German Federal Election 2005

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Anthony, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Enough talk of Iraq, Iran, Islamic Extremism and Vegetarianism. Let's get people's ideas about the German election.

    Schoerder lost a vote of no confidence, and has called an election for September. There is some constitutional question whether he can do that, but unless the President or Constitutional Court says otherwise, he is doing it.

    The CDU/CSU has a big lead on the SPD, and should be able to form a government with the FDP.

    However, there are some wildcards:

    1. The Greens -- they may lose votes and while the current polls show them above the magical 5% mark (the percentage needed to guarrantee proportional seats in the legislature) they are concerned they may get shut out. They also are in the middle of an ideological struggle within the party.

    2. The Far Right -- the two main far right parties are setting up a common list. While they are below that magical 5% mark, these parties have done fairly well on some state elections, and polls have a tendancy to underestimate support.

    3. The Far Left -- the old East German communists, the PDS, have entered into an electoral alliance with the disaffected left wing of the Social Democrats, which has reformed itself as the Labor and Justice Party. The combined left wing alliance is polling well in excess of 5% and in some polls is doing better than the SDP and Greens.

    4. Schroeder and the economy -- Schroeder's main problem is the stagnant economy and high unemployment (at least by German standards). He has tried some modest reforms, but that has proven very unpopular by all accounts (the right argues the reforms have done nothing while the left opposes any reform) and has lead to the SPD's left wing leaving the party. But he has a tendency to snatchg electoral victory from defeat.

    The scenarios

    A. The current polls hold and the CDU/CSU enters into a coalition government with the FDP with a comfortable majority. (Most likely)

    B. Schroeder pulls off another upset and wins a narrow government in coalition with his current partners, the Greens (Unlikely)

    C. The SPD rallies, but not enough and Schroeder enters into a Red, deep Red, Green coalition with the Greens and PDS/WAGS (very unlikely, as Schroeder and the SPD will not want to give any legitamacy to the PDS or to Oskar Lafontaine).

    D. The far right parties get more votes than expected, and the CDU/CSU/FDP forms a weak government (possible)

    E. The CDU/CSU forms a grand coalition with the SPD to engage in systematic economic reforms (possible).

    F. The CDU/CSU/FDP forms a coalition with the Greena. (Weird, but there actually is some press talk of that)

    My guess is that the CDU/CSU and FDP form a coalition, with a combined 55% of the vote, the far right falls short of 5%, the far left gets about 8%.
     
  2. Colm

    Colm Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    UK
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Looks like Schroeder will go, I know i'm looking at this from a outsider but i thought he's done pretty well for Germany apart from the high unemployment rate. So which party is likely to replace if he goes?
     
  3. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    Yes at the moment anyone but Angela Merkel (CDU) as next German chancellor would be a big (positive) surprise. With Stoiber (CSU) as foreign minister possibly, or finance minister... the good news is that at this rate we'll get to wear these pretty brown uniforms soon again, and can march, only this time aside our American friends, against the muslims who are unser Unglueck.
     
  4. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Arthur -- it is people like you that make me think the biggest mistake in US history was not letting the bolsheviks have Europe.
     
  5. Ian McCracken

    Ian McCracken Member

    May 28, 1999
    USA
    Club:
    SS Lazio Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    It's telling that a pro-American candidate is leading in Germany and Chirac is in trouble in France. The radical left makes all the noise, the silent majority will soon speak. The bombing in London has probably sealed Schroeder's fate, the German people will realize they need to get on the right side of the War on Terror.
     
  6. Colm

    Colm Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    UK
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    In your opinion its the right side dosn't nessercerely mean it is the right side, why are most governments around the world against the war on terror?

    i mean i am for the war on terror but should there be a war on anything?
     
  7. Colm

    Colm Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    UK
    Club:
    Tottenham Hotspur FC
    Nat'l Team:
    --other--
    Wrong, just because people are Anti bush dosn't mean they are anti american, the republicans slated the sh!t out of Clinton for the 8 years in charge so in your view the republicans were anti american for those years :rolleyes:
     
  8. tcmahoney

    tcmahoney New Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Metronatural
    So what makes Schroeder's call for new elections of dubious constitutionality? Usually, in parliamentary democracies, the government's loss in a no-confidence vote means elections will soon follow. Obviously, there's something different in Germany's rules. But what? And do ordinary citizens in Germany have standing to file lawsuits if they're convinced the government is monkeying with the rules?

    And could someone provide us with a scorecard for the German parties, please? Figuring out the Greens is easy enough, but all those acronyms lost me like a BMW speeding away from my Kia on the autobahn. :)
     
  9. Ian McCracken

    Ian McCracken Member

    May 28, 1999
    USA
    Club:
    SS Lazio Roma
    Nat'l Team:
    Italy
    I meant pro-American government, the current one.
     
