by the federal and regional party leaderships.


Greens

Hubert Kleinert, former Green politician from Hessen, is now an influential centrist-Green strategist as political professor and op-ed writer. Earlier he laid the groundwork for the first SPD-Greens coalitions, lately he does the same for Black-Green, with the city of Frankfurt being its so far most important realisation. After the Hamburg elections, Kleinert wrote an op-ed in SPIEGEL advocating Black-Green there. He argues that this would benefit the party by freeing it from 'dependence' on the left-wing camp, which includes the Left Party.

However, Black-Green is dangerous for the Greens: coalitions with the SPD already resulted in tough-to-stomach compromises, the CDU can only demand more, and could scare away the Green left. Especially in Hamburg: even if the local CDU is more progressive, so is GAL, the local Greens, with its alternative-left elements and still strong basis democracy (the party leadership has no monopoly on decisions).

Meanwhile, MEP Daniel "Dany le Rouge" Cohn-Bendit is the most outspoken Green advocate of Red-Red-Green, specifically an SPD-Greens minority government with Left Party outside support in Hessen. He claims that the left-wing structural majority is the actual wish of the voter.

Though himself rather liberal, lashing out against "neoliberalism" is now strong in Cohn-Bendit's rhetoric. In the exchange with Chatzimarkakis, he also pushes the FDP to abandon that line and get ready for traffic lights. The latter is what most top Greens advocated after Hessen, too. What no one considers seriously is the Jamaica option.


SPD

The greatest attention is paid to the SPD's take of the Red-Red-Green option.

I must stress one thing about the party. It is fundamental to post-WWII West German Social Democrat self-understanding that they are the democratic socialist counterpart to the East Bloc's dictatoral socialists. In this frame of reference, the Left Party and its partial precursor PDS can only be seen as heirs of the dictatorship, assumed still undemocratic. So re-thinking is especially hard in the West.

Nevertheless, the East German SPD was long forced to think again. In 2001, even Wessie Klaus Wowereit, himself a centrist, accepted PDS outside support to become mayor of reunified Berlin, and changed his Red-Green minority government to Red-Red in 2006. The successful, popular and thus influential Wowereit was the leading advocate of eliminating the Western Red-Red-Green taboo at least on regional level, while many on the party left thought similarly. Leading the opposition were Schröder's reformist circle (including the current federal economy and foreign ministers, Peer Steinbrück and Frank-Walter Steinmeier) and the party right, the so-called 'Seeheim circle'.

But the man who is credited with setting off the real debate a week before the Hamburg elections, and then achieving a change in direction, was party chairman and Rhineland-Palatinate state PM Kurt Beck. His chairmanship was built on achieving absolute majority in the regional parliament in difficult times for the SPD, in 2006. He is NOT from the partly left, he is a pragmatist who chose a left course because he sees votes that way. Before the Hessen elections, he was loundly anti-Left-Party.

The trial balloon surfaced as a news article in Neue Presse claiming Hessen SPD leader Andrea Ypsilanti is considering accepting Left Party outside support.

Within the party, the abovementoned circles voiced their negative opinion. So did federal faction leader Peter Struck, and angrier criticism -- especially of timing -- came from both the last SPD mayor of Hamburg and the current candidate. Yet, even Ypsilanti's inner-party centrist rival in Hessen followed up his criticism with a pledge of 100% SPD support for her should it come to a vote.

However, there was a media frenzy over the issue, playing up internal debate into a terminal crisis, speaking of "storm of opposition in the SPD", a "Beck problem", "test of unity" and so on. The conservatives also took the opportunity to play outraged (forgetting about their own history of much more concrete cooperation with stronger and nastier extremists on their side, e.g. taking right-populist Schill into the Hamburg government). Altogether, the out-of-control ruckus may have costed the Hamburg SPD 2-3 percentage points.

