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German state elections in March

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ori, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    Germany will hold a few state elections this year with three states voting on March 13th.
    The results promise to be interesting to say the least, so lets have some discussion on these.

    Just a short definitely non-conclusive overview over parties involved:

    CDU - conservative party, currently heading the federal government, are heading the government in Sachsen-Anhalt which they form together with the SPD
    SPD - social democrats, also currently part of the federal government, are heading the government in Rheinland-Pfalz which the form together with the Green Party
    Grüne - they are currently heading a Green/SPD government in Baden Württemberg which is the first such government since the greens started.
    FDP - "free democrats", mostly neo liberal party, was part of federal and state governments since the federal republic was founded and fell off the radar mostly by losing all seats in the federal parliament during the last elections, now trying to come back to something resembling relevance.
    Linke - "the left", fusion of the successors of the socialist party that ran the GDR and a relatively large splinter of the SPD that left the SPD during and after Chancellor Schröder's time in office. They do have a major power base in the eastern German states.
    AfD - "alternative for Germany", a right wing new party that initially formed in reaction to the financial and fiscal crisis in the EU and became strong during the height of the discussion about financial aid to Greece but now is running mostly on being xenophobic and opposition to the refugee policies.

    Now how are polls doing?

    Baden-Württemberg

    Grüne 32%
    CDU 28%
    SPD 13%
    AfD 13%
    FDP 8%
    Linke 4%

    Rheinland-Pfalz

    CDU 36%
    SPD 34%
    AfD 9%
    Grüne 7%
    FDP 5%
    Linke 4%

    Sachsen-Anhalt

    CDU 31%
    Linke 21%
    AfD 19%
    SPD 16%
    Grüne 5.5%
    FDP 4.5%

    in all states need 5% to win any seats.

    Now if this holds both SPD and CDU will have serious internal troubles I suspect. In Baden-Württemberg the CDU has been the major party for ever but has been declining for a while - dropping to second place is a major blow right there. The SPD is continuing a declining trend but with 4th place finishes possible in two states they will have some serious internal struggle going forward I guess.
    Greens of course would and should feel encouraged, especially given most everyone thought their success 5 years ago in Baden-Württemberg was a Fukushima fluke.
    That a xenophobic party will win seats in all three parliaments will of course have repercussions as well, I just am not quite sure which ones.
     
  2. gangleri2001

    gangleri2001 Garbage day!!!

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    No AfD in the Palatinate?
     
  3. Funky

    Funky Emperor

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    Wow. Do you work for the government or something, or how do you come to such an overview? Meanwhile in the real world we have the governing CDU and SPD who have repeatedly broken every law concerning immigration, both on the national and the European level. They have isolated Germany in Europe and have laid a social and economic burden of unforseeable gravity on the German people and the future generations.
    Then we have the Greens and the Leftists, who are utterly ideologically deranged and operate in some fantasy world far off from anything that even remotely resembles reality.

    The only party which opposes this madness and has a common sense immigration policy is the AfD. Since it doesn't agree with the mainstream open-border lunacy, it has been defamed as "right-wing" or "undemocratic" by all other parties as well as the left-orientated media, despite the fact that the party actually promotes direct democracy and fights against the permanent violations of laws by the government. Most of what the AfD proposed in the last months, which they were accused of being "right-wing populists" for, has meanwhile either been enacted by the government or is at least being discussed. That you label the AfD as "right-wing" and even "xenophobic" shows that you have never actually listened to what its politicians say or looked at its program.
     
  4. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    The AfD certainly does capture a lot of those people who disagree with the handling of the EU and Refugee crisis by the government. However their whole campaign is one based on Xenophobia right now.