  10. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    PDS: Old communists
    Die Grünen / Bundis 90: Green Party
    SPD: Center-Left, their version of the Democrats
    FDP: Libertarians
    CDU/CSU: Center-Right, their version of the Republicans
    And then there are some far-right parties, whose acronymns escape me.
     
  11. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Hanover
    Club:
    Hannover 96
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    right wing would be:
    REP die Republikaner called republicans, but far more extrem than the American counterpart
    DVU Deutsche Volksunion
    NPD Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands

    The last 2 will form an alliance and are considered more on the right than REP.
    Don't think they'll get enough votes though. If they do it is not worse here than it is in France or the netherlands with right-wing parties, but I still would be disappointed

    I wanted to add that while opposing the war in Iraq, Germany is supporting the war on terror. Keep in mind that after the first time we stationed soldiers outside of germany after WW2 was in the mid 90ies in Bosnia, soldiers abroad is still a very sensitive issue over here. a CDU/CSU government is not likely to change that.
    And Schröder loses powers because of domestic issues, not because of the Iraq war, that should be clear. Most Germans (about 90 %) agree with his foreign policy
     
  12. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Germany has some different rules, based on the Weimar experience, to make it difficult to simply bust up a government. I am not sure entirely of the nuances, but the issue here is that Scroeder called the vote and then failed it on purpose. A government is not supposed to simply dissolve itself and call new elections, which is what Scroeder in effect did. A German wil have to explain (my German in-laws really don't care enough about their government system to explain, and in any event, I probably know more about German politics and history than they do)


    I ageree that Merkel's pro-Americanism (and the even more pronounced pro-Americanism of the FDP) has litttle to do with their status in the polls (though I think some thinking Germans realize that simple anti-Americanism is no substitute for good government)

    But I think the current government goes beyond simple anti-Bushism a plays with anti-Americanism. It was even the case during the Clinton years. But it is now more pronounced. Schroeder when first elected set forth a set of economic criteria he wanted to meet, and said if he failed, to not reelect him. He did not even come close. Most of it was not his fault, the Western economy was in a slump due to the dot com bust, then 9/11. So when it looked like he would lose the election, he played the anti-American card. What I thought was the most ironic and cynical ploy was when one of his cabinet ministers claimed that Bush was like Hitle in playing up foreign threats to divert attention from the economy when, in fact, that is what th SPD was doing.

    Schroeder's allies at home continue to play the anti-American card. One of the SPD's union allies has taken to refering to American investors in Germany as "bloodsuckers" using visual and verbal imagry last seen in the Nazi era.

    The sad thing is that Scroeder has tried some modest economic reforms. But they were half measures, did nothing posiive but angered many. So Merkel may have her hands tied and be unable to iintroduced the needed reforms to the economy.
     
  13. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    This is a pretty good summary, and I am impressed with your knowledge of German politics. Indeed, the Grundgesetz was designed so that a vote of misconfidence could be used by the opposing parties to end a failing goverment, but not to give the government the means to call for new elections whenever convenient. Of course, there's no way of preventing representatives from voting against their own party (or withholding their vote), which is what happened. These representatives don't really vote according to their beliefs, but according to tactics, which some people feel is not really constitutional. It's fairly irrelevant though as the majority of Germans is in favour of new elections. Including myself, even if that means we'll have to go through a 4 year perios of increased social injustice and a foreign policy I don't agree with.

    Anyway, like many people on this baord you do make the mistake of not differentiating between anti-Bushism and anti-Americanism. Of course, there is an anti-American undercurrent in Germany, but that's far from mainstream, and most people in all political parties (with the exceptions of many, but not all, Green party members and the PDS) see good relations with the US as fundamental for a well functioning Germany and Europe. Of course there have been provocations, sometimes tasteless ones (like my tasteless post from above that you rightly criticised, albeit in a similarly tasteless way), but these provocations have come from both sides. Rumsfeld's 'Old Europe' remark has done a lot of damage to the image of the USA in Germany and France, if my friends are anything like representative. And comments like 'hand you over to the Bolsheviks' don't exactly encourage trust either.

    Of course, a lot about these comments with respect to anti-Americanism are based on personal perceptions, or what is presented in the media. The German media I read are definitely not anti-American, but I don't exclude that some more radical ones are (I haven't read the taz, Konkret or the junge Welt in ages, while I usually read Spiegel, Sueddeutsche and Zeit). I and most of my friends are certainly not anti-American. When we became politically aware, Ronnie decided to bomb Tripoli, and that and reading about the history of the USA since 1945 left many of us with an inherent mistrust of American foreign politics, even though there's still much gratitude for saving us from the Nazis, and providing the basis for our fast economic development. Still, we went on schol trips to the US, admired the country, made lost of American friends. Now, many of us travel to the States for holidays or work. I love the American approach to science, although I wouldn't want to work in a country where you get less than 3 weeks of holidays per year (but I spend one month per year at Emory for work). Still, the doubt of American politics remains and has increased significantly since the first Iraq war in 1990, and even more since the recent one. BUt to call this anti-Americanism is quite far off the mark.
     
