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

Bremen Wahl (Election) Results

by Crazy Horse Tue May 24th, 2011 at 07:01:35 PM EST

Nothing changed really, so there's not much to report. In fact, the SPD has remained in power since the last war ended. The past few times with Greens. Sure, Bremen's broke, but who isn't? Not much noteworthy, 'cept a few historical wrinkles, so no need to read on.

Unless you're interested in some "interesting trends."

bremen's only got 500,000 or so voters, comprising one old Hansa League city (the first) and one harbor built in sorta modern times, which happens to be the center of the German offshore wind industry. so it's not like the Green's gaining the government in Porsche/BMV country. Still...

This is the first time in post-war history that the Greens out-polled the scheiss CDU, Merkel's macht Spielzug.  23-20, or so. Not attributable to global climate disaster, oder?

Can't remember if The Left lost a bit, but they just crossed into being almost NOT represented. (i mean not as in no, not Not as in the german word emergency, which they share with the FDP.)

Der Spiegel's "business friendly" FDP didn't make the cut, polling less than 3%, which caused a few "serious" glasses to be raised post results. The local Party leader has already resigned, but it's not like he had anything to work with.

My impression of the Bremen vote made me feel really good, though i can't put my finger on why, Not counting auf wiedersehen (nicht wirklich, because i hope i never see them again, and not just because my uncle was a heavyweight) FDP, don't slam the door on the way out.

So actually, there's not much to report, except Yes.

Told you not to read on.

Though i suppose, under the circumstances, i could let out with a small


or so.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 07:15:22 PM EST
there is the contention that the CDU is losing the cities i.e. the young urban voters to the greens. Why should anyone vote for them - who are they? Also their 'modernization' strategy is not working but hurting.

Schengen is toast!
by epochepoque on Tue May 24th, 2011 at 07:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Economist had an article this week (ie before the election) to explain how Bremen was a pampered subsidized aberration...

Freedom doesn't come cheap
The odd arrangements of a small northern state may not last much longer

Uniquely in Germany, Bremerhaven has its own constitution, runs its own police and manages its own schools. Elsewhere these are matters for the Land. The city sends its own slate of politicians to the Bürgerschaft, where they form a powerful lobby. This means fringe parties can win seats in the legislature without competing statewide for votes. (It may also save the FDP.) Most of all, Bremerhaven cannot be sanctioned by the state for its spending plans.

It has used this freedom to spectacular effect. The old port is lined with eye-catching attractions, including what looks like a space-faring inflatable raft (the "Climate House") and a museum dealing with European emigrants to America, many of whom set forth from Bremerhaven. The city has high hopes for offshore wind energy, especially after the German government's sudden decision to pull out of nuclear energy as soon as possible. It treated itself to a €16m ($23m) arena for the Fischtown Pinguins, a second-tier ice-hockey team, and has built up a towering debt. "If Bremerhaven was one of many cities, it would never have got the same help," says Detlef Kolze, a local journalist.

The reins are soon to shorten, however. Bremen, like all Länder, must eliminate its structural deficit by 2020 under the German constitution. Bremerhaven must help, in exchange for a share of €300m a year of "consolidation aid". Bremen's fiscal freedom "will clearly shrink, and that goes for Bremerhaven as well," says Hermann Kuhn, the Greens' budget spokesman in the Bürgerschaft.

Bremen cannot afford failure. Rich Länder already grumble about their transfers to needy states, including €444m to Bremen last year. Why should they subsidise Bremen's "cost of littleness", which they reckon (unfairly, says Mr Kuhn) is €100m a year? If Bremen misses the zero-deficit target, outsiders will question its independence. Bremen will have to curb Bremerhaven's freedoms to preserve its own.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 05:41:25 AM EST
Apparently "freedom" is a good thing when used by little places like Jersey or the Caymans.

Otherwise, bad.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 05:50:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
some points the Econo-Mist failed to mention:

  •  Klimahaus is germany's museum to climate issues, visited by school trips almost every day of the school year, from all over. But climate issues aren't all that important to support, from the magazine's perspective.

  •  The Ausswandern Museen (Museum of Emigration?) documents the huge role the ports of Bremen and Bremerhaven played as the main embarkation point for emigration, and is also used as a center for people wishing to find evidence of the forebearers. Of course, also visited by schools from all over northern 'Schland.

