BBC: German hard left set to gain ground

112 posts / 0 new
Last post
Wilf Day

Ken Burch wrote:
Or perhaps it indicates a greater degree of internal democracy in Die Linke than those who dismiss it as a DDR nostalgia club would have expected.

That's beyond doubt; every party, including the Left Party, chooses its list candidates and their rank order at a state-wide convention by secret ballot of the delegates. They may, of course, follow the recommendations of the executive, but it's still a secret ballot.

What's odd is that the assorted Marxists, ex-Marxists, ex-anarchists, trot hangers-ons, peace activists, and others who wandered in from the cold, must have outnumbered Lafontaine's people at the convention. Again. The same thing happened with the Hesse state list for the state election, which is one of the reasons why the idea of a red-red-green accord didn't fly in Hesse; the Left Party caucus didn't look like a group SPD leader Ypsilanti could count on or rely on. But Northrhine-Westfalia is not Hesse: it includes the Ruhr-Rhine conurbation, the stronghold of the German labour movement, many of whom have followed Lafontaine into the Left Party. But they apparently couldn't get their rank and file to turn out.

Continuing down the NR-W list:

7. Sevim Dağdelen, 34, an incumbent MP, a young woman of Turkish origin. Interesting that she ran seventh at the convention, behind Sahra Wagenknecht and Andrej Hunko. (In 2005 the Left Party elected seven MPs from NR-W, one of whom was Lafontaine himself, but this year he's running in his home state, Saarland.) She joined the Left Party at its founding; before that she was actively involved in the trade union, student council and the immmigrant organizations.

8. Niema Movassat, 25. Joined the PDS Youth in 2000. Graduated from law school in April 2009. Born in Germany, Iranian-origin family. He seems to be replacing incumbent MP Hüseyin-Kenan Aydin, who had been elected in 2005 as a trade unionist and WASG founder. One less of Lafontaine's people.

9. Ingrid Remmers, 44. Worked in adult education, fought Hartz IV, became politically active in 2004 with founding of WASG and went straight onto its state executive.

10. Matthias W. Birkwald, 48. From 1988 to 1990 member of Communist Party, joined PDS in 1993.

11. Kathrin Vogler, 46. From 1990-1999 full-time with the federal office of the German Peace Society, and resumed full-time peace work in 2002 after parental leave. Joined SPD 1983-2001, left over Afghanistan. Joined WASG in 2005.

12. Marc Mulia, 40. Teacher, peace activist. From 1993 to 1999 Green. Left over Afghanistan, elected to local school board as PDS.

By the way, on the subject of Turkish/Muslim candidates: in 2005 the Left Party's 4th spot in Berlin was held by Dr. Hakki Keskin, born in Turkey. He was elected, since the Left Party won four seats in Berlin. Aged 66, he is not running again, but instead we find Figen Izgin, 44, who came from Turkey with her family when she was 14. But we find her in seventh spot. Berlin has 22 MPs. Will the Left Party elect 7 of 22? Unlikely?

Jacob Richter

So it seems Die Linke has between 12 and 13% of the popular vote in an election with record-low turnout.

Stockholm

That sounds like a real recipe for social revolution!!

Jacob Richter

And the SPD's performance sounds like a real recipe for the economic agenda of Blair, Schroeder, and yourself!

Stockholm

Well that do you make of 80% of Germans supporting the "economic agenda of Blair and Schroeder" (I won't include myself since you know nothing about what economic policies i support for Canada) or economic agendas further to the right of that.

If people in Germany REALLY wanted some Marxist counter-revolution - all they would have to do is give the Linke Party a majority of their votes.

Cueball Cueball's picture

That's interesting. Perhpas no one knows anything about the kind of "economic policies you support for Canada" because after years of posting you still have yet to articulate anything on that level coherently. I know you are too busy red-baiting and chiding people for being far left wingnuts when they try expressing any economic policy viewpoints to articulate any of your own. One day perhaps you will give it a try.

Aristotleded24

Media is initially reporting that the right wing has enough to form a coalition, which is what Merkel wanted.

Wilf Day

Exit poll:

Of the 94.0% of votes which will count, the right has 51.3%, the left 48.7%. Fairly close, for exit polls, but likely will stand up.

Merkel is vulnerable:

Quote:
Despite her huge personal popularity, she led her centre-right Christian Democratic Union to its second poorest result, taking a projected 33.5% of the vote, two points down on 2005.

For the past four years Merkel has performed as Germany's better social democrat, further to the left than her social democratic predecessor as chancellor, Gerhard Schröder. Where he sought to free up the labour market and slash benefits, she shored up the pensions of Germany's greying population, subsidised firms to keep tens of thousands in short-time working to prevent the dole queues lengthening, and took on the Americans and other Europeans to launch an expensive rescue of the car industry.

"We're on the side of workers … We're the only party that truly represents the middle in our society," she said on Saturday.

Germans, in their present mood, are conservative social democrats, risk-averse, reasonably satisfied with what they've got, and bent above all on preserving it. Merkel answers that desire . . .

A canny judge of the German public mood, Merkel has ditched the more radical tendencies she showed when taking over the CDU in the early 2000s and campaigning to unseat Schröder.

She has good reason to be cautious. She watched as his more substantive reforms wrecked his SPD, the oldest and biggest social democratic party in Europe. It split, haemorrhaging support to the far left. The result last night, around 23%, was the SPD's worst ever in the post-war republic.

Merkel occupied the centrist SPD territory and reaped the benefits.

Ken Burch

Stockholm wrote:

Well that do you make of 80% of Germans supporting the "economic agenda of Blair and Schroeder" (I won't include myself since you know nothing about what economic policies i support for Canada) or economic agendas further to the right of that.