    As for my thoughts on the parties:
    The current government just took away my right to unionize (i. e. my right to join a union that gives a damn about my interests). This was heavily pushed for by the SPD who have lost my vote for good, the CDU never had it. I do agree that the current government showed a callous disregard for both EU treaties and federal laws or atleast the "spirit" or rationale for those, I disagree that this requires going after refugees though. The Greens are reasonably close to me in some things and way too authoritarian in others, though I have to admit feeling giddy about the prospect of seeing the CDU lose to them, if only for the entertainment value of the resulting chaos in the CDU. The FDP I believed dead a few months ago, and still mostly do, but they may have a shot now as the CDU is doing its best to shed any surplus voters. I have some sympathies with them but don't like the neoliberal economics too much. Unfortunates social liberal voters have nowhere to go right now. The left does not know what its about and mostly irrelevant in the West anywhere, in the East its a mixture of nostalgia for days gone by and some more or less social democratic policies. The AfD started out with some sanity but dropped that pretense last year and now is going straight for the unpalatable right wing and xenophobic policies.
    I do not yet know who gets my vote - greens or FDP :crazyeye:

    Gah, added their numbers, they slipped when I typed them...
     
  5. Funky

    Funky Emperor

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    This is just flat-out wrong. Seriously, read their party program. Read or listen to interviews by their leading politicians. They are no more "xenophobic" than Ukip or the Sweden Democrats, despite what the leftist media would like you to believe. Being opposed to the current open-border policy and to the violation of national laws regarding immigration is not "xenophobic".
     
  6. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    The AfDs campaign is mostly based on being critical of how the way immigrant crisis was handled (including how the Bundesregierung and the media tried to silence critics by shaming them), of being against the mass-immigration and EU skepticism.

    It is certainly true that xenophobic folks are drawn towards the AfD because these things resonate well with them, but saying the AfD is campaigning on xenophobia is completely misrepresenting the party.
     
  7. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    So Afd is the Pegida party?

    From the latter's rally pics, they look nastier than GD.





    Westham united :shake: :D

    Btw, why do neo-nazis usually go for the skin-head look? Any historical context there?
     
  8. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Fist image isn't from Pegida, it's from HoGeSa (hooligans against salafists). Get your facts right. ;)
    /edit: As expected, the second image is from HoGeSa as well.
     
  9. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald 老任森林

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    Any thoughts why the greens are doing so well?
     
  10. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    Hard to keep track of all the nazi groups there.. And there are quite many 60year old hooligans if your right.
     
  11. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    I think the discussion is not well served if it devolves into arguments about whether the AfD is xenophobic or not, especially considering this is an RD thread about the state elections. Arguments for both sides have been presented, so it is best to leave it at that.

    You mean in Baden-Württemberg? ori alluded to that already: the state has a long tradition of CDU control. In the last election in 2011, dissatisfaction with the CDU administration was high. In particular, there were ongoing protests about the construction of a new railway station in the state capital Stuttgart, which were further mishandled with extreme police action against protesters. Normally, the SPD stands to benefit from such a situation as the major opposition party. However, their opposition to the construction project was only half-hearted iirc while the Greens were at the center of the protests. At the same time, pro-nuclear power plans of the federal government at the time and Fukushima catapulted them to new heights nation wide and the BW Greens stood to benefit from that with the elections taking place at an opportune time. The Greens also have some political strongholds in the state, such as Freiburg and Tübingen. Lastly, Minister President Kretschmann is from the pragmatist wing of the party and personality wise generally more palatable to otherwise conservative voters.

    Now as ori mentioned that was a rather fortunate situation for them, so them leading the left-wing coalition was generally considered a fluke. However, the coalition itself is generally viewed favorably in the state, and people tend to attribute that more to the party that provides the Minister President. A complementary point could be made that the SPD currently has a very low profile both nationally and in the state.

    I'm sure ori could speak more to that.
     
  12. Lohrenswald

    Lohrenswald 老任森林

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    Yea, it seems to me (who don't follow german politics very closely, but a little bit) like SPD has sort of completely desimated itself as a leftwing party. Like it could be tied with the whole new labour thing. Basically makes them seem like a "whimpier" CDU to me.

    Is the leader of SPD still that guy who posed in the newspaper showing the middle finger?
     
  13. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    ^They hadn't been 'socialist' for a long time, and yes, they are just another CDU. And their current leader is an idiot..
     
  14. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    German Chris Christie:



    I don't recall the middle finger photo, but he's the only recent chairman who'd be likely to do such a thing.

