I remember two months ago... (Germany)

…when the entire media world hailed Angela Merkel as the next bundeskansler of Germany. I thought then that it started to look like conservatives trying to will the world into what they want it to be and everyone going along with it.
Today seems to have shown that it’s not that simple.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4258376.stm

It’s uncertain whether either Schröder or Merkel will be able to form a government after German elections.

I think this is probably the worst possible result. Having neither party able to do anything positive because they lack an overall majority is worse than one party having a policy I don’t 100% agree with. Germany needs an overhaul, and it doesn’t look like this government is going to be able to give it one.

BTW, I couldn’t vote, but if I could it would have gone to the Free Democrats, although I’ve not done enough research to know if that is a sensible vote. They got an astounding 10% of the vote, which is quite surprising for a radical free-trade party in Germany.

Heh, the so called ‘elephant round’ - a TV debate with high representatives of each party, Merkel and Schröder inclusive - was quite bizarre because because Schröder was just sitting there, claiming victory, talking to Merkel about how she failed and that she’ll never become chancellor, how there won’t be a new government without him and that it’ll be his party to initiate coalition negations. Attacking and interrupting others frequently. And you could see how the other participants of this discussions - Fischer (Greens) inclusive - were quite baffled by this performance.

The FDP was more successful than expected, but they snatched many those (second) votes from the CDU crowd. So, the better performance of the one party partially resulted in the worse performance of the party they wanted to form a coalition with.

-Julian

What conservatives? I thought you were talking about the CDU…

Anyway, I think there are three reasons for this miserable result:

  1. The reporting itself. I’ve yet to see analyses on this point but usually the adherents of a party that’s hailed as the winner months in advance tend to stay home while the followers of a party that’s said to lose badly tend to turn out in larger numbers than usual. I didn’t notice Merkel and her gang tell their voters that they really should get out and vote if they want a CDU government, and that was a mistake.

  2. The Kirchhof incident. Merkel pulled out a former judge and professor for financial law who had this brilliant idea of a radically simplified tax structure with a flat tax. The problem is, not only is this approach too radical for the typical CDU constituency, it was also unclear how it should be financed, and eventually Merkel started telling journalists that he wasn’t to be taken seriously anyway. Net result: Nobody knew exactly what reforms the CDU wanted, if any – hence also the surprisingly good result for the FDP.

  3. The once-again renamed SED. East Germany’s ancient dictatorial lickspittles and Stalin worshippers had allied with Western caviar socialist Oskar Lafontaine to form the “Linke/PDS”, and pumped out propaganda that stretched from international socialist (in the party program) to national socialist (in Lafontaine’s speeches). But while the neo-Nazi NPD with rather similar economic ideas was completely banned from broadcasting, our leftist journalists hastened to put Gysi and Lafontaine in every pre-election talk show.

Result: nearly 9% of the vote, roughly equal to the combined losses of SDP and Greens. Chances are these voters – basically the bitter and resentful losers of today’s Germany – would have stayed at home without these dishonest populists, and that would have meant a narrow majority for a CDU/FPD coalition.

Yeah, but they have a right to vote even if you don’t agree with who they vote for.

One thing you didn’t mention is Schroeder’s continuing popularity as a leader, despite his party’s failings. He was crushing Merkel in the polls, and I heard he absolutely owned in the televised debate, which pushed up the SPD’s vote even more.

Bah! I want the wall back…

One thing you didn’t mention is Schroeder’s continuing popularity as a leader, despite his party’s failings. He was crushing Merkel in the polls, and I heard he absolutely owned in the televised debate, which pushed up the SPD’s vote even more.

Yes, Schröder is quite charismatic while Merkel is… well, the incarnation of anti-charisma. The impression she gives is that of a technocrat but without even an aura of technical competence.

I think it was more about the end of Gerhard Schröder and “old Europe”, really. The Schröder bit seems to have happened, pretty much, but it wasn’t quite so clear a toppling as it was said to be a couple of months ago.

Why would Merkel be the end of “old Europe”? And, in fact, what does “old Europe” imply?

Anders is right, I completely forgot about another big reason why Merkel didn’t quite make it – she and her party unquestioningly supported the Iraq war, and AFAIK never reversed that position. Sure enough, the SPD and Greens put up posters saying they were the party of peace etc.

Completely idiotic, really, since this war (like GW Bush) is intensely unpopular in Germany, and the CDU really doesn’t stand to gain anything from it. Unless Washington has taken to bribe CDU politicians directly which is certainly a possibility…

Just for the record, that was a joke right?

Why? Thousands of Berlin taxi drivers agree with me! :lol:

Looks like Merkel made it. The news broke this Monday morning that CDU/CSU and SPD will form a grand coalition with Merkel as chancellor (chancellix?), and an equal number of ministers for each side. Schröder has apparently become too embarrassing to hold on to – there was no mention of a new office for him.

The SPD has alredy made clear that there will be no labor market reforms under the new government, as originally planned by the CDU. So I guess we’ll see a couple of years of mutual blockade, and then another early election. The only good thing about this outcome is that continued opposition is likely to make the FDP even stronger, and perhaps a bit more libertarian…