If people in Germany REALLY wanted some Marxist counter-revolution - all they would have to do is give the Linke Party a majority of their votes.

Actually. you can't take the SPD vote total as a vote for Schroeder's economic policies.  Most rank-and-file SPD voters are to the left of their party's leadership.

It was the leadership of the party that was rejected-the Social Democrats who stopped BEING social democrats.  They can remedy this by returning to the left.

What this result showed, Stockholm, was that there was no longer any good reason for the SPD to back neoliberalism.  Had they broken from it, they'd be celebrating a victory tonight.  Even you would have to acknowledge that, especially since Merkel's party also lost vote share.

Ken Burch

Face it, Stock, if you actually disagreed with the right, there wasn't any good reason to back the SPD this year.  The only ones who did were people who reject right-wing economics but voted SPD out of tribalist habit.

Ken Burch

Die Linke also took 28% in the Brandenburg(metro Berlin) state elections, just three points behind the SPD.

KenS

This seems to be also the [general] German election watch thread. So....

I take that it is assumed that if the CDU and FDP together have enough for a majority, that Merkel will look no further than that?

[And/or that the SDP sees no future in continuing the grand coalition even if they have the option?]

Stockholm

Ken Burch wrote:

It was the leadership of the party that was rejected-the Social Democrats who stopped BEING social democrats.  They can remedy this by returning to the left.

What this result showed, Stockholm, was that there was no longer any good reason for the SPD to back neoliberalism.  Had they broken from it, they'd be celebrating a victory tonight.  Even you would have to acknowledge that, especially since Merkel's party also lost vote share.

I don't think you can claim that at all. Its true that Merkel's party lost a bit of ground, but that was more than compensated by big gains by the free-market neo-liberal FDP - which was the big winner of the night. The combined CDU/FDP vote went way up compated to last time.

I'm not sure what the SPD could have done differently, they have spent the last 4 years in a grand coalition and so it is difficult to critique a government that you were 50% of. Also, in some ways this grand coalition government actually brought in more progressive measures than the SPD did when they governed with the Greens. For example, under Merkel a quasi-universal child care program was introduced - something that never happened under Schroeder.

Anyways, now we will see how different Merkel will be now that she will be governing with the FDP instead of with the SPD...and in all likelihood, the SPD will soon experience a bump in support as a result of ebing in opposition and no longer being in the awkward situation of having to attack a government that is 50% SPD.

Jacob Richter

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,651686,00.html

"The Left Party was celebrating its historic election result on Sunday night but for the Greens there was disappointment. While the Left Party's position as a protest party seems to have gone down well with voters, the Greens had to constantly explain which party they wanted to govern with."

Ken Burch

Stockholm wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

It was the leadership of the party that was rejected-the Social Democrats who stopped BEING social democrats.  They can remedy this by returning to the left.

What this result showed, Stockholm, was that there was no longer any good reason for the SPD to back neoliberalism.  Had they broken from it, they'd be celebrating a victory tonight.  Even you would have to acknowledge that, especially since Merkel's party also lost vote share.

I don't think you can claim that at all. Its true that Merkel's party lost a bit of ground, but that was more than compensated by big gains by the free-market neo-liberal FDP - which was the big winner of the night. The combined CDU/FDP vote went way up compated to last time.

I'm not sure what the SPD could have done differently, they have spent the last 4 years in a grand coalition and so it is difficult to critique a government that you were 50% of. Also, in some ways this grand coalition government actually brought in more progressive measures than the SPD did when they governed with the Greens. For example, under Merkel a quasi-universal child care program was introduced - something that never happened under Schroeder.

Anyways, now we will see how different Merkel will be now that she will be governing with the FDP instead of with the SPD...and in all likelihood, the SPD will soon experience a bump in support as a result of ebing in opposition and no longer being in the awkward situation of having to attack a government that is 50% SPD.

1)In 2009, the combined CDU/CSU-FDP vote was 46%.  This year, it was 48.3%.  By you that's "WAY UP"?.  And that gain would have been either smaller or nonexistent if the SPD hadn't run a "we're just like them" campaign.  The SPD drove turnout down and paid the price.

2)You're not sure what else the SPD could have done?  Er...how about doing what they SHOULD have done and put together a coalition of ALL the left-of-center parties in the Bundestag?  The childish fixation with not dealing with Die Linke was outdated FOUR YEARS AGO.   There's nothing a coalition of all the left could have done that could possibly have done the SPD more electoral damage than their surrender to Merkel. 

The truth is, there has never been, and there never will be, any possibility of anything like the DDR being recreated.  Therefore, Die Linke should always have been treated as just another political party.   Or if the SPD couldn't do that, it should actually have admitted that the millions of former SPD voters were right and that no SPD government should ever have privatized and cut social benefits.   The SPD is still being punished by the people of Germany for its support of "Anglo-Saxon economics"  and will not regain support  until it realizes that its duty is to stand up for the workers and the poor.

Stockholm

Meanwhile 88% of Germans reject the Linke party. If you think their policies are so attractive then why don't they get more support?

I assume that the SPD is stuck in the usual damned if you do and damned if you don't conundrum. If they agree to form a "red-red-green" coalition then a chunk of their centrist supporters go over to the CDU. There was a state election in Hesse this year here the SPD had been willing to work with the Linke and the election was a disaster with an absolute CDU/FDP majority.

There is a lot of speculation though that as more and more cooperation between the SPD and the Linke takes place at the state level, and perhaps if there are some leadership changes in both parties so that the SPD and Linke aren't led by people who have a personal visceral hatred for one another - that by the next German election, the taboo on working with the Linke will be broken.