Yet, one day after the elections,  the media just rubbed their eyes as the trial balloon was adopted as official position:

Rot-Rot-Grün-Debatte: Kritiker gehen vor Beck in die Knie - Naumann beklagt sich über "Lkw aus Mainz" - Politik - SPIEGEL ONLINE - NachrichtenRed-Red-Green debate: critics fall on their knees before [SPD party boss Kurt] Beck - [Hamburg leading candidate Michael] Naumann complains about "truck from Mainz" [capital of Beck's home state Rhineland-Palatine]
Steinbrück, Steinmeier: War da was? Der Proteststurm gegen SPD-Chef Beck hört so plötzlich auf, wie er ausgebrochen war. Sämtliche Spitzengenossen stellen sich jetzt im Linkskurs-Streit hinter ihren Boss. Hamburgs Wahlverlierer Naumann allerdings beklagt sich über einen "Lkw aus Mainz", der alles "platt gemacht" habe.[Federal finance minister Peer] Steinbrück, [federal foreign minister Hans-Walter] Steinmeier - was there anything? The storm of protest against SPD boss Beck ends as abruptly as it started. Now all top comrades line up behind their boss in the fight over the leftward direction. However, Hamburg's election loser Naumann complains about a "truck from Mainz" which "flattened everything".

There was just one vote against in the 40-strong top body of the federal party, the comrades showed unity and discipline. The article interprets one detail as a Machiavellian trick by Beck: he stayed at home saying he catched cold, and let a deputy lead the conference -- and that deputy was Steinmeier, who thus could not lead an opposition. Here is how the actual paradigm shift looks like:

"Sollte es nicht zu einer Koalition (mit FDP und Grünen) kommen, wird die SPD Hessen entscheiden, ob und gegebenenfalls wann sich Andrea Ypsilanti im Landtag zur Wahl stellt.""Should a coalition [with FDP and Greens] fail, the Hessen SPD will decide if, and, should the case arise, when Andrea Ypsilanti will stand for election [as PM] in the regional parliament."

Not a single word about the Left Party or coalitions. But, with the Left Party already having announced its support, just standing for election would assure that Ypsilanti becomes PM of a minority government. And the Hessen SPD is now free to do so. That's the end of the Left Party taboo in the West.

The quote also shows what I saw as an original intention of the trial balloon, though one that didn't exactly pan out: to pressure the FDP, to tell them that courting them for traffic lights is not the only option. Ever since the Hessen elections, SPD leaders have publicly, steadfastly, but unsuccessfully pushed the FDP to recognise its "citizen's obligation" to ensure there is a government (a rhetoric the CDU didn't dare to try on the Greens). Traffic lights obviously remains first preference, but the obstacle there is in the FDP.


Left Party

The Left Party can largely sit back and enjoy the show. They must have obviously considered the new realities and possibilities long ago. The Hessen and federal Left Party announced its support for a PM Ypsilanti already before the elections. And for them, just shifting the discourse is enough of an achievement, they don't need to enter a government or exert influence by tolerating it.

The problem for the Left Party is consolidating its fresh, undisciplined and untested Western branches, so that they won't disintegrate in scandals and internal fights. For that, even the compromises involved in giving outside support to SPD+Greens may bring difficulties.

:: :: :: :: ::

Prior German regional elections/left swing diaries:

Display:
In other German stories:

After a series of infanticides in the region, Wolfgang Böhmer (CDU), PM of Saxony-Anhalt state in East Germany blamed them on holdover East German mentality, stemming from communist East Germany's free provision of abortion: the latter supposedly created a culture in which mothers apparently see infanticide "as a means of family planning".

But this jump from abortion to infanticide, while ignoring the social differences and regional downfall after re-unification, was one too far even for some in the CDU, Die Welt writes. The choir of outrage and rejection includes the PM of Thuringia, Dieter Althaus (CDU), who fears a damage to the reputation of all East Germany. Today Merkel told him to shut up (he should not repeat it).

However, support comes from Catholics, as well as Richard Schröder [no relation to the former Chancellor], a respected Lutheran theologian and SPD man from East Germany.  From the latter even while, ironically, he submits that "no scientific study supports it yet".

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 11:27:07 AM EST
...and in other SPD infighting news: Wolfgang Clement (SPD/coal lobby), Schröder's economy minister 2002-5 turned E.ON board member, already notorious on ET for sabotaging his own party, is now really freewheeling.

The week before the Hamburg elections, he again spoke out against his own party, this time leading to the start of the party exclusion procedute against him.

Now he fights the threatening exclusion while continuing to shoot at the current leadership in his very open arguments against getting closer to the Left Party and replacing all fosil fuels with renewables. He says with Beck's strategy, the SPD "is risking everything that is there in the centre to win nothing".