    As for the SPD as a whole, I think their main problems are that their record is sketchy and inconsistent, and that they are tied to Merkel at the moment. Their last chancellorship was indeed the German equivalent of New Labour and brought several cuts to social programs that are still praised by the right to this day, so take from that what you will. Then they were on/off junior partners for Merkel's CDU (the first time they were almost equals on paper but that didn't matter much in practice). They were actually quite successful in implementing their legislative agenda under the current administration (and unlike CDU/CSU they actually had one), most of which was more decidedly left-wing (e.g. federal minimum wage), but there is also some more questionable business-oriented stuff like their support for TTIP, coal power and anti-union legislation (ori mentioned that already).

    Their main problem is that they cannot escape Merkel's shadow though. When the coalition is perceived favorably, she gets the credit. Now that Merkel is in trouble they cannot benefit because she is under attack from the right. The more right-wing critics of Merkel gain power in parliaments, the less likely it is for either a classical right-wing or left-wing coalition to gain a majority, the more the SPD is tied to the CDU so a viable coalition can be formed, the more they continue to be overshadowed.

    In the past, they also had the problem of being headed by mostly uncharismatic technocrats, but you can't really accuse Gabriel of that. I think he'd be more populist if the party and the political environment let him.
     
  15. Funky

    Funky Emperor

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    Dude, that is the least one can expect of you when you post such pictures. When you post pics of HoGeSa and relate them to Pegida (a politically diverse organisation dedicated to maintaining liberal European values, whose demonstrations have been exclusively peaceful), and the AfD (an established political party, which advocates for more democracy, for free speech and honest discussion, and for respecting the law), it is slander and misrepresentation of the most detestable and despicable fashion.

    By the way, it should be noted that even HoGeSa, despite their martial appearance, are not all that problematic. They are certainly not a Nazi group, in fact they are fairly unpolitical. Being opposed to Salafists is a laudable attitude in any case.
    Only in one single case (Cologne 2014) did they initiate violence. On other occasions it was, as usual, the leftist counter-demonstrators who resorted to violence, attacked the police, burnt cars etc.
     
  16. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    The CDU under Angela "I do what is popular today!" Merkel has basically slowly pushed from the right into the spot that was taken by the SPD before and the Green Party dominates (and always has dominated) the territory left of the SPD, so overall there just isn't much space left for them.
     
  17. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    That still doesn't explain why the CDU was successful in doing so. I would argue that they could only gain ground where the SPD willingly surrendered it.
     
  18. ori

    ori Repair Guy Super Moderator

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    In my view the SPD surrendered it in the aftermath of their split - those that remained in the SPD tried to rope in the ones that went to what now is the Linke by moving strongly towards them albeit more in words than deeds, not understanding that people will vote the original over the copy most of the time and that the place they were moving to already contained two well established originals. The CDU now relatively gradually moved to a social democratic policy clothed in some socially conservative cloths while mostly surrendering the economically conservative or at times neoliberal economics. What we are seeing now is that the right flank of their previous policies is becoming sufficiently large to allow non-splinter parties to actually see some light of day (it also helps that all the various neo-nazi parties have essentially self-destructed in recent years).
     
  19. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Oh right, sometimes I forget that the WASG ever happened. But them surrendering ground to the CDU happened before they were trying to move left again to chase the voters they have lost on that end of the spectrum.

    I think the problem is that they let themselves be forced into a grand coalition as a junior partner after an election where they almost managed a miraculous comeback from terrible polls while still running on Schröder's New Labour like platform (it is worth noting here that Merkel at that time ran a heavily neoliberal campaign). The resulting coalition was actually more center-left than center-right, mostly against the will of the CDU. The way the financial crisis was handled also bears SPD handwriting in my opinion.

    But as I said before, credit usually goes to the senior coalition partner, because they head the executive. Merkel quickly realized that center-left politics are actually popular, and that she doesn't have to fear competition from the right when moving there, so she did.

    What is happening right now is actually what the SPD has been waiting for for some time: the CDU is forced to move back to the right again. Unfortunately it is on immigration, not economic issues. In the current political climate there probably isn't that much constituency to pick up in the center, and the SPD is poorly positioned on the subject with little in the way of a unified position. Not to mention that they cannot really oppose Merkel as long as they are still her coalition partner.
     
  20. west india man

    west india man Immortal

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    Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West (German: Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes), abbreviated PEGIDA or Pegida, is a far-right movement,[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] founded in Dresden in October 2014 that promotes anti-Islamic political positions. ''Liberal European values'' my posterior
     

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