Ken Burch

 

This was the first national election they fought under the Die Linke banner.  Given that, 12% is a damn good start.  Are you arguing that they're a failure if they don't get an outright majority instantly?  You're holding Die Linke to a standard you don't hold the NDP to, or the Labour Party in Britain in its early years.

Hopefully, the taboo on working with Die Linke will be broken faster than the taboo on working with the Greens was.  that took fifteen years or so, and made it impossible to beat Helmut Kohl until beating him no longer mattered(as beating the Tories no longer mattered after what Blair did to the Labour Party).  And hopefull the SPD leadership won't demand that Die Linke give up everything radical in its program they way they did with the Greens.

A party has to have strong core values to be WORTH supporting.  Power without them is empty and tiny increments(accompanied by privatization and hostility to unions)isn't a worthy project for any left-of-center party.

The SPD needs to learn. 

And frankly, I think the SPD's "centrists" WANTED the party to lose as badly as possible so they could justify doing what they really want and defecting to the CDU or the FDP.  Much of the FDP's gains this evening likely came from those "centrists", people who were always just about their own  bourgeois lives and just wanted a right-wing government that pretended to be "center-left", as Schroeder's did.

Stockholm

Actually, you're wrong. There was never any "taboo" in the SPD about working with the Greens. In every election from 1987 to 1998, the SPD made it perfectly clear that it was prepared to form a coalition with the Greens - but it was never a possibility because in each of those election, the CDU and FDP won a clear majority.

The FDP's gains came almost entirely from CDU supporters who were disappointed that Merkel turned out to be such a "red Tory" and they wanted more rightwing policies.

Jacob Richter

Why is that of particular note?  Aren't the more interesting results out west?

Aristotleded24

Stockholm wrote:

Ken Burch wrote:

It was the leadership of the party that was rejected-the Social Democrats who stopped BEING social democrats.  They can remedy this by returning to the left.

What this result showed, Stockholm, was that there was no longer any good reason for the SPD to back neoliberalism.  Had they broken from it, they'd be celebrating a victory tonight.  Even you would have to acknowledge that, especially since Merkel's party also lost vote share.

I don't think you can claim that at all. Its true that Merkel's party lost a bit of ground, but that was more than compensated by big gains by the free-market neo-liberal FDP - which was the big winner of the night. The combined CDU/FDP vote went way up compated to last time.

I'm not sure what the SPD could have done differently, they have spent the last 4 years in a grand coalition and so it is difficult to critique a government that you were 50% of. Also, in some ways this grand coalition government actually brought in more progressive measures than the SPD did when they governed with the Greens. For example, under Merkel a quasi-universal child care program was introduced - something that never happened under Schroeder.

It sounds like the 2 main centrist parties lost ground to the more ideological ones because of dissatisfaction over not being true to their core values.

Wilf Day

The most remarkable result so far (waiting for the list seats) is the nine ridings of Saxony-Anhalt, the east German province on the border with the West, whose capital is Magdeburg, halfway between Berlin and Hanover.

In 2005 it had 10 ridings (it has lost population), all won by the SPD.

Now it has five held by Die Linke, four by the CDU, and none by the SPD. Of course the SDP will win some list seats. Still, the SPD has lost half its support in that province, dropping from 32.8% to 16.9%, going from first place to third.

With a drop in turnout of 10.5%, I'd say a lot of SPD voters stayed home. But in percentage terms, matching the SPD's decline of 15.9% is the increase of Die Linke of 5.8%, the Pirate Party of 2.4%, the Greens of 1.1%, the CDU of 5.5%, and the FDP of 2.3%. But a good deal of those increases are a statistical mirage resulting from the drop in turnout.

Ken Burch

Jacob Richter wrote:

Why is that of particular note?  Aren't the more interesting results out west?

You don't find it noteworthy that the SPD was wiped out in 2009 in an area where it won every seat in 2005?

There probably are interesting results in the "Wessi" areas, but this is pretty significant as well. 

Cueball Cueball's picture

Wow SPD just got smashed.

Ken Burch

From those raw numbers, it also looks like SPD suffered more from the lower turnout than anybody else.

And, the combined raw vote gains for the parties to the left of the SPD were higher than the raw vote gains for the FDP, the party to the CDU/CSU's right.   BTW, I'd appreciate this if somebody could refresh my memory on this, but back in the Seventies, weren't the FDP more like the Liberal parties in the UK and, well, Canada?

 

Wilf Day

Aristotleded24 wrote:
It sounds like the 2 main centrist parties lost ground to the more ideological ones because of dissatisfaction over not being true to their core values.

Or because they were in government during a depression. Or both.

Valid votes dropped from 47,287,988 in 2005 to 43,357,542 (down 3,930,446)

The SPD vote dropped from 16,194,665 to 9,988,843 (down 6,205,822)

The CDU/CSU vote dropped from 16,631,049 to 14,655,004 (down 1,976,045)

The FDP vote rose from 4,648,144 to 6,313,023 (up 1,664,879)

DIE LINKE rose from 4,118,194 to 5,153,884 (up 1,035,690)

The GRÜNE vote rose from 3,838,326 to 4,641,197 (up 802,871)

The lesson seems obvious: the SPD should never have joined a grand coalition. Either govern with the Greens as a minority with external support from Die Linke, or allow the right to govern with a minority by abstaining. Neither sound like good choices. But the grand coalition was even worse. 

Stockholm

Yes, in the 70s the FDP were in coalition with the SPD - largely because the big iassue back then was foreign policy and the FDP agreed with Brandt's Ostpolitik, but then by the early 80s, the FDP (whose nickname in Germany is "the party of doctors and dentists") economic issues became paramount and the FDP swung to the right and formed a new alliance with the CDU. To this day though, the FDP is apparently still quite progressive on issues to do with civil liberties.

