Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Five thoughts about the German election

When I was biking home today I decided to summarize five thoughts about the German election, just to have something to do (I bike the same way every day, and it is quite boring). Here they are:

1. The left (SPD 222 seats , Greens, 51, Links/PDS 54) clearly got more votes than the right (CDU/CSU 225 seats, FDP 61). 327 seats is simply a lot more than 286! This is almost never reflected upon in the newspaper analysis I have read, but Ali Esbati (who else?) underlined the impressive results of the Links/PDS in the East and made some forgotten points in general. Also, few papers have mentioned the catastrophic result of the CSU in Bavaria, they are now below 50 percent and they went down 10 percentage points compared to 2002. OK, the election did not provide a clear winner, but the left clearly got more votes.

2. Swedish pollsters and right-wing newspapers should visit before they state things like “it is looking almost impossible for the Social Democratic party to win the next election”. Some example of the CDU lead over SPD from polls the last months (CDUs figures first):
May 29th: 49-28.
June 22nd (my Mum’s birthday): 49-26.
July 22nd 43-26.
August 22nd 43-29.
September 5th 43-31.
September 12th 42-35.
Election result: 35,2-34,3, and Dresden (October 2nd) to go!
It ain’t over until it’s over, Te(m)o and De(m)oskop!

3. Since the voters expressed more left sentiments than right-wing sentiments (see point one) I think that Schröder should form a government. The number one option would be a traffic-light coalition between Schröder (red), the FDP (yellow) and the Greens. I only say so because the election partly was called because SPD had problems getting stuff through parliament; FDP is way too liberal for me. The second best solution would be a SPD-Greens minority coalition, which then would have to rely on agreements with Links/PDS in the Bundestag. The left won, and then Schröder should form a government.

4. I don’t want an Austrian-style big government between SPD and CDU since I think it would make extremes to the left (and maybe right) grow. I also don’t like CDU because of a lot of reasons, right now primarily because of their attitude towards Turkish membership of the EU (yes, they are against it). The EUs ability to attract countries to reform is one of its main functions, and a big Muslim country in the EU would in the long run have a lot of positive effects, and I also support because of geopolitical reasons. Don’t compromise with the right, and let Turkey start the road towards membership!

5. Lastly I think this will be Schröder’s big moment. He is such a shrewd politician, a real tactician who loves games like the one unfolding right now in Germany. If so, and if the SPD reform agenda can continue so that the mix of Scandinavian welfare and Swedish growth can be achieved, it would mean a lot to Europe. He might not be perfect, but he is Schröder and he is the Chancellor Germany should continue to have.

P.S. According to The Economist there is a slim slim chance that SPD might get more seats than CDU after the Dresden election on October 2nd, does anyone know if this is more than a slim slim chance?

(I found this picture on your blog Jon, hope it was OK to use it!)


Blogger Petteri Oksa said...

Dresden is a slim chance for SPD. It has usually been a stronghold CDU, so it's quite propable that they will get the district seat. That's not certain of course.

Last time SPD got hell of a lot party votes out from Dresden. Then it was analysed that that was because of the flood then and Schöder reacted quickly to that.

So it goes to overhang seats. And we will see what heavy campaingin will achieve, perhaps?

22/9/05 08:14  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

Excellent post!

22/9/05 08:56  
Blogger Graham Ó Maonaigh said...

Hey Eric,

I completely agree. Especially with point 4. If a Grand Coaliation is the outcome of todays talks between Schroder and Merkel I'll be very disapointed. If the SPD goes into government as partners with the CDU it will only strengthen the Left party.

SPD would be suited to a Traffic Light coaliation with the right deals between the Greens and FDP being made. If not then I would think opposition would allow the SPD rebuild its support basis while attacking the government and being seen as the champion of Social Protections.

22/9/05 12:09  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

Petteri: Heard today as well that SPD might gain once seat in Dresden, but probably not more. Hope our Soc Dem friends are campaigning as much as they can...
Anna: Excellent comment :-)
Graham: Good to hear from you, I somewhere hope and think that Schröder will be wise and srong enough to get a good deal, and if not avoid the Grand Coalition. Heard another rumour today saying that Jamaica was more likely than traffic-light, that for sure would hurt the Greens and allow us to rebuild in opposition.

22/9/05 17:35  
Anonymous Jon Worth said...

I like the analysis - generally the same sort of thoughts anyone on the left in other European countries has been having. Schröder has really shown his skills.

It does now look more likely that the grand coalition is going to happen, with some agreement to switch Bundeskanzler half way through the term, but with Schröder starting in the first half. This strikes me as the worst of all worlds, and would the CDU aim to oust Merkel?

I'm a bit nervous that what was initially fascinating might well turn into a horrible wrangle that suits no-one... Stick to the traffic light I say! And of course, you are welcome to use the image Eric! :-)

28/9/05 23:25  
Blogger Eric Sundström said...

I agree, let's stick to and promote the traffick-light as the grand coalition is coming closer. And that picture was really cool.

29/9/05 08:55  

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