  14. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The PDS only has suppoort in eastern Germany, but the far left wing of the SPD has bolted the party and formed the Labor and Social Justice Party (WASG) headed by formed SPD head Oskar Lafontaine. These two parties are formig an electoral alliance.

    In theory (and in practice) the SPD is to the left of the American Democratic party. The SPD used to be a socialist party, but today is a social democratic party. It does have a more activist left wing that would like to return to its roots.

    I have always found Christian Democracy to be wishy-washy watered down conservatism. The CSU is the more socially conservative of the two conservatvie parties. Bavaria is more rural, so it makes sense.

    If German, I would be an FDP member.
     
  15. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    'Die Partei der Besserverdienenden.' Guess I'm glad to hear that you are well off!
     
  16. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Hanover
    Club:
    Hannover 96
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    Your knowledge about Germany is bigger than mine of the US. I am just shocked! ;-)

    Anyways, I don't think it is pure anti americanism, as Arthur pointed out. (I consider myself as a friend of the American ppl, but I am not friends with the american government, it's domestic (though that's your problem, not mine) and it's foreign policies. Many Germans and Europeans feel like that.

    About the FDP, even though I agree on some of their issues, I just don't feel able to vote for them because their politicians are just crap. On a local basis that changed (Rösle for example), but I don't want westerwelle in charge of anything.

    @ Arthur: The americans are different than that anyways, you should know that... they do what the besserverdienenden want anyways ;-)
     
  17. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Thanks, I guess

    But I think there is an attempt to say that anti-Americanism started on January 20, 2001. When in reality, it was always there. Your press paints this characature of Bush and Americans and frankly I think does a great disservice to you.

    In any event, prior to 9/11, the big commplaints about Bush's foreign policy (at least from Europeans) were that (1) he did not want to ratify Koyto, forgetting that the US Senate, both Repblicans and Democrats, had rejected Koyto during the Clinton Administration something like 98-1, (2) his support of Israel, and (3) his "isolationism" which really meant that he was more focused on Latin America and Asia than Europe.

    I really do not know much about the indicual FDP politicians, only their theoires. And the FDP seems to me to be one of the few serious classically liberal/libertarian parties in the world (the US Libertarian Party is something of a joke and serious libertarians (like I think I am or at least try to be) tend to be Republicans). Of course, your political system (with national list proporational representation backing up constituency voting) helps them get seats.

    Actually, the "besserverdienenden" here wanted us to vote for Kerry. In fact, books have been written about it. The "besserverdienenden" are truely shocked about it.
     
  18. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    Did you even read my previous post? Like I said, the American government has been criticised for a long time. The Vietnam war wasn't very well received in Europe either, and the bombing of Lybia that I mentioned did a lot of damage as well. Still, that's not ant-Americanism, it's criticism of the government and its politics. Now since 1990 and even more since 2001 the criticism is increasing, which is not surprising given that you have re-elected let's say not the brightest guy on earth.

    As for your judgement of the German press, which German newspapers do you read? I mentioned the ones I read, what about you? Accusations without substantiating them don't look very good.
     
  19. christopher d

    christopher d New Member

    Jun 11, 2002
    Weehawken, NJ
    As is the CDU. That wasn't the point. The point was that the SPD is the more or less "official" party of the German left wing (but German leftists I've met would have nothing to do with them, thus completing the analogy).
     
  20. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    That's right. The rightward movement of the German SPD has in fact a lot to do with their loss of votes. The last poll I saw predicted about 10% of votes for the new Left Party, and I guess many of these will have come from ex SPD voters (as has one of their leaders, Oscar Lafontaine). The Germany SPD has modelled itself a bit after New Labour in the UK (they even sent a delegation to the UK trying to find out why Tony Blair was so successful), but the German conservatives are not quite as ridiculous as the Tories so it didn't quite work.
     
  21. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Hanover
    Club:
    Hannover 96
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    If the FDP actually would have good politicians and would not have said that they'll only ally with the Union they would have been able to go well over 10% imho

    as for German newspapers, I read Der Stern and Der Spiegel as well as my local paper HAZ... even though I think the Süddeutsche is quite fair in general it only posts negative things about Hanover, so I would never buy it...
    I agree though that Spiegel and Stern tend to be very critical on the US, sometimes a bit too harsh. That's why I am here, to get both sides of the story :)
     
  22. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    I don't read Stern (unless I am waiting at the hairdresser and am bored, or at the dentist and scared :) ), but don't you agree that the Spiegel is anti-American-politics rather than anti-American? For me, that's a very important distinction to make. We don't have to think so far back to remember a time where it was considered anti-German to be against the Nazis, or anti-East-German to be against the Communist government. As a result, I am very wary if someone uses the anti-American stereotype against a critic of American politics. That's just sooo convenient. And like I said, it reminds be of darker times.
     
