Germany: conservatives lose ground in election

January 27, 2008, Yahoo News:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered heavy losses in an election in the state of Hesse on Sunday, dealing her a blow ahead of next year's federal vote.

In a separate election in Lower Saxony, the CDU held on to power as expected. Below are potential implications of the elections:

- The big losses for Hesse premier Roland Koch, who looks likely to lose power, are a blow to Merkel who backed his election campaign against young foreign criminals which immigrant groups and opposition parties denounced as xenophobic.

- A win for the SPD in Hesse could turn them into a more confident, confrontational partner for Merkel at the federal level. Policy-making in Berlin, which has already stalled, could grind to a complete halt.

- The poor performance by Koch, an advocate of economic reforms and tough security measures, means Merkel is likely to opt for a more centrist, compassionate conservative approach in the run-up to the 2009 federal election.

- If the SPD ends up forming a three-way coalition in Hesse with the Greens and either the liberal Free Democrats or Left party, that grouping could become a model for future coalitions at the national level.

- The Left party crossed the 5 percent threshold in Lower Saxony and appeared on track to do the same in Hesse. They will enter the parliament of a large western state for the first time, making them a new force and possible kingmaker nationwide.

- Koch, long seen as a leader of the CDU's right wing, can probably give up any ambitions he nurtures of succeeding Merkel as chancellor. Christian Wulff, the premier of Lower Saxony who is seen as more moderate and charismatic, now looks like Merkel's heir apparent in the conservative camp.
An election campaign poster of Hesse's state Prime Minister Roland Koch is defaced with the word "agitator" in downtown Frankfurt, January 15, 2008. Koch will start as top candidate for the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the upcoming state elections in Hesse, January 27

A bodyguard gets an umbrella to shield Hesse's state Prime Minister Roland Koch (R) from eggs and tomatoes being thrown, during an election campaign rally in Frankfurt, January 24, 2008. Koch will start for a third period, as his conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) top candidate for the upcoming state elections in Hesse, January 27. The hardliner, one of the most polarising leaders of the right in his generation, won elections in 1999 and 2003 by playing on subtle anti-foreign sentiment in the state of Hesse, home to Germany's banking capital Frankfurt.

A man poses for a picture in front of election campaign posters of Hesse's state Prime Minister Roland Koch (L) and his social democratic challenger Andrea Ypsilanti in Heusenstamm near Frankfurt, January 18, 2008. Koch will start as top candidate for the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in the upcoming state elections in Hesse, January 27. Poster reads 'With Him Hesse Stays Strong'.

A frame grab taken from surveillance camera footage and released by police January 3, 2008, shows two youths (one obscured by a wall) attacking a German pensioner at a Munich railway station. Top conservative Roland Koch from Chancellor Angela Merkel's party, who is fighting for re-election in the prosperous western state of Hesse, issued a new warning to immigrants on Thursday, saying they must adapt to the German way of life or face "consequences". Koch outraged immigrant groups earlier this week when he accused foreigners of fuelling youth crime in Germany. The debate over youth crime was sparked over the Christmas holidays when surveillance cameras in a Munich train station caught two youths -- one Greek, one Turkish -- viciously beating a German pensioner.

Governments getting more centrist trying to hold their countries together. Until, poof, new headlines start to appear like "civil war" and "separatists". Governments can only hold diversity together for so long.


Anonymous said...

Bitish Patriot...

Good luck to our German Brothers, we too face the same Problem...

Our common enemy is the EU..

Abandon Skip said...

Right you are. The EU is a scary beast.