  •  Bremen has spent significant funds setting up the infrastructure as the main staging area for the German offshore wind industry. Not a small point, as the needs for turbine, tower and foundation manufacture, including large rotor blades, as well as storage and and shipping centers. The workers come from all over Niedersachsen. (Other smaller centers exist as well, for example in Cuxhaven or Emden.

  •  Bremerhaven is the global shipping center for the Mercedes production in Bremen, and who knows what else. Much city-built infrastructure there as well.

  •  Along the Weser between Bremen and Bremerhaven is the center for the production of the yachts needed for Saudi princes and various oligarchs. the econo-Mist could have mentioned that except it might have riled the hoi-polloi.

Propaganda becomes so sophisticated. Perhaps they should have told of the origins of Bremen, as the first free trade city in the world, and the first to obtain freedom from the kings.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 06:35:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
All the economic activity centered on the port doesn't bring in any money? Will this change, in particular with offshore wind?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 07:30:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not sure, but the Port was affected by the meltdown. earlier, several industries moved elsewhere. (airbus closed a factory, though that was outside of Bremerhaven.)

But yes, offshore wind should pick things up over the next few years.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 07:43:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the no.2 for the Greens resigned, just days after the election. wonder if he's taken a job in offshore wind?

Loskes Rückzug überrascht die Partei

He surprised the Party? Hmmm.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 11:25:11 AM EST
With 5 out of 507 precincts still counting:

SPD (Social Democrats)38.6%+1.936+4
CDU (Christian Democrats)20.4%-5.220-3
Left Party (hard left)5.6%-2.84-3
BIW (Citizens In Anger; law-and-order right-populist)3.8%+3.01±0
FDP (Free Democrats; neoliberals)2.4%-3.60-5
Pirate Party (information freedom)1.9%+0±0
NPD (neo-Nazi far-right)1.6%+(-1.1)(-1)

All others below 1%. For NPD, the numbers in parentheses compare to the numbers of DVU, a rival outfit that a few years ago began to follow the policy to not run against each other with the NPD, and now wants to merge with it (held up by the courts so far).

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

by DoDo on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 02:04:10 PM EST
  • The survival of the Left Party, even if with losses, is quite noteworthy. In the previous regional elections, Bremen was the first West German state where the Left Party entered parliament, and this Left Swing In Bremen led to a big scare in business media. But the 'optimists' hoped that the Bremen Left Party is a disorderly enough bunch to descend into hopeless squabbles and inconsistent policymaking to not survive the next elections – well that hope was quashed. And the survival is the more noteworthy given the circumstances: With the energy debate looming large in Germany, there is a trend for leftish progressives to want to empower the surging Greens. Two months ago this already prevented the Left Party from entering two of the three last West German state parliaments it wasn't represented in (Baden-Württenberg and Rhineland-Palatinate). I hope the surviving Bremen Left Party can have a loud voice as the SPD and Greens are pushed down the austerity route.

  • I don't know much about Citizens in Anger, only that the local group used to be part of the onetime Schill party (founded by a law-and-order judge in Hamburg who first got media attention with US-style frivolous rulings, then entered politics, then got into the city government, then sank in a string of corruption and cocaine scandals) but then was taken over by a similar outfit from Berlin, and that they are strong (above 7%) in Bremerhafen (hence the single representative).

  • CDU: I wonder how much of their loss was owed to an apparent swiftboating campaign by Bild, Germany's equivalent of the Sun. The CDU put up an election poster showing the mayor candidate and two workers with port facilities in the background. Bild then interviewed some port workers expressing outrage over the CDU's use of "fake port workers". Now the CDU protested that they never claimed that the workers are port workers, and named the two guys to demonstrate that they weren't fakes but actual workers who get into the port on their jobs, but it was too late, and indeed the triumphant SPD mayor included "we don't use fake port workers on our posters like some" in his celebratory speech. But what's interesting here is why a right-populist rag attacks the CDU. One possibility is opposition to the strategy attempted by the local CDU: they tried for a liberal image, with the mayoral candidate going as far as visiting some gay-lesbian event.