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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 11:37:34 AM EST
I think it is really healthy that all four of the traditional parties are ready to form a coalition with the other three. That the appearance of the Left party is pushing the Greens to coalitions with the FDP and the CDU, from this:
  G-SPD
   / |
FDP-CDU
to this:
    L
   / \
  G-SPD
 / X |
FDP-CDU
I suppose the rift between the realo and fundi branches of the Green party will become deeper. If Germany gave up the 5% threshold for representation, you might see separate left- and right-liberal parties as in the Netherlands or Denmark, as well as separate green, left and "green left" as in Scandinavia (or in the European Parliament).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 11:42:08 AM EST
I suppose the rift between the realo and fundi branches of the Green party will become deeper.

Chatzimarkakis certainly thinks (hopes) that. Surprisingly, I don't see any signs yet. (But maybe I haven't looked close enough.) One conflict factor, economic-liberal Oswald Metzger left the party last year (as I reminded Martin the other day). To me it appears the Realos tolerate the Fundis (and vice versa) for now, no Clement- or even Steinbrück-style inner opposition.

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 12:25:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's see when there is a federal election and there is either a black-green or an red-red-green option. I guess in such a case, there might be quite a fight between realos and fundis.

By the way, the greens are the party which has in average the richest voters, followed by the FDP, CDU, SPD, and with by far the poorest voters the left.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 01:01:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have a link?

I had a faint memory of such a headline, which I found now: Grüne lösen FDP als Partei der Besserverdiener ab - DER SPIEGEL - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten

...repräsentative Umfragen bei Wählern beider Parteien, die der Mainzer Wahlforscher Jürgen Falter ausgewertet hat. Demnach lag im Jahr 2002 das mittlere Einkommen bei den Grünen zwischen monatlich 1750 Euro und 2000 Euro, bei den Freidemokraten lediglich zwischen 1500 und 1750 Euro.

...however, other polls get different resuts, depending when they are made and by whom. In 2005, Vor allem FDP-Wähler zweifeln an Westerwelle - DIE WELT - WELT ONLINE:

Daß es sich aber nicht bei jedem der genannten Kategorien um Vorurteile gegenüber den Liberalen handelt, zeigen die freiwilligen Angaben über das durchschnittliche Haushaltseinkommen. Während Befürworter der CDU/CSU (durchschnittlich 2532 Euro), der SPD (durchschnittlich 2529 Euro) und der Grünen (durchschnittlich 2356 Euro) etwa alle auf gleichem Niveau liegen, sticht das Durchschnittseinkommen der FDP-Wähler im direkten Vergleich deutlich hervor. Es liegt bei 3379 Euro.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:13:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It might be a matter of distribution, too. Are the wealthy realos skewing the average?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:21:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How would that resolve the contradiction between one poll saying Greens are richest on average, another saying they are poorer than SPD and CDU with FDP far richer?

But, re your question, the first study, the one that has the Greens richer than the neolibs, says that 25% of Greens has income above €3000, vs. "only 23%" of liberals (methinks the difference is statistically insignificant).

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:30:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...or, maybe you mean that the willingness of the richest to answer poll questions may vary? (In which case, both for FDP and Greens)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:31:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Talking about statistically insignificant differences...

DoDo:

CDU/CSU (durchschnittlich 2532 Euro), der SPD (durchschnittlich 2529 Euro)


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:37:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, at least the Welt jounalist sees that:

etwa alle auf gleichem Niveau


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:43:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No I have no link.
And with seeing the discussion I see that it may well be that this is not necessarily time constant, but may change. A milieu study would be probably more stable, as income has such a strong age dependency, and e.g. strong gains in the student milieu may make the voters of a party poorer in average, but reflect a base of 'economic winners'.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:44:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the voter base can change, too.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I did public disservice by not translating the essence for non-German-speakers -

First poll: a comparison of FDP and Greens voters based on an opinion poll, showing average monthly incomes in the range:

  • Greens: €1750-2000,
  • FDP: €1500-1750.

Second poll: a wider poll focused on views on the FDP, ordered by conservative paper Die Welt in 2005, where they emphasize that answers on household income [so it's a bit apples and oranges] are as given by the polled (i.e. not checked with financial authorities).

  • Greens: €2356
  • SPD: €2529
  • CDU: €2532
  • FDP: €3379


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 04:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Are there no polls on median income? How do you even say this in German?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:38:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"mittlere Einkommen" IS the median income. Thus, median income for FDP voters is between 1500 and 1750 € while the average is 3379 €.