  23. Anthony

    Anthony Member+

    Chelsea
    United States
    Aug 20, 1999
    Chicago
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Arthurd -- To answer a previous question, about what I read, I do read Spiegel's English language website fairly frequently (my German is practically nil these days, despite having German in-laws) along with DWs (I also try and watch DW's news program occasionally on an international channel I get). For non-German sources, I also read AFP's English language news and regularly read the Guardian and the Telegraph.

    That's a good point, and well taken. I mean, the nasty anti-American stuff seems to come from Stern more, such as this.. But reading the descriptions of America even in Spiegel, I wonder sometimes if the writers ended up in a different coutnry, maybe they are reporting from a theme park in North Korea meant to make fun of America and populated by the descendents of missing Korean War soldiers.

    That is rediculous. We have a saying in America -- "Call a spade a spade" (a spade is a type of shovel). Schroeder and his allies play the Anti-American card, pure and simple. Yes, it focuses now on Bush, but I remember things said about Clinton too. And as far as I can tell, this has nothing to do with Bush but America in general:

    [​IMG]

    By the way, I have invested in a German company, am I an Aussauger? My mother-in-law who is now an American citizen still owns property in Germany. If she an Aussauger? I know thiu is unfair to ask of you as you have nothing to do with the union that put this out, but I think this is indicative of an anti-Americanism that underlies German politics.


    You call my comments "McCarthyism! The return of Hitler!" But again, looking at this from afar, this all seems to be a manifestation of anti-Americanism that drives a large segment of German politics and poisons it.

    Anti-Americanism is no substitute for good government. And whether it is anti-Bush, anti-American politics or anti-America, your political class is doing you a disservice.
     
  24. arthur d

    arthur d Member

    Oct 17, 2004
    Cambridge England
    I don't call you a McCarthy follower at all, I still hope you are far more sensible than that. And thanks for telling me what a spade is .... BTW it's caricature not characature, and there is only one m in complaints, and no e in ridiculous. Caricature refers to a comic, sometimes grotesque, imitation of something. Thought you wanted to know... please don't correct my English, I suspect it's better than yours. If I wanted to be anti-American, I'd take the piss out of you guys speaking on average about two languages more or less satisfactorily. Or, in some instances, no foreign language at all.

    Anyway, I had a look at the Stern article. As much as I think the Stern is rubbish, and not to be taken seriously (I might as well take CNN or Fox news seriously), the spin of this article is that 51% of Americans were against the war. What didn't you like, the pictures? You are simply too sensitive here. Come on, a poster of the IGM! Not to be taken seriously either. What do you want me to make of the anti-German, Nazi accusations that are stilll to be found in the American and British media? Or all the nonsense about France surrendering too fast during WW 2? You have to take all these things with a grain of salt. The behaviour of governments is a different matter, and I still think that the representatives of the US government have displayed far more anti-Europeanism than vice versa.

    Anyway, we might never agree here. And I don't feel you are qualified to judge this until your German gets better. You can't get a sensible opinion from badly translated websites, and the occasional English language article in the German media. The same holds for your opinion of Schroeder's view of the US, of course. I like your interest in Germany, but how would you feel if I told you that I like the Green party in the US and support Nader? You'd think that I need to do more research. Well, that's what I think of you.
     
  25. __Dynamite__

    __Dynamite__ Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    Krusa (Denmark)
    Not true! I`ve you look at their program, you will see that they are indeed the german counterpart of the Amerikan republicans. People only see the german republicans even more right-winged cause the other german parties are more left oriented.

    I would even see the CDU/CSU left of the American democrats (with some exeptions like Beckstein, Bavarian Minister of Interior).

    Its quite obvious that the CDU/CSU will win the election. The biggest question in my oppinion is, wheter they will be strong enough to get in coalition with the FDP or if the will have to work together with the SPD.

    Never the less, Schroeder will not be chancellor after the election, because the results of his politics are to bad when it gets down to business and economy. But to be honest, you have to say that mass media newspapers like the right-conservative BILD made strong tendencies against Schroeder to support CDU (like the FOX-News in the USA make strong tendencies against the democrats).

    You also have to say, that the CDU blocked lots of importent laws and reforms in the "Bundesrat" (dont know the america equivalent), where they have the mayority.
     

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