Wilf Day

Ken Burch wrote:
back in the Seventies, weren't the FDP more like the Liberal parties in the UK and, well, Canada?

In 1969 Willi Brandt formed an SPD/FDP coalition government. In 1972 some FDP deputies crossed the floor to the CDU, the government lost its majority, and early elections were called. Both the SPD and FDP increased their vote, and Brandt continued, then being replaced by Helmut Schmidt. The SPD/FDP coalition won the 1976 election as well (with a slight drop in support), and again in 1980 (when the FDP picked up 14 more seats).

In 1982 the FDP left the coalition, allied with the CDU, and the CDU/FDP coalition took office in the middle of a parliament (Michaëlle Jean take note). The FDP had wanted to radically liberalise the labour market.

The CDU/FDP coalition felt the lack of a mandate, since the FDP had switched sides. But Germany has fixed election dates. So Kohl had to take another controversial move: he called for a confidence vote only a month after being sworn in, in which members of his coalition abstained. The ostensibly negative result for Kohl then allowed President Karl Carstens to dissolve the Bundestag in January 1983. (Stephen Harper take note.)

The FDP stayed on the right ever since.

Wilf Day

Jacob Richter wrote:
Aren't the more interesting results out west?

Popular vote in Northrhine-Westfalen (the largest province, the SPD heartland along with Lower Saxony)

Valid Votes 10,246,031; 9,388,198 (down 857,833)

SPD 4,096,112; 2,679,332 (down 1,416,780)

CDU 3,524,351; 3,110,374 (down 413,977)

FDP 1,024,924; 1,394,406 (up 369,482)

Die Linke 529,967; 789,695 (up 259,728)  

GRÜNE 782,551; 945,740 (up 163,189)

In the local seats the SDP dropped from 40 to 27, while the CDU rose from 24 to 37. Bad, but not a wipe-out.

Jacob Richter

It's a small tragedy that Die Linke didn't gain here.  By the way, is Thuringia in the east Die Linke's electoral "heartland"?  If so, what a way to let one's opponent take it away from you (the Erfurt congress of 1891)!

Wilf Day

The list seats are declared, so we now have the totals:

In Berlin Die Linke, the Greens, the CDU and the FDP all gained one each; the SPD lost 3. That makes five for the Left Party; the young Turkish woman is out.

In Brandenburg Die Linke, the CDU and the FDP all gained one each; the SPD lost half its seats, dropping from 10 to 5.

In Merkel's home state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern the SPD dropped from 4 to 2, the Left gained 1, the CDU gained 2.

In Saxony the Left Party held steady at 8, the CDU gained 2 for 16, the SPD lost 3.

In Saxony-Anhalt where the SPD was wiped out in the local seats, its total was 3, down from 10; the Left Party gained 1. They not only lost a local seat by population, they lost five list seats by lower turnout. (German list seats are allocated to parties nationally, then assigned to states within the party's total.)

In Thuringia the Left Party held steady at 5; the SPD lost 3, the CDU gained 2, the FDP gained 1.

That's it for the East.

The Left Party's gains in the West were: from 7 to 11 in Northrhine-Westfalen; from 3 to 6 in Lower Saxony; from 3 to 6 in conservative Baden-Württemberg; from 3 to 6 in conservative Bavaria; from 2 to 4 in Hesse; from 2 to 3 in Rheinland-Pfalz; from 1 to 2 in Schleswig-Holstein; and from 0 to 1 in Bremen.

In Lafontaine's Saarland it held steady at 2, while the SPD dropped 2, 1 to the Greens and 1 to the CDU. In Hamburg it held steady at 1.

Jacob Richter

So the other Turkish lady, the one in NR-W, is still in, then?

Anyway, among the key Die Linke leaders (internal caucus link below and more), who's not in?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Left_(Germany)#Internal_caucuses

Wilf Day

Jacob Richter wrote:
among the key Die Linke leaders (internal caucus link below and more), who's not in?

Check for yourself; the proverbially efficient Germans have already put the new MPs up on the Bundestag website.

Wilf Day

“For the SPD we have the possibility now in opposition to create a clear Social Democratic profile once again,” said Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and leading light of the SPD left wing.

Quote:
As head of a coalition in the German capital with the Left Party, Wowereit would be a likely leader of a future alliance at federal level.

Left Party leader Oskar Lafontaine appeared to make the first approach last night. The former SPD leader put aside bitterness towards his former party – happy with his party’s record 12 per cent result – to express his “deep regret” at the SPD showing.

"There may be a temporary solution on who takes over the leadership of the Social Democrats. I don't see any of the current ministers taking on the job. I see Andrea Nahles (current deputy leader) in particular as a likely candidate."

[img]http://www.spd.de/bilder/349x531/galeriebundestag/Nahles_Andrea_0010_ICv...

Andrea Nahles, 39

 

 

KenS

Here's my take on the election and implications.

The vote loss of the SPD far outwieghs the vote gains of the Left and the Greens.

Its a fantasy/projection that the implications are that the SPDs recovery lies in a turn to the left.

That will be one tendency/pull. But mostly there will be turmoil and chaos within the SPD... with some interesting and even promising ferment of course, but big time turmoil nonetheless. People will be all over the map what to do- and all be able to point to evidence of 'lessons' that are totally contradictory.

Die Linke will have its own problems- different, but ultimatley the same in a lot or ways. Even more turmoil, and no or way thin governing chances on which to broaden their appeal. I'll bet they have a hard time growing that appeal, as likely to have a hard time maintaining it, even if the SPD more or less fails to make an appeal to the 'universe' of voters who choose between the 2 parties [and not voting].

