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Germany: Merkel suffers meltdown -- Greens win first state PM ever

Sim

Registered Member
Another newsbit from Europe:

Sunday, there were elections in the two German states Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.


Baden-Württemberg is in the south-west of Germany

Baden-Württemberg used to be a stronghold for Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), it has been governing the state for 58 years without interruption.

But now, the CDU suffered a crushing defeat -- against the Green Party, which almost doubled its result, and which wins the office of state Prime Minister for the first time in German history:

The official result in Baden-Württemberg:
Party / votes in % / seats in the parliament / gains and losses

CDU (conservatives): 39.0% / 60 seats / -5.2%
Green Party (center-left): 24.2% / 36 seats / +12.5%
SPD (center-left): 23.1% / 35 seats / -2.1%
FDP (libertarian): 5.3% / 7 seats / -5.4%

Left Party (socialist): 2.8% / 0 seats / -0.3%
Pirate Party (internet freedom): 2.1% / 0 seats / +2.1%
Republicans (far-right): 1.1% / 0 seats / -1.4%
NPD (neo-Nazis): 1.0% / 0 seats / +0.3%
others: 1.4% / 0 seats

You can see the conservative CDU is the strongest party with a large lead, but due to the proportional electoral system in Germany, Greens and SPD together have a clear majority with 71 seats against 67 seats (CDU and FDP).


Winfried Kretschmann (Green) will become new Prime Minister of BaWü -- for the first time, the Greens get this office and become senior partner in a center-left Green/Social Dem coalition

Never before, the Greens have scored such a high result in a German election, never before, they became 2nd largest party stronger than the center-left SPD, and never before, they won the office of Prime Minister.


In the state of Rhineland-Palatinate --


-- the Greens have gained more than 10% of the votes as well:

Party / votes in % / seats in the parliament / gains and losses

SPD (center-left): 35.7% / 42 seats / -9.9%
CDU (conservatives): 35.2% / 41 seats / +2.4%
Green Party (center-left): 15.4% / 18 seats / +10.8%

FDP (libertarian): 4.2% / 0 seats / -3.8%
Left Party (socialist): 3.0% / 0 seats / +0.4%
Free Voters (centrist): 2.3% / 0 seats / +0.7%
Pirate Party (internet freedom): 1.6% / 0 seats / +1.6%
NPD (neo-Nazis): 1.1% / 0 seats / -0.1%
Republicans (far-right): 0.8% / 0 seats / -0.9%
others: 0.7% / 0 seats

In Rhineland-Palatinate, the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have been governing for 18 years. They suffered a defeat with a 10% loss, but because the Greens won 11% here too, they can continue governing in a SPD/Green coalition. But since the SPD is the stronger coalition partner, the Greens don't get the office of Prime Minister here. Kurt Beck (SPD) remains Prime Minister:


Kurt Beck (SPD) has won a 5th term as Prime Minister of Rhineland-Palatinate. He also was national chairman of the SPD between 2006 and 2009


Observers suggest the strong support for the Green Party is partly because of the debate over nuclear energy due to the Fukushima disaster. The Greens have been the strongest opponent of nuclear power for more than 30 years.

The worst loser of both elections is the libertarian FDP, Merkel's junior coalition partner on national level. BaWü used to be one of their strong states, but they barely entered the parliament with only 5.3% of the votes, and failed to win the 5.0% necessary to enter the RP parliament with 4.2% only (a party needs to win 5.0% of the votes or more, in order to win seats in the parliaments).

And the strong trend in favor of the socialist far-left Left Party has been stopped too. Since when they were founded in 2005, they scored one success after the other. But now, they've failed to enter both state parliaments.


This is another blow for Merkel's conservative-libertarian CDU/FDP coalition, after they lost the largest state of Northrhine-Westphalia in May 2010 and the city state of Hamburg last month. The loss of BaWü is especially painful for Merkel's CDU, because it used to be their stronghold.

If anything, it shows that voting behavior has become increasingly volatile in Germany. People are more ready to change their party and to do so quickly. Only 10 or 15 years ago, it was still considered a landslide when one party made gains of up to 5%, and a crushing defeat when a party lost 5%. In the past months and years, we have seen losses and gains of more than 10%, sometimes even up to 20% from one election to the next.

Due to this voter volatility, it's hard to say if or how this has an impact on the national elections in 2013. As quickly as the political landscape changes these days, it's impossible to predict how things turn out in two years. There could well be another upswing for Merkel's government until then.

