Saarland Gives Merkel a Needed Win, But Pirates Take Nearly 9% (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Amiel Ungar 03/26/12)
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The elections in the Saarland brought both good news and bad news to
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The good news was that her party, the Christian Democrats, outpolled
its main rival the social Democrats, the SPD, by 4% - and therefore
the CDU you will form the next government of the Saarland.
The Saarland is probably the state in the worst economic condition in
what was formerly West Germany. Despite this, the Christian
Democratic vote remained firm, while the Party of the Left (Linke)
lost 5%, scoring 16%.
The Linke have been strong in the Saar because the former Governor of
the state, Oskar Lafontaine, once a Social Democrat, joined the Linke
following the austerity measures carried out by the Social Democrat
The bad news was that Merkel´s national coalition partner, the Free
Democrats, could muster only 1.5% of the vote. This means that they
will not be represented in the state legislature, as Germany, on both
national and state levels, has a 5% electoral threshold.
This now marks 6 straight defeats for the Free Democratic Party a
party that had done extremely well in the 2009 national elections. It
had done well in those elections because it promised to cut taxes if
it became a coalition partner. It did not manage to live up to its
promises, particularly given Germany´s need to help finance a
solution to the European debt crisis. Because of that, the government
could not forgo tax receipts without violating the same curbs on
deficit spending that it had pushed so hard to enact within the
The surprise of the election is the Pirates Party, that believes in
piracy of the internet, persuasion rather than the shiver-me-timbers
and walk-the- plank piracy. The Pirates would also use the Internet
to monitor government performance. The Pirates easily vaulted the 5%
electoral threshold by scoring 8.9%, thus surpassing the veteran
Greens who just barely squeaked by the electoral threshold.
There has little been little love lost lately between the Christian
Democrats and the Free Democrats. The Free Democrats accuse the
Christian Democrats of becoming interchangeable with the social
Democrats. The Christian Democrats are upset over the Free Democrats´
decision to back the left´s choice for German president last month,
Joachim Gauck, thus presenting the Christian Democrats with a fait
As the Christian Democrats in the Saarland do not have a majority of
their own, and the Free Democratic option no longer exists, the
Christian Democrats will turn to the Social Democrats to form a grand
coalition in the Saarland.
The Social Democrats could theoretically form a majority with the
ecological Greens and the Linke. The Social Democrats, however, have
refused to form a coalition with the Linke, due to the fact that
Linke are descended from the East German Communist Party as well as
defectors from the Social Democratic Party - like Lafontaine.
The lack of options available to both major parties makes a return to
a grand coalition the default choice on the national level.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 03/26/12)
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