And my hunch is that the vote recovery of the Greens was ephemeral and based a lot in the many voters who didn't know what else to do. I suspect they are still, and will remain, very lost in the woods.

One possibility I can see is the SPD lurching about and not making much of an overall recovery, but appealing more to younger voters. But I can also see the opposite: 'steadying' their image and thereby recovering somewhat more, but failing to increase their appeal to younger voters, and settling into stagnation. No idea of the strength behind factions that would push in the different directions. But whatever those relative strengths have been, I would think the cards have just been tossed up in the air.

Jacob Richter

A hint to Die Linke and to a lesser extent the SPD: the Pirate Party.

As in: Take more aggressive stances on key aspects of your platforms.

Erik Redburn

KS:  "Here's my take on the election and implications.

The vote loss of the SPD far outwieghs the vote gains of the Left and the Greens.

Its a fantasy/projection that the implications are that the SPDs recovery lies in a turn to the left."

 

That may be, but traditional supporters of the SPD staying home in a close race during a steep economic downturn should tell us something more about the general disappointment in its present direction among its supporters.  Their centre-right partners apparently only gained relative to them.  And given Schroeder's choice to play second fiddle in a right-leaning grand coalition, rather than taking the reigns with the help of the openly socialist left, could also be indicative of displeasure over their rightward drift -- even if its not ready to be expressed as support for a new coalition further to the left.    Germany may be rather different in that its communist-socialist parties tend to be more mainstream, particularly now, while its stronger social safety net and social democratic institutions allow a deeper acceptence of the legitimacy of its government in general.  But that too may be fading.

Erik Redburn

Wilf Day wrote:

Aristotleded24 wrote:
It sounds like the 2 main centrist parties lost ground to the more ideological ones because of dissatisfaction over not being true to their core values.

Or because they were in government during a depression. Or both.

Valid votes dropped from 47,287,988 in 2005 to 43,357,542 (down 3,930,446)

The SPD vote dropped from 16,194,665 to 9,988,843 (down 6,205,822)

The CDU/CSU vote dropped from 16,631,049 to 14,655,004 (down 1,976,045)

The FDP vote rose from 4,648,144 to 6,313,023 (up 1,664,879)

DIE LINKE rose from 4,118,194 to 5,153,884 (up 1,035,690)

The GRÜNE vote rose from 3,838,326 to 4,641,197 (up 802,871)

The lesson seems obvious: the SPD should never have joined a grand coalition. Either govern with the Greens as a minority with external support from Die Linke, or allow the right to govern with a minority by abstaining. Neither sound like good choices. But the grand coalition was even worse. 

 

There's maybe a broader lesson there.  The junior partner rarely gains from any coalition as the NDP found out in 1976, and that should go double for any coalition right of centre.

Jacob Richter

Regarding the CDU's left wing: isn't that concentrated mainly in the Bavarian CSU?

Wilf Day

Jacob Richter wrote:
Regarding the CDU's left wing: isn't that concentrated mainly in the Bavarian CSU?

Although the "Christian Social Union" sounds progressive, Bavaria is a very conservative province, and the CSU usually reflects that. The Northrhine-Westfalen CDU was quite left-wing in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and from the above quote has returned to that tradition now that it finds itself the provincial government of Germany's industrial heartland. And I see that its premier was so described three years ago:

Quote:
Jürgen Rüttgers, the governor of North-Rhine Westphalia -- Germany's most-populous state -- decided it was time for a bit of constructive criticism. In an interview with the weekly news magazine Stern, Rüttgers -- a powerful member of the CDU's left wing -- said the CDU "is no capitalist party. It was never one, is not now one, and cannot be allowed to become one." He was just warming up. Later in the interview, he said that it was time to say goodbye to a few basic misconceptions. What did he mean? "The claim that tax cuts lead to more investment and thus to more jobs is, in this simple formulation, incorrect."

The Premier of next-door Saarland is said to be a rare CDU trade-union member (but he's a lawyer?) who in 2005 was described as "belongs to the CDU’s left wing, and is no enemy of labour;" he is currently trying to entice the Greens into his local coalition.

Wilf Day

14 MPs under 30:

Six FDP, all men (youngest: Florian Bernschneider, 22, business administration student, from the City of Braunschweig, east of Hanover, a city which re-elected a 42-year-old woman SDP local MP):

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/b/bernschneider_f...

Four Greens; two women, two men (youngest: Sven-Christian Kindler, 24, who ran in a suburb of Hanover)

[img]http://www.sven-kindler.de/wp-content/fotos/sven_start.jpg[/img]

Two CDU; one man and one woman (Nadine Müller, 26, elected provincially at age 21, a lawyer from Saarland where her party's provincial premier is said to belong to the CDU's left wing.)

[img]http://www.nadine-mueller.eu/img/Lebenslauf.jpg[/img]

One SPD woman: Daniela Kolbe, 29, a physicist in Leipzig. She ran in the north Leipzig riding which is lucky enough to now have three women MPs: a CDU who won the local seat, a Left Party woman elected on the list, and Daniela elected on the list. (Typically a German riding has two MPs, since 50% of MPs are directly elected and 50% on the list; the Bundestag page for the riding features the list MPs who had also run in that riding as MPs for that riding "elected on the provincial list," in this case two of them. Almost all list MPs also ran locally, open a riding office where they ran, and are in practice indistinguishable from the directly elected MP.)

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/k/kolbe_daniela.j...

One Left man: Niema Movassat, 25, a Düsseldorf law student who ran in the SPD stronghold of Oberhausen, a city north of Düsseldorf in the Rhine-Ruhr.