_______________________________________________

"Those who fight might lose, those who don't fight have already lost." - Berthold Brecht

by RavenTS on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 12:55:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fah. Those Germans need to get themselves some strong government, Anglo-Saxon style. Well, Anglo style. Two party systems are much better at taking the brave, strong decisions required for leadership in today's world. How can a five party system address the problems of International Islamo-fascist Terror Communism?

This comment brought to you by the scarier voices inside my head

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 12:18:12 PM EST
Isn't this whole episdoe a lesson in how weak and decadent multi-party systems are leading to that most abbhorent form of internal decay . . . COMMUNISM?  After all, if serious people are openly considering anything other than the summary execution of dangerious leftist Commies, then the end is truly near.

Or something.

by Zwackus on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 08:25:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you suggest a strong Führer? Last time we had it, it did turn out quite good for the Bush family.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 09:39:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
cataonia is precisely a 5 party sytem too...

CDU wil eb CIU, SPD will be PSC. Greens will be ICV ad left-aprty wouuld eb ERC well sort of becuae inc atalonia there is te antioanalsitic side).. plus FDP being PP? well not really this does not match.. but nothing matches the spanish PP in Europe except for berlusconi.. well and Poland.. and well the hardcore small aprties in Austria and.. well Danemark... oh my god it is spreading!!!!

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 01:24:59 PM EST
Fidesz here in Hungary also parallels PP in rabidity, and there is mutual inspiration.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 03:24:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A plague

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 02:31:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The EPP.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 03:17:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European Tribune - Comments - Fünfparteiensystem
While their loss of direct domination is the most apparent, it is just them who are in the most comfortable and safest situation in coalition pokers.

Intuitively, I'd say the same is true for the Dutch equivalent, the CDA, that rarely has not been part of government. It probably also helps that in the Netherlands the christian fundies are represented in their own parties (CU and SGP) and hence don't form part of a government coalition - except for the current one... CDA has the reputation now to be opportune: swing left or right during coalition building - I could imagine the CDU growing more and more into a similar position. Although I know little of the internal factions within the party.

by Nomad on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 01:38:02 PM EST
Well, CDU curently has no serious rival to the right, not to mention CSU (which made it official dogma), so it can only swing left, if Martin is to be believed :-)

Now that you mentioned the Dutch Christian fundies, that reminds me of something. The CDU/CSU of course does cover Catholic fundies (mainly in South Germany), but not the protestant fundies (Lutheran Church in North Germany is decidedly more liberal and sane).

However, there is a separate Christian fundie party backed by the as yet dwarf Protestant fundies, the Partei Bibeltreuer Christen = Party of Bible-Faithful Christians (PBC). It is nowhere near entering the parliament: a mere 0.12% in the 2005 federal elections, but I still find a mass of 57 thousand convinced creationists somehow... worrying.

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

by DoDo on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 03:46:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is even a little more convincing alternative in BW (the PBC has its main base as well in a BW, and I think there is even a small village, where they have the majority), but they are as well far below any serious level in non-regional levels.
The ökologisch-demokratische Partei.
On the local level there is often some kind of free-voter-party alternative, but they have usually no all over the country presence, which makes it nearly impossible for them to enter any parliaments. For a new party to enter there has to be a huge movement (greens) or a otherwise dramatic historic event (Linke, if you assume that the WASG would have had a hard time without the PDS party apparatus).

And indeed I think that the CDU will not take its "Leipziger Parteitagsbeschluesse" very serious. In 2005 the CDU ran a full economic free market campaign (as you probably know, but maybe accidental readers not) and the outcome was much worse than expected. We have grand coalition now, so CDU and SPD can't go completely in different directions on the issues, but I frankly don't see on which substance CDU and SPD will run their next campaigns as probably no party will explain that the current period was a complete waste of time and after all the politics was as well not so incredible different from the red-green gov under Schroeder (Can anybody name something significant happened during the last years, else than the VAT increase and some family policy where the CDU minister did a pretty much SPD like policy?).

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 05:08:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With outcome I mean the voters share, just to clarify.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 05:10:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the Netherlands, you can get a parliament seat if you get 0.66% percent (1/150) of the vote. So it is easier for the small Christians than in Germany. If people knew their votes wouldn't be wasted, perhaps more people would vote 'Bibeltreu' than nowadays.

One of the Dutch Christian parties, the SGP or 'Staatskundig Geroformeerde Partij', is definitely fundie, they don't allow women to vote(their husbands do it for them). the otheone, the CU or ChristenUnie is more mixed, and recently got a lot of CDA voters who thought the CDA had become too conservative/neoliberal.

by GreatZamfir on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:17:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If people knew their votes wouldn't be wasted, perhaps more people would vote 'Bibeltreu' than nowadays.

