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Evaluation Regional Elections Germany 09

Evaluation Regional Elections Germany 09

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Published by gkaratsioubanis
Die Linke Evaluation on the Regional Elections in Germany August 2009
Die Linke Evaluation on the Regional Elections in Germany August 2009

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Published by: gkaratsioubanis on Sep 02, 2009
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09/01/2009

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International Policy Department
Berlin, 1
st
September 2009
 
Introduction
On August 30 regional elections took place in the German federal states (länder) of Saxony,Thuringia and Saarland. On the same day, local elections were held in North Rhine-Westphalia. These elections were considered as a barometer of public opinion concerning theupcoming elections to the Bundestag on September 27.These elections are also interesting against the background of the future forming of a nationalgovernment: The present grand coalition of CDU/CSU and SPD is estimated by allprotagonists of the German political scene as at least suboptimal. That’s why the CDU/CSUis focussing on a conservative government together with the FDP. Coincidentally, theestablishment of DIE LINKE as the fifth force within the German parliamentary system and theconstant loss of votes of the two big parties (CDU/CSU, SPD) for the benefit of the smallerparties (Greens, FDP, DIE LINKE) is causing a modified situation relating to the historicallygrown coalition possibilities of governments in the Federal Republic of Germany. The cases,where a big party can form a coalition with a smaller party will become less frequent in future.The forming of governments in the länder are allowing to draw certain conclusions concerningthe future acting of the established parties from the Western part of Germany within the newfive-party system: While the CDU tries to widen its options for being in government throughforming coalitions with the Green party, (existing coalition of CDU and Greens in the land ofHamburg, exploratory talks towards a CDU, FDP and Green government in Saarland, the socalled “Jamaica-Coalition”), the SPD is not decided yet whether to carry the political changetogether with DIE LINKE, which had been claimed by the SPD election campaign, or to be the junior partner in a grand coalition (Saarland, Thuringia). Just as unclear is the intention of theSPD to come to decisions on that before or after the elections to the Bundestag onSeptember 27.It is essential for DIE LINKE, that the forming of a government together with the SPD ispossible, provided that arrangements in terms of social justice, ecological rebuilding, a justeducational system or more democracy can be achieved. But DIE LINKE makes also clear thatthis model is not an option with regard to the federal government, because of the neoliberalagenda of the national Social Democratic Party and its “YES” to military interventions of theGerman army.DIE LINKE performed well in these elections and Co-chairman Oskar Lafontaine, the winner ofthe elections in Saarland, said that all had not been said and done
 
in regard to the electionsin September. General Secretary Dietmar Bartsch took the same line and stated that DIELINKE was going with great tailwind into the elections to the Bundestag.Below, you will find a summary and first evaluation of the elections, developed in the electionnight.
 
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The elections of August 30 2009Summary and first evaluation
 
issued by Dr. Benjamin-Immanuel Hoffand Horst Kahrs
Evaluation of the 2009 regional elections in Saarland, Thuringia andSaxony
The CDU had to suffer a bitter election defeat on the 30
th
of August 2009. At the regionalelections in Saarland, Thuringia and Saxony the Union had to accept partially binary losses.The party lost her sole reign in Thuringia and Saarland.Thuringia’s prime minister Althaus and Saarland’s prime minister Müller get punished by thevoters. There are just the possibilities to build “red-red” (SPD – DIE LINKE) or “red-red-green”(SPD – DIE LINKE - Greens) governments in both federal states.Because of the little losses of the CDU in Saxony, the next Federal prime minister will berecruited by the CDU again. A “black-yellow” (CDU-FDP) alliance could exemplify for theGerman Bundestag.In spite of the election losses, the CDU could be able to rule in all three federal states, if theSPD forms a coalition with them. And in Saxony the CDU has the choice between SPD andFDP.It is also possible to experience the “Jamaica-Coalition”, consisting of CDU, FDP and theGreens, in Saarland.Altogether the Bundestag project of a “black-yellow” - coalition suffered a setback at the2009 regional elections. This coalition is just possible in one federal state instead of three.But the loss of the sole reigns also implies more political options for action to the CDU.For the SPD it is hard to benefit from the regional election results. They will place the primeminister of Saarland, if the Greens join in. But the gain in this political option does not implya higher mobilisation of voters. In Thuringia the SPD stays far behind the Left and is,according to the rules, not able to place the federal prime minister. The SPD has to be the junior partner in a coalition. In Saxony, according to the federation, the SPD is in the sameposition like the FDP and both have to bid for the Union’s favour. The election result onSunday intensified the strategic dilemma of the SPD instead opening up more possibilities.The Greens and the FDP were the great winners on this evening. Their results transformedtwo more federal parliaments into five-party-parliaments. Both parties became partly muchstronger, especially the FDP, which does not mean that their benefits could clear the lossesof the Union. The FDP won a option to govern in Saxony and the Green won political optionsfor action in Saarland and Thuringia.
 
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The Left reached an outstanding result in the Saarland, which is in big parts due to OskarLafontaine. Whether this victory will be connected to a change of policy is in the hands of theGreens. Also in Thuringia, the party with its prime minister candidate Bodo Ramelow couldincrease and almost reached the CDU. Whether this victory in the election can betransformed into a political victory, the weeks to come will have to show. The result in Saxonycannot satisfy, especially regarding the distinct losses in Dresden and East Saxony behind theoverall result in the state.The voter turnout rose in Thuringia and in Saarland. The reason is the reachable possibility ofa policy change. With this prospective, the voters could be mobilized by the oppositionparties, while the one party government of the CDU was more likely to tire and exhaust theiradherents, in any case it is not mobilizing.The effects for the federal elections depend on the acting of the parties in the days to come.The FDP and – a bit more moderate – the Christian Democrats used massive warningsagainst the “red camp”. The Greens, on the other hand tried to present themselves as thefirst modern party in the five party system: themes and contents were important. The SPD willnot have much time to enjoy “the dramatic losses of the CDU” because there were almost noincreases for themselves. How the SPD, pinched between the continuation of the GrandCoalition as the only realistic option for government on the one side and the refusal of acooperation with the Left on the federal level on the other, wants to take an offensive tomobilize its potential remains unclear. It is not very likely that the SPD will make that clearerbefore September 27
th
(the day of the federal elections).A small ray of hope for the SPD is the recapture of the mayor’s offices in Cologne, Essen andDortmund. Nevertheless, the local elections brought no rebirth of the SPD in the big townsand districts of the Ruhr region. In fact, the Greens increased their result here. For the Leftthe local elections were a more modest beginning of the political cycle till the state electionsin May 2010.
2. The results in Thuringia
The Landtag of Thuringia has changed again from a three-party parliament to a five-partyparliament. CDU lost a third of its MP. DIE LINKE, despite its grown share of the votes, lostone seat, but is now never the less shortly behind the CDU.
Rate of votes SeatsLTW04 LTW09 LTW04 LTW09CDU
43,0% 31,2% -11,7% 45 30 -15
SPD
14,5% 18,5% 4,1% 15 18 3
Grüne
4,5% 6,2% 1,6% 0 6 6
FDP
3,6% 7,6% 4,0% 0 7 7
PDS/LINKE
26,1% 27,4% 1,3% 28 27 -1
Others
8,3% 9,0% 0,7% 0 0 0
 
The result of the votes is a disastrous defeat for the CDU and its Prime Minister DieterAlthaus. Simultaneously, the voters have confirmed to DIE LINKE its entitlement to govern theland. DIE LINKE continues to be the second strongest party. The SPD could get additional

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