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/m/movassat_niema....

The CDU left wing will have problems with the FDP:

Quote:
 The CDU governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jürgen Rüttgers, a representative of the left wing of the CDU, faces a state election next year and has already signalled he will resist any reforms and cutbacks that cause voters too much pain.

Little change is expected in labor legislation. The FDP wants to scrap rules protecting workers from dismissal in companies with fewer than 20 employees, but the powerful left wing of the conservatives is likely to resist such a change. Besides, it's not really necessary following new rules that allow firms to hire more temporary staff.

  

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

a lonely worker wrote:

As interesting as the German election is, I find this month's elections in Greece and Portugal to be more promising for radical change as some parties on the left are unlike anything we're used to with collective leadership, assemblies and even an alliance of the Communists and Greens in Portugal going after the Social Democrats who are the main party of the right!

 

[url=http://links.org.au/node/1275]Left Bloc makes gains in Portugal election[/url] [excerpt]

Quote:
Portugal's parliamentary elections, held on September 27, 2009, have changed the political landscape. The Socialist Party (SP), which had an absolute majority in 2005 with 45% of vote, lost more than half a million votes and fell to 36.56%.

Even as the winner, it is in a minority in parliament, the only political force which lost seats in relation to 2005 (96 down from 121). The result for the SP is its lowest since 1991. This is undoubtedly the result of the anti-social policies of an arrogant absolute majority who chose to save the bankers from bankruptcy instead of establishing public policies for the banks; who passed an employment law which makes dismissals easier in a country that has nearly 600,000 unemployed, with half of them not receiving unemployment benefits and makes job insecurity the rule. A government which has waged war on teachers and civil servants like none before.

The liberal-centrist Social Democratic Party (PSD), while gaining three parliamentarians in relation to 2005, has however recorded one of its worst-ever scores. The beneficiary has been the right-wing People's Party (PP), which has become the third political force (whereas in 2005 it was in fourth place). The Communist Party has gone from third to fifth political force in terms of support.

The Left Bloc is the force that has had the biggest increase compared to 2005. More than half a million votes (557,109 in a country of just over 9 million voters), 192,679 more than in 2005, and from fifth to fourth biggest political force (third in a number of major cities). At the national level, The Left Bloc's score went from 6.38% to 9.85%, and the number of its MPs has doubled from eight to 16. In addition, while in 2005 Left Bloc deputies elected came from Lisbon (four), Porto (two) and Setubal (two), this time it had elected deputies from nine of the 20 districts: one each in Aveiro, Braga, Coimbra, Leiria, Santarem and Faro; one more in Porto and in Lisbon. In all, six women and 10 men.

The Left Bloc will now weigh even more in Portuguese political life and in the coming struggles, in parliament with its 16 deputies but also and especially in struggles, since we enjoy the confidence of more than half a million votes, the result of an intense campaign of continuous contact with workers and popular sectors and a clear anti-capitalist program with concrete alternative proposals to those of the Socialist Party and the PSD.

 

Jacob Richter

The SPD is in big trouble in the former East Germany:

[url]http://www.emerginvest.com/GlobalEconomyMatters/9/30/2009/Germanys_2009_...

Quote:
To be certain, differences in the voting patterns of Germany's western and eastern zones have been a distinctive trait of German electoral politics since reunification in 1990: specifically, over the course of the last two decades PDS and its 2005 successor, the Left Party have retained significant popular support in the erstwhile German Democratic Republic, much to the dismay of politicians in the western part of the country. Nonetheless, until now CDU and SPD remained the two largest parties in the so-called "new Länder," with PDS and subsequently the Left Party in an increasingly stronger third place, but third place all the same.

At the same time, PDS fared poorly in the in the "old Länder" of western Germany, where it was widely reviled as the successor of East Germany's defunct Communist Party; even with the backing of SPD dissidents headed by former Social Democratic leader Oskar Lafontaine, the Left Party had a relatively limited impact outside Lafontaine's home state of Saarland: in the 2005 Bundestag election, the new party polled a quarter of the vote in the east, but less than five percent in the west.

However, while the Union parties are now the dominant force in both German sides of the now-defunct Iron Curtain, after Sunday's election the Left Party has become the second largest in eastern Germany, closely behind CDU; the Social Democrats have fallen to a distant third place.

Wilf Day

New forces in the SPD, as well as Andrea Nahles (above):

At a stormy party executive meeting yesterday the SPD mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit, a leading light of the party’s left wing, demanded the resignation of all involved in the election campaign and the Schröder-era welfare reforms. 

Quote:
After putting on a united front for the election campaign, the SPD has disintegrated into its feuding factions, each hoping to have the upper hand after the shake-up. The faction with the strongest hand is the left-wing grouping around Mr Wowereit and deputy party leader Andrea Nahles.

Currently, the outgoing Environment Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, 50, is seen as a front-runner for the party leadership:

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/g/gabriel_sigmar....

He campaigned on a strong anti-nuclear message. He was Premier of Lower Saxony from 1999 - 2003, and a member of the Bundestag from 2005 onward. As a member of the centrist Berlin Netzwerk (one of the three factions of the SPD caucus) he is said to be acceptable to Wowereit and Nahles. His riding includes part of his old district of Goslar, south of Hanover; looking over his shoulder locally is the list MP for Goslar, the new Green MP Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, 39, an agricultural engineer:[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/c/cramon_taubadel...