I know, and this is why I shudder at the thought of even just tens of thousands of PBC list-voters: those must be real hardcore creationists; and they proselytize. Just checked prior results (the first figure is votes on party lists, the second votes for directly elected candidates):

  1. 65,651/26,864
  2. 71,941/46,379
  3. 101,645/71,106
  4. 108,605/57,027

That's solid growth in list votes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:46:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's
1994-8:    +10%/+73%
1998-2002: +41%/+53%
2002-5:     +7%/-20%
Maybe they've reached their ceiling.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 05:02:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given that turnout grew 1994-8 and fell 2002-5, and that the latter was only three years, I think those growths are comparable. (The direct vote isn't truly comparable for minor parties: if they don't manage to put a candidate on the ballot paper, potential PBC voters can't draw the X.)

On the other hand, I checked how they fared in recent regional elections where they ran, and that does indicate a ceiling:

Baden-Württenberg: 2001-20,528, 2006-26,759
Rhineland-Palatinate: 2001-5,379, 2006-4,973
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: 2002-1,312, 2006-1,957
Bremen: 2003-1,009, 2007-960
Hessen: 2003-6,674, 2008-did not run
Lower Saxony: 2003-7,819, 2008-5,851
Hamburg: 2004-1,571, 2008-did not run

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

by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:16:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In Spain you have to get 3% of the vote in any one constituency. However, given the constituency sizes this only plays a role in Madrid, which elects 35 seats (Barcelona elects 31).

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:57:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Are they now creationists? When I lived in Germany, their main campaign theme (at least that directed to the general public) seemed to be support for Israel...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:40:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no contradiction there, but maybe you aren't familiar with the full insanity of US Evangelical Christian fundamentalism.

PBC are in part subsidiaries of, in totality fans of, and supported/funded by, the US fundamentalists. Thus they bring forward the entire ideology: the millenarist Christian fundie support for Israel (because the Book of Revelations predicts the re-emergence of Israel and it fighting a big war just before the Apocalypse), creationism as 'science' and 'evilution' as false science, push for homeschooling, abortion is evil.

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

by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:54:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German Radical Christians Look to US | Germany | Deutsche Welle | 11.11.2004
PBC leader Gerhard Heinzmann, who has no problem being labelled a Christian fundamentalist, said he was pleased with Bush's re-election.

"There's an extraordinary agreement on issues between our supporters and Bush voters," Heinzmann said, citing opposition to gay marriage and abortion as examples. Both groups "not only elect their government, but also pray for its members," he said. And that's what counts, he added.

...Rüdiger Hauth, who monitors religious sects for the Evangelical Church, Germany's largest Protestant church, in the western German region of Westphalia, said there are ten thousands of supporters. But Richard Ziegert, Hauth's colleague from the southwestern region of Palatinate, believes that there are more than 250,000 radical Christians in the country and US missionaries are increasingly coming to Germany to spread the word.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:58:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can absolutely confirm the latter. In Karlsruhe there are some quite strange student organisations, which are bigger than the normal protestant church group. They e.g. offer German courses for foreign students without a fee, and then use the bible as textbook. They sing mostly English songs and have some other habits, which make it clear, that they are US inspired, if not directly supported.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers
by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 07:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, don't get me started on the PBC. My aunt was one of their candidates in a Saarland state election - and that says more than enough about the party.

/make your cross where it belongs

"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 Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 10:03:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I know about the American crazies. I guess to the extent I thought about it at all, I must have assumed that the PBC was some sort of old-fashioned German Pietist-type thing, with quaint ideas like following the Gospels. It never occurred to me that they had anything to do with the Americans.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:42:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aw, crap. The fundagelicals are Really Bad News on so many levels. How do we kill that movement off before it takes root in Europe?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:50:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(love the new sig!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 05:22:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The sig comes from here:

A Presidential European: Uffe Ellemann-Jensen

Reportedly watching the final in Lisbon ,on a portable television, while attempting to extricate his country from the treaty rejection mess his voters had created for him, Mr. Ellemann-Jensen watched Denmark pull off a resounding victory over the German machine. Entering the hall where the formal dinner marking the final night of this inaugural EU summit, Ellemann-Jensen famously quips to reporters "If you can't join them, beat them!". Negotiations, successfully followed up by the Edinburgh accords in the following year, save the Maastricht treaty, nascent EU institutions and Denmark's membership in them.