But this election, which was "decided in Fukushima" as observers suggest, will probably seal the future of nuclear energy in Germany: In favor of a quick phase out.
 

viLky

ykLiv
Dot. Dot. Dot.

Come on, really? It's like when we had our BP spill over here in the good ole US of A. Politicians started talking about how offshore drilling is bad and how we shouldn't do it because of this reason. Has anybody ever played SimCity? Disasters happen. Whether intentional or unintentional, they happen. It's fine that people are against nuclear energy, just don't be against it when there is currently a situation going on. That is just fear controlling you and making you think irrationally.

Now, with that being said we should definitely find better ways to produce energy.
 

Sim

Registered Member
Dot. Dot. Dot.

Come on, really? It's like when we had our BP spill over here in the good ole US of A. Politicians started talking about how offshore drilling is bad and how we shouldn't do it because of this reason. Has anybody ever played SimCity? Disasters happen. Whether intentional or unintentional, they happen. It's fine that people are against nuclear energy, just don't be against it when there is currently a situation going on. That is just fear controlling you and making you think irrationally.

Now, with that being said we should definitely find better ways to produce energy.
Yes, I think it's possible Germans are a bit hysteric sometimes. :lol:

But to be fair, I don't think all or even most of the Green gains are due to the events in Fukushima. The Greens had been extraordinarily strong even before. That's probably because people are disappointed by the conservative-libertarian national government, but not confident of the center-left Social Democrats in the opposition either -- so they turn to the Greens in the opposition.

But the nuclear disaster may have given the Greens a few extra points, which then made their victory in BaWü possible. It was a very narrow result.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
Thanks Sim, if it weren't for you I would have no idea about German politics.

I predict a slowing economy for Germany. Cheap energy is so important for a productive and growing economy. Higher energy costs will drive up the cost of everything and have a negative impact on almost every sector of the economy.
 

Sim

Registered Member
Thanks Sim, if it weren't for you I would have no idea about German politics.

I predict a slowing economy for Germany. Cheap energy is so important for a productive and growing economy. Higher energy costs will drive up the cost of everything and have a negative impact on almost every sector of the economy.
As far as I know, nuclear energy isn't even a cheap energy. The nuclear fuel is more costly than oil, I read the other day. Add to that the high costs for the storage of nuclear waste.

The problem I see with a quick phase out of nuclear energy is that more fossil fuel plants will likely be built, which is bad for the environment too (even if you don't agree on global warming, I think we all can agree that polluting the air is bad).

Also, probably energy imports from other EU countries will rise, and some of them rely heavily on nuclear energy with no intention of shutting their nuclear plants down. So ironically, a phase out in Germany might even result in more nuclear energy from other countries.

On the plus side, there seems to be a run on regenerative energy offers the companies provide. I think this is a nice, market-friendly way to promote clean energies. When enough people are willing to pay a little more extra for clean energy, that benefits both the companies and the environment, because more companies will invest in wind, water and solar power.
 

Mihael_langley

Formerly "Maikeru"
Lol people will regret it once the electricity bill starts to kick in.

Nuclear plants just have to learn, evolve and be better prepared, overall its still the most ecological and clean source of energy.
 

C-Mach

Registered Member
And with that, the industrial juggernaut of Europe comes tumbling down due to anti-nuclear energy hysteria.
 

Sim

Registered Member
And with that, the industrial juggernaut of Europe comes tumbling down due to anti-nuclear energy hysteria.
Do you really think this is "hysteria"? Part of it may be. For example, Geiger Counters have been sold out in Germany after Fukushima, which smells a lot like hysteria. But I believe there are good arguments against nuclear energy nevertheless.

Especially, it's neither cheap nor easily available. The fuel for nuclear reactors is more sparse than oil and more expensive. And when you add the costs for safely storing the waste, nuclear energy is not even cheap. It can only survive because it's heavily subsidized by the governments. On a truly free market, nuclear energy would not have a chance. If you ask me, it would be more reasonable to put the money that is used for nuclear subsidies into regenerative energies.

To some extent, this happens already in Germany. Clean energies are a boom sector which creates thousands of new jobs. So I don't believe investing in those sustainable energies is bad for the economy, on the contrary.

And I read there are several reactors which are even older and less safe than Fukushima in California, almost directly on the continental plate rifts. And observers expect a "big one" in California too, comparable to the one in Japan. We cannot tell if it's tomorrow, or in 100 years, but it will happen. So maybe it would be wise to close down at least those reactions which are placed in endangered areas?
 
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