Sunday, September 18, 2005

# Posted 3:57 PM by Patrick Belton  

GERMANY BLOGGING, PART EINS: (Or, what if they threw an election, and nobody won...) Der Spiegel has a live blog through the night of elections, and probably through most of the coming week, in English, here.

The latest development: in elections where both parties dropped off considerably from their result the last time, Merkel's CDU bests Schröder's SDU, though neither gets a majority in the Bundestag and the latter insists, perversely, that he remain chancellor. Dishearteningly, a coalition of some sort seems most likely, though hopefully Germany can avoid a 'grand coalition' in name only of the CDU and SDU, which would be incapable of any decisive action and would be bad for Germany, bad for the EU, and bad for the world.

Also, the Social Democrats remain the strongest party in the Ostländer, demonstrating perhaps that even one decade and a half after reunification and an Ossi running as the CDU's champion, Germany still has not got a national politics.

The night's real winners? Obviously, Der Spiegel. Second, the pro-market FDP which posts gains of 2.6-.7 per cent to 10%, and the Linkspartei (a left leaning coalition between the PDS and renegade SPD), which gains 4.6-.7 over their preceding vote share to 8.6-.7 per cent. The Green (or Grünen, to be pretentious) party have done reasonably well, holding on to all but .4-.5 of their vote share in the last elections with 8.1-.2 per cent of the vote. Schröder's SPD lose 4.3-.4 per cent from last time, down to 34.1-.2 per cent of the vote; and Merkel's CDU/CSU coalition come down 3.3-.5 to 35.0-.5 per cent.

The real losers are undoubtedly Merkel (see above), but also Schröder, who even if he holds on to the chancellorship, manages to seem obstinate and angry in postpoll interviewing by insisting he remain chancellor as the candidate most capable of forming a majority coalition, and gloating the voters denied a mandate to Merkel while ignoring that they denied one equally to him. Sadly, he may actually be right if the Forsa Institute's projections hold up: that public opinion research firm projects the CDU/CSU's slightly larger vote share actually translating into marginally fewer seats, 220 versus 223 for the SPD. But the point isn't yet clear: at bedtime, Der Spiegel's projections had shifted to a 222-222 match between the two parties, the CDU/CSU still edging slightly higher than the SDP in the vote count. UPDATE: current provo results break with the CDU/CSU having 225 seats to the SPD's 222, with smaller parties Free Democrats at 61, Left Party 54, and Greens 51.

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