We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 05:27:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No... Actually, in the typical Dutch student house where I was staying during my period in the Netherlands, there is always some rivalry between floors. A poster was always hanging above the staircase, "If you can't beat them, join them!" And I have the curious habit to turn phrases around in my head to see how they sound... That is, truly, all that happened.

My latest one is "After darkness comes fuel" (which is an actual commerical slogan here by BP) - I like "After fuel comes darkness" a lot better...

I had completely forgotten about Ellemann-Jensen. Serendipity strikes!

by Nomad on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 07:05:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of (at a slight tangent) "No pain, no gain!" which a friend turned into "No pain, no pain."

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 08:00:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's funny to see Dany the former red advocating for a left wing alliance in Germany when in France he is strongly advocating a PS-Verts-Modem alliance.

The Modem being a form of the FDP which has indeed accepted some right-wing ecology proposals, and moved  bit to the left...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Tue Feb 26th, 2008 at 07:27:37 PM EST
The restraints on dogma created by the Nordic political coalitions force political leadership into a purely management role - which is the only role they should have.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 04:15:19 AM EST
Much of the problems of the current Finnish government can be reduced to certain elements thereof being way too dogmatic about things.
Also, the high number of dimwit assholes in the government.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 05:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hi NordicStorm! Incidentally, do you have any politicised Finnish friends you could ask to translate Stop Blair! into Finnish? It's the second largest of the four still missing of the 23 official EU languages.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:20:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I forgot Maltese and Slovenian in my e-mail: we have 6 missing.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:29:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've been asking around discretely, but no luck so far (is being pro-EU and anti-Blair really such a strange combination? Oh well). That said, if I have some time this weekend I'll try my hands on a translation. With a little help from a fluent finnophone I should be able to get it within the vicinity of correctness.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:32:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know a guy who knows some guys who speak Finnish. But I don't know whether they'll be willing to proofread. I could ask, though, if you need a proofreader.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:50:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We could ask tzt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 04:45:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mayor/Major--a suggestion for how to "hold onto" the difference:

"Y" = (Ypsilanti) = politics

Ypsilanti Mayor

From ArborWiki

City of Ypsilanti's Mayor is elected every four years. Ypsilanti has a council/manager form of government with a weak mayor. This means that the Mayor basically functions as an at-large Councilmember and presides over Council meetings, in contrast to "strong mayor" cities, like Detroit, where the Mayor's office has significant control over day-to-day governance of the city.

http://arborwiki.org/index.php/Ypsilanti_Mayor

(I'm thinking of the "Y" campaign--easy to remember the Y! Y = politics)

"J" = (Major Major Major Major) = military

Or:

Major Major Major Major

Major Major Major Major is a character in Joseph Heller's classic novel Catch-22.

He has the surname Major, and at birth his father gave him the first and middle names Major and Major, despite informing the mother that he had named the boy 'Caleb' in accordance with her wishes. She only discovers Major Major Major's real first and middle names when his birth certificate is required for him to enter kindergarten, and the shock leads to her death. The novel explains this was a joke on his father's part, and notes that it is not a particularly funny one.

Inducted during World War II, he is promoted from Private to Major while still in boot camp, without attending the Officers Training Corps or any advance warning at all. This is caused by an IBM machine with a "sense of humor almost as keen as his father's". A recurring joke in the book is that he bears a striking resemblance to Henry Fonda, even to the point of some people thinking that he is in fact Henry Fonda. In an interview, Heller states that he would imagine Major Major to either be played "by Henry Fonda or by somebody who looks nothing like Henry Fonda."

During the novel, it is revealed that he can never be promoted nor demoted, because the army has only one Major Major Major Major and Ex-PFC Wintergreen does not intend to let this change.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_Major_Major_Major

(Hope this is okay!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 05:32:07 AM EST
I know, mea culpa - I have been called out on that before by Metatone (or was it afew?), this was just a slip back to old habits...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Feb 27th, 2008 at 06:25:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just read a piece in Die Zeit that mentions the Black-Green city governance in Altona - where it seems to function quite well.

Do you have any online references for Frankfurt?

It is an intriguing model....

Dialog International

by DowneastDem (david.vickrey (at) post.harvard.edu) on Thu Feb 28th, 2008 at 07:37:40 AM EST


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]