The head of the city of Berlin chapter, Michael Mueller, said he would prefer a panel of experienced figures to take charge, including a woman leftist, Andrea Nahles, two outgoing ministers, Sigmar Gabriel and Olaf Scholz, and the mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit. Olaf Scholz, 51 is an MP from Hamburg: [img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete/mdbjpg/s/scholol0.jpg[/img]

Kurt Beck has not forgotten the disgrace of his removal from power at an SPD meeting at Lake Schwielowsee near Berlin in September 2008. As the most experienced SPD governor, he still has considerable influence within the party. Beck will likely play a key role in determining the SPD's new direction. It is no accident that rising stars in the SPD, like Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel and leftist Andrea Nahles have continued to maintain close contact with Beck in recent months. They hope that he will help them further their careers.

Other members of the Parliamentary Left faction, as well as Nahles, are her successor as head of the Democratic Left 21 Forum Björn Böhning, 31, who works for Wowereit in Berlin:

[img]http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b2/BjoernBoening.j....

 

Jacob Richter

The SPD demonstrated its stubbornness again today, wanting to retain the "grand coalition" in Thuringia as the junior partner.

Wilf Day

Six more new youngish SPD MPs (in addition to the one pictured above, Daniela Kolbe, 29, who ran in the north Leipzig riding which I noted is lucky enough to now have three women MPs: a CDU who won the local seat, a Left Party woman elected on the list, and Daniela elected on the list.)

Lars Klingbeil, 31, was elected at 23 as a member of the municipal council of the small city of Munster north of Hanover while still a university student, then in 2006 to the regional council while working for an MP, and this year elected as a list MP from that region along with 24-year-old Green Sven-Christian Kindler (pictured above) and a 48-year-old two-term incumbent local CDU MP Reinhard Grindel. Monika Griefahn had been elected in 2005 to the local seat for the SPD, but she had sat since 1998, is now 54, did not run again, and the SPD slipped to second place locally.

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/k/klingbeil_lars....

Stefan Schwartze, 35, was an industrial mechanic in a city northeast of Dusseldorf, elected to city council at age 25; a Steelworker, we would say (the German union counterpart is IG Metall) and a volunteer firefighter. In an SPD stronghold, the local MP for 15 years retired at age 66, and young Stefan won the local nomination and the local seat. His competition was an incumbent 58-year-old trade union woman who had followed Lafontaine into the WASG and Die Linke, and had been elected as a list MP in 2005; she was re-elected as a list MP again. Also re-elected from the same riding as a list MP was a 40-year-old FDP incumbent (a business consultant):

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/s/schwartze_stefa...

Oliver Kaczmarek, 39, an executive officer in the Ministry of Education living in an SDP stronghold east of Dusseldorf. When the incumbent three-term MP retired, he too won the local nomination and the local seat. Also elected from that riding as a list MP was Green candidate Friedrich Ostendorff, a farmer who had been a list MP from 2002 to 2005 but missed out in 2005.

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/k/kaczmarek_olive...

Kerstin Tack, 40, a social worker, elected to Hanover city council 2005, took over an SPD seat from a 22-year SPD incumbent and won the local seat. From the same riding were elected on the list two other women: Rita Pawelski, 60, CDU MP since 2002; and Dr. Claudia Winterstein, 59, FDP MP since 2002.

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/t/tack_kerstin.jp...

Bärbel Bas, 41, Member of the Council of the City of Duisburg since 2004 in Nordrhein-Westfalen; won local seat as MP in 2009 in place of Petra Weis, SPD MP for the city since 2002, now 51. Bas had defeated Weis by 13 votes at the nomination meeting, with the support of local left-wingers.

[img]http://www.bundestag.de/bundestag/abgeordnete17/mdbjpg/b/bas_baerbel.jpg...

Aydan Özoguz, 42, Hamburg, born in Hamburg the child of Turkish parents, member of Hamburg city council since 2001.

[img]http://www.abgeordnetenwatch.de/images/abgeordnete/med/7644/aydan_oezogu...

Wilf Day

The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung looks at the developments in the SPD:

Quote:
The new center of power in the SPD is on the left. … The old front guard is finished. The fact that Frank-Walter Steinmeier is staying on as head of the parliamentary group will prove to be a mistake. The SPD has to be able to attack where it still has a platform: in parliament. And which party emerges as the leading opposition party will not be decided by how big their parliamentary party is but by the abilities of their leader. Steinmeier lacks the distance from being in government. But he also lacks the ruthlessness and ability to polemicize that is needed for a successful opposition. The parliamentary group will soon notice this and they will also realize that Steinmeier is an expression of a continuation of Schröder's politics, which could put them on the defensive.

The party itself has managed the break with the coalition of the SPD and Greens, and with the grand coalition. The new personnel reveals as much of a fresh start as the party can manage at the moment. It is an experiment, the result of which remains unknown. Yet it is the only possible chance for the SPD to repair the loss in trust. No one can tell if this will win back the destroyed party base or those who were disappointed and have long turned away. There is no guarantee that the SPD can return to being a mass party.

Will these beautiful women rescue the party?

[img]http://www.bild.de/BILD/politik/2009/10/02/spd-in-der-krise-retten-diese...

Quote:
A veritable flood of women have stopped the Social Democrat decline - Manuela Schwesig (35) is SPD's vice-chair, Andrea Nahles (39) Secretary General, and Franziska Drohsel (29) as head of the Young Socialists (Juso).

MANUELA SCHWESIG

The 35-year-old Social Affairs Minister of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has been in the SPD only since 2003, but in 2005 rose to the Regional Executive. The post graduate Finance expert assumed the ministerial post in 2008. She is the biggest surprise in the new SPD lineup. At age 35, the youngest of the new leadership team. SPD Potential: Medium High.

NAHLES

The 39-year-old had been headed for leadership posts in the party earlier. But after her battle for nomination to the post of Secretary-General in 2005 led to the resignation of SPD leader Franz Muentefering, the image of king-killer clung to the Social policy expert. Since her election as vice-chief of the party in 2007 - under former SPD leader Kurt Beck - Nahles (formerly head of the Young Socialists) has looked rehabilitated. Now, the leftist has won her second attempt at the Secretary-General post. SPD Potential: Very High.

FRANZISKA DROHSEL

The 29-year-old has studied law, spent a year in Rome, and worked on her dissertation in constitutional and administrative law at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Since November 2007 she is head of Juso, from March 2006 to April 2008 she led the Berlin Young Socialists. In late 2007 the Berlin woman had become known as a member of the far left-wing organization "Red Aid." It courts sympathy for "political prisoners" or left-wing extremists who were held for "political reasons." After not only strong criticism from political opponents calling for her resignation, but scolding from her own party establishment, she resigned from the "Red Aid." But she stayed on the left! She stands for Red-Red-Green, and says: "Formulas to exclude the Left Party get us nothing. They are yesterday's news. We Jusos have long been demanding to avoid such categorical positions." SPD Potential: Medium High.

More new stars. 

Wilf Day

The debate in the SPD continues:

Quote:
Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit see the time come for a fresh start with the left. "It is right that, at the mid-November party conference in Dresden, the SPD should break with the taboo that coalitions with the Left Party are in principle impossible for us," he told the newspaper Tagesspiegel am Sonntag. "This taboo must go." said Wowereit.

Wowereit also voiced his support for abolishing the retirement age of 67 and for corrections to the labor market reforms. The new party leadership has a "broad consensus" that the SPD "must take up the basic criticism of the reforms by the people, and provide new answers". At the same time he stressed improvements in the Hartz reforms.

The former Hesse SPD leader, leftist Andrea Ypsilanti, will rejoin the party executive, according to information from Der Speigel. She had plunged the SPD into a deep crisis of confidence, with her broken election promise not to form a coalition with the Left Party.

The Left Party leader Bodo Ramelow (Thuringia party leader as well as deputy leader in the federal parliament) signaled convergence on issues and no longer insisted on an immediate withdrawal of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan - this requirement of the Left had previously been regarded as a major obstacle to a red-red convergence. Ramelow told the Welt am Sonntag: "We're not for an immediate withdrawal. That would be like the flight from Vietnam."

(Other SPD leaders disagreed.)

RosaL

Wilf Day wrote:

The left-leaning Berliner Zeitung looks at the developments in the SPD:

 

"Beautiful women", "stars". Frown Blech. I don't know if this says anything about the SPD but it sure says something about Berliner Zeitung. 

Wilf Day

RosaL wrote:
I don't know if this says anything about the SPD but it sure says something about Berliner Zeitung.

In fairness to the Berliner Zeitung, the second article was not from it, but from Bild -- whose front page is far from left-leaning. 

Wilf Day

At the thought of a red-red-green coalition, the Saarland Greens turn right.

Quote:
Party members voted 117 to 32 to move forward with a coalition with the center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). Earlier, the head of the Saarland Greens, Hubert Ulrich, indicated his preference for the conservative coalition. This move by the Greens will keep the CDU's Peter Mueller in power as state premier even though his party lost its absolute majority on August 30. . .

The Left party, which partly is rooted in the former communist part of East Germany, did particularly well in the state of Saarland, and together with the SPD had the same number of seats as the the CDU and FDP. That gave the Greens, with just 5.9 percent of the vote, the chance to determine the state's next leader.

But coalition negotiations were rocked on Friday when Oskar Lafontaine, national chairman of the Left party, announced he was giving up his post as leader as well as his seat in the Bundestag, the German parliament. Lafontaine indicated he would be interested in becoming more involved in Saarland if his party were to end up part of the ruling coalition there.

But during the Greens meeting in Saarland, Ulrich made it clear that Lafontaine's move further cemented his disinterest in working with the Left party. "I don't trust this man or this party at all," said Ulrich.

Ulrich also said a coalition with conservative parties would mean the Greens would not always be expected to join left-leaning coalitions.

Should the Greens eventually form a government with the center-right CDU and FDP, the new Saarland government could set a precedent for national politics. With an increasing number of smaller parties in the German parliament, future coalitions are likely to depend on more cooperation between parties that traditionally would seem rather at odds with each other.

Lafontaine, a former leader of the centre-left SPD, is known for his dramatic exits and is seen as a political Judas-figure after he defected to the Left four years ago.

Quote:
For the time being, parliamentary co-leader Gregor Gysi is to head the faction alone, until a new figure is voted in to represent the party's western support base. The Left Party traditionally has two leaders in the Bundestag, or parliament.

In the province of Brandenburg, SPD Prime Minister Matthias Platzeck has ruled in a grand coalition with the CDU since 1999.

The Brandenburg SPD will decide on Monday evening, whether it will govern with the CDU or the Left Party. 

The Left Party in the state of Brandenburg has cleared the way for a "red-red“ coalition with the Social Democrats after chairwoman Kerstin Kaiser ruled herself out of a ministry on Sunday amid concerns about her past links to the East German Stasi.

Merkel seeks a majority in parliament’s upper chamber, or Bundesrat, where states have the power to reject legislation that impacts their finances.

Quote:
Parties need a minimum of 35 seats for a majority in the 69-seat chamber.

Caucus strengths in the Bundesrat depend on the SPD’s choice of partners in Brandenburg. A potential alliance of the SPD with the Left Party would push down Merkel’s tally to 33.

In Thuringia, the SPD Congress October 25 will choose which way the provincial SPD goes.

Pages

Topic locked