  • As indicated upthread, the big question in the German media is the future of the CDU. At the same time Merkel plays an ultra-damaging role in the Euro crisis and even instrumentalises anti-Southerner racist stereotypes to secure her government majority in parliament, she is still the leader of the 'moderniser' camp within her party (who want to move to the center and shed social conservatism to survive generational change) in a pitched battle against the conservatives. Despite the apparent success of Bild's apparent scheme, so far the Bremen debacle seems to have been inconclusive, with both sides claiming a proof of their thesis (modernisers: "see we lose the cities to the Greens if we don't modernise"; conservatives: "see we don't gain in the cities if we pretend to be Greens, but are in danger to lose the countryside").

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 02:42:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While i'm no expert on the politics of my city, it's fair to state that Bremen is not representative of the national debate about the future of the CDU. They've never had power here, and for the foreseeable future won't. Their base are the captains of industry here, and villagers.

Bremen is a hippy Stadt. laid back. (of course that's a gross generalization.)

the biggest news remains that the FDP is now invisible, despite Bremen being the birth of independent free trade.

The Pirates are all over the streets, but can't seem to break through the mindset.

In all my time in germany, i've never seen an election that seemed so relaxed... despite the presence of Merkel, Trittin and Gysi in the final days.

As for the BILD, imagine what they have to cook up in order to sell here in Bremen, totally against their national outlook. (Full disclosure: i was notified today i won 50€ from the BILD for my vote in the best waitress/er contest. Don't get me wrong, i purchase one BILD per year, and twice a year go online. I only voted because she works where i'm Stammgäste for Werder matches. Still, i'll take the 50€.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 03:26:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Speaking of the FDP, some commentators wrote that "the leadership change was of no use", but others that "the leadership change was too late to have an effect"...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 04:25:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But here they could also  have said none of it matters. the "leadership" change had nothing to do with how much they are discredited here, and how little they matter in what the Bremen electorate deems important.

notice the play Here.

One should also consider that this was the first time 16 and 17 year olds were allowed to vote, and they went Green.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Ana´s Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 05:00:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Piraten holding the national trend at about 2%, even with (or because of) the seizure of the party's servers two days before the election.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 02:58:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For me the biggest plus about these numbers is that the Pirates beat the far-right for the youth vote almost everywhere. However, on the long run, I am sceptical: I think if they don't make it across the 5% barrier somewhere in the next three years, they will be written off as forever also-rans.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 04:12:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They have taken some local council seats, so hopefully something to build on there.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 04:24:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wonder how much the 5% limit impacts the development of political landscapes. Can you find me a time series of parliamentary vote percentages for Swedish Greens and Pirates, and the first years when they entered parliament?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 04:27:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]

1982 - 1,7
1985 - 1,5
1988 - 5,5
1991 - 3,4
1994 - 5,0
1995 (EP) - 17,2
1998 - 4,5
1999 (EP) - 9,5
2002 - 4,7
2004 (EP) - 6,0
2006 - 5,2
2009 (EP) - 11,0
2010 - 7,3

2006 - 0,6
2009 (EP) - 7,1
2010 - 0,7

Sweden has a 4% limit both to parliament and EP. EP elections tend to beenfit those perceived not to be in power. Greens 1995 and 2009. Pirates 2009.

In the spring of 2009 lots of things went the pirates way in Sweden, or rather lots of attacks on file-sharers which generated votes.

1988 is known as the seal death election, which hugely benefitted the greens.

If the german pirates keep 2%, pick up local seats here and there, get some funding from results and keep building organisation, they are in a good position to make good use of a seal death moment. Nothing to guarantee that one will come though.

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

by A swedish kind of death on Wed May 25th, 2011 at 05:01:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since the Pirates get consistently above 1% of the votes, they are eligible for public party financing. That is called the smnall 5% hurdle.
by IM on Fri May 27th, 2011 at 05:40:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the record, the final preliminary result – with a one-seat shift from Greens to the Left Party:

SPD (Social Democrats)38.6%+1.936+4
CDU (Christian Democrats)20.3%-5.320-3
Left Party (hard left)5.6%-2.85-2
BIW (Citizens In Anger; law-and-order right-populist)3.7%+2.91±0
FDP (Free Democrats; neoliberals)2.4%-3.60-5
Pirate Party (information freedom)1.9%+0±0
NPD (neo-Nazi far-right)1.6%+(-1.1)(-1)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri May 27th, 2011 at 04:13:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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