The campaign for the 2009 election has begun in Germany

Sim

Registered Member
#1
Now it's official: The campaign for the September 2009 election in Germany has started.

The center-left Social Democrats (SPD) have announced their candidate for Chancellor will be current Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier.



Steinmeier had been former Chancellor Schröder's right hand as chief of the Chancellor's office from 1999 to 2005. When Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU won the 2005 election and formed a "great coalition" together with the SPD, Steinmeier became the strong man in the cabinet next to Merkel, as Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister. Polls are showing he is the by far most popular SPD politician, only topped by CDU Chancellor Merkel.

Next year, he will run as the SPD's top candidate against incumbent Angela Merkel (CDU).

Angela Merkel has announced last week she would rather not continue the "great coalition" with the center-left SPD, but prefers a "small black-yellow coalition" with the libertarian FDP. She said the SPD is "unrealiable", since the Hesse state SPD has decided to cooperate with the far-left Left Party in that state.

The outcome of the next election is very unpredictable, though: Both large parties in the current "great coalition" get rather bad results in polls, especially Steinmeier's SPD. The three small parties in the opposition (libertarian FDP, Green Party and especially the socialist Left Party) are relatively strong.

So most likely, there will be another stalemate, much like in 2005: Neither a center-right, nor a center-left small coalition (CDU/CSU-FDP vs. SPD-Greens) reaches a majority in current polls. In the end, there might be a situation again where the "great coalition" of both parties is the only remaining option, in case no three-party coalition can be agreed upon. In that case, the chances for Chancellor Merkel are rather good to continue her chancellorship.

At any rate, the campaign has begun. Within the next year, the incumbent coalition partners will rather be busy campaigning against each other, than getting their act together in order to agree on common policies.

link
 

Sim

Registered Member
#3
Hey maybe they'll come over here and campaign... :lol:
Hey, that would be fun! You have no idea how boring German campaigns are, compared to American campaigns ... hardly any smears, attacks below the waistline and dirt being digged up about the candidates. It would certainly be a change ... ;)
 

Bananas

Endangered Species
#4
Count yourselves lucky that you guys have got an election. We are stuck with the guy nobody voted for and I dare say he will hang-on until the very last minute before allowing anyone to challenge his post.
 

MenInTights

not a plastic bag
#5
Hey, that would be fun! You have no idea how boring German campaigns are, compared to American campaigns ... hardly any smears, attacks below the waistline and dirt being digged up about the candidates. It would certainly be a change ... ;)
wow- that's amazing. really. Are there campaing laws that prohibit character attacks or would it just be a turn off to the German people?
 

Sim

Registered Member
#6
Count yourselves lucky that you guys have got an election. We are stuck with the guy nobody voted for and I dare say he will hang-on until the very last minute before allowing anyone to challenge his post.
Is Brown's popularity still very low? The last thing I remember was that he was considered a "lame duck" already only a few months after entering office. Is it a sealed deal the Tories will win the next election?
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wow- that's amazing. really. Are there campaing laws that prohibit character attacks or would it just be a turn off to the German people?
I don't think there are laws against it, but I think it would generally be considered "bad style" and fall back on the one advancing such smears.

Don't get me wrong, there are lots of rather populist campaign tricks, but they are usually connected to political stances. Former Chancellor Schröder (SPD), for example, would paint his conservative opponent Stoiber (CDU/CSU) as Iraq-war supporter in 2002, although even Stoiber would not have likely joined the US, and Schröder won with that tactic. In 2005, Schröder painted his opponent Angela Merkel (CDU/CSU) as not caring for the concerns of less wealthy people and lost with a very small margin only. The conservative CDU/CSU, on the other hand, occasionally attempted to brand the SPD as radical leftists, with mixed success.

But I don't remember there were actual personal smears. The private life of the candidates never was a topic (although Schröder had been divorced three times), and in 2005, I don't remember it was even made a topic whether a woman is capable of leading the country. But the "experience" argument would probably fly over here as well.

Maybe much of this relative stability stems from the need for cooperation due to our electoral system. We have three small parties in the parliament besides the big two, and hardly ever one of the big parties can govern alone. They rely on coalition partners. So it may very well happen that after the election, they have to govern together with one of their competitors. So they better don't villify or piss them off too much.
 
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Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#7
Sim, you'll like the design of one of my school folders:



Question:

Alright, say SPD stays more or less where they are, maybe losing a dozen seats, but CD does worse, losing say twenty or so. And the Left gains a lot of them, and the Greens pick up a few as well.

Do you think this is the year Left enters government, as SPD-Left or SPD-Left-Green? I don't know about the political situation, but I'm very curious.
 

Sim

Registered Member
#8
Sim, you'll like the design of one of my school folders:
Indeed! That's great! ;)
Where did you get the Green Party logo from?

Question:

Alright, say SPD stays more or less where they are, maybe losing a dozen seats, but CD does worse, losing say twenty or so. And the Left gains a lot of them, and the Greens pick up a few as well.

Do you think this is the year Left enters government, as SPD-Left or SPD-Left-Green? I don't know about the political situation, but I'm very curious.
The chance is very high there will be such a stalemate again. When neither CDU/CSU-FDP nor SPD-Greens get more votes than all three other parties together, we again have a situation where only a three-party-coalition is possible, or another "great coalition".

But I don't think the SPD would form a coalition with the Left Party next year. That's still too early. Too many people in the west, even many SPD supporters, bitterly hate the Left Party, because they see them as successors of the communist dictatorship in the east, and/or as unrealistic populists incapable of responsible governing. That's why the SPD categorically denies there will be such a cooperation on national level. Also, many of the Left Party's stances are way too radical for the SPD -- immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving NATO, excessive increase of social welfare programs.

In the election thereafter, planned for 2013, I wouldn't rule it out. It depends if such a SPD-Green-Left Party cooperation will be successful in one of the west German states until then. In Hesse, such a coalition is currently in the works and might happen soon (in case no SPD MPs will defect). In that case, the Left Party might prove they are capable of compromise and responsible government and people may lose their fears, preparing for a coalition on national level. But 2009 is too early.

In case of such a stalemate, I rather see CDU and SPD bitterly competing for FDP and Greens, to form a three party-coalition. The CDU would need to get the Greens on board, the SPD would vow the FDP. In the end, there would probably a continuation of the "great coalition" of CDU and SPD -- or I underestimate the flexibility of Greens and FDP.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#9
Where did you get the Green Party logo from?
Google Image Search. It ended up there because while I do usually prefer Democrats (though Governor Schwatzenegger and some others, like Olympia Snowe, are exceptions), I don't consider my ideology excessively related to the Party. And while I do have greentendencies, the US Green Party has for the most part been a disgrace (Cynthia McKinney!?), while the Alliance actually has been able to govern effectively.

I dislike the idea of a grand coalition as it seems to remiscent of the sort of mindless centrism American politics can dive into. I don't really like the Left that much, but having them as a minor part of coalition seems stomachable.

Have the FDP and SDP historically been able to cooperate at all?
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
#10
Hey, that would be fun! You have no idea how boring German campaigns are, compared to American campaigns ... hardly any smears, attacks below the waistline and dirt being digged up about the candidates. It would certainly be a change ... ;)
True, it's so far from the Hollywoodish electoral campaigns that Americans are used to. It would be as exciting for them as the last B movie that flopped.

I'm curious Sim, since the parliament is the one who gets the say on who wins, as opposed to elections where the general public vote decides, how do the campaigns go? You have public debates, print ads, etc.? Or is the campaign more internal in the sense that they're wooing the other groups for that coalition they need?