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September 23, 2013

Comments

Hattie

It's all about economics. Germans see themselves on top of the economic heap, and they want to stay there.

koogleschreiber

Hattie, if that was true, how would you explain the left majority in the Bundestag? Plus, we also have a left majority in our second constitutional assembly, the Bundesrat. Now we have exactly the results I hoped for, the FDP is out and the SPD could lead a coalition with the Green and the Left Party. (Again!)

The rebellion of the left wing inside the SPD is overdue. The sooner it comes, the better it is. Maybe this weekend.

Zyme

The election results shed light on a critical flaw of our system.

Whenever people say "the elections results clearly show a [left majority / decisive conservative victory]" you see that these people have not realized one thing:

With only a handful of seats more Merkel could govern all on her own. And with just a few less (like now) we suddenly find ourselves again in an alternate reality called a left majority.

Think of the immense difference between the two in practice and you might find it hard to defend the rationale behind such a disturbing distribution of power.


The election results however also have a neat side effect. Should a grand coalition form itself between Merkel and the SPD, the opposition will find itself below 25% of seats in parliament. This will strip opposition parties of most rights to interfere in said parliament and will leave the opposition virtually toothless, allowing the government to act more or less undisturbed.

David

@Zyme

Just curious, how did you vote? Let me guessL AfD!

Zyme

I would have liked the AfD to enter parliament and actually am thinking about doing political work for them.

It may work in their favor that they have not entered yet. This leaves them with time to complete their political agenda and thoroughly extend it beyond questions of currency.
The first steps do look promising from my point of view (a more robust foreign politics for instance with a stronger focus on German interest). Also it is good to see a conservative alternative to Merkel which consists out of highly intelligent leadership.

What is your perception of them?

However I did not participate in the election. I am simply not convinced that it is a good idea to put a nation's future into the hands of a populace most of whom you wouldn't even entrust with administering your own money, let alone choosing the right path for an entire nation.
So I abstained.

By the way I was in London last week and was invited to a members club in Pall Mall for dinner. You wouldn't think how open minded people there seem to be to - how do I put it - a very conservative way of thinking :)

David

@Zyme,

I found the post-election analysis of the AfD quite interesting. The party drew from a broad spectrum - even some from die Linke crossed over.

But that is why I don't see much of a future for the AfD. The party has no natural constituency - it is more of a protest party, like the Pirates it will probably fade quickly.

Also, Angela Merkel is a very talented "triangulator". If she sees the part gain momentum she will just adopt some its policies and rhetoric. The same thing she did with the Greens....

Zyme

True, these dangers await the AfD.

However each are mitigated by the following:

While there is a lack of consistency among the AfD voters if you judge it from where they have come from, you could also have a look at the parties they came from. Most prominently the Left Party has often been analysed as bringing together nationalist working class and socialists. The former may have lacked a proper party so far and simply voted Left Party for they felt these are the only ones worrying about "working class". Now those with no hard feelings toward right wing politics (Think of typical Stammtisch people in precarious employment situations here) have found or will find their new home within the AfD.

As regards the protest party attribute: Unlike the Piraten we are not talking about quarrelsome young professional geeks in party leadership here. Instead we are talking about well-established and experienced personnel perfectly suited to dialogue and compromise (think of the university professors or those politicians who have defected from Merkel's party to the AfD).

Also Merkel's undoubtedly immense talent for triangulation as you have put it ends when you come to questions that can only be answered by yes or no. Will Germany invest its wealth into saving the south of Europe? In the end she will end up with saying more and more yes and make opposing conservative voters move on to AfD.
I don't see a way she can both win voters and solve the currency crisis like when she decided to abolish nuclear power plants in the blink of an eye. On second thought maybe she finds a solution with similarly outrageous costs :)

Anyway, don't you think that these points mitigate the